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Communication Skills (Transferable Skills Part 2)

29/10/2017

Communication skills – getting the message across

There’s more than one way to communicate.  And more than one way to show you’re good at it!  Whether you’re working one-to-one, in a group, or in front of an audience, here’s how you can demonstrate these skills to employers, and some suggestions for getting more experience.



Face to face
By telephone
As part of a group
Leading a group
In front of an audience
In writing


Face to face

What employers are looking for

All jobs (and indeed the rest of your life) will involve having to communicate with people face to face, but in many jobs you may specifically have to:

Can you act appropriately, judging the type of relationship required?  Do you speak clearly, in a way that the listener understands – i.e. with suitable pace and volume, and without unnecessary jargon?  Do you listen well? Is your body language and personal presentation appropriate?  Other communication skills that may be required include knowing how to ask questions, and how to give feedback.

Where might you have used these skills?
Ways to improve and gain experience

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By telephone

What employers are looking for

Many jobs require answering the phone to customers, and it’s important that you give a good impression of the company.  Do you come across as polite and helpful?  Do you give accurate and relevant information?  Are you able to listen and identify the problem, then deal with it appropriately?

Where might you have used these skills?
Ways to improve and gain experience

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As part of a group

What employers are looking for

Knowing how to communicate well within a group is quite a specific skill.  As a team member or in group discussions, do you make relevant contributions?  Do you know when to contribute, and when to let others have a say?  Are you good at listening, and taking on board a variety of perspectives?  Can you ask for clarification when something is misunderstood, to make sure everyone is on the same page?  And do you take responsibility for the actions you are given?

Where might you have used these skills?
Ways to improve and gain experience

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Leading a group

What employers are looking for

There is a continuum between directly leading a group (giving orders or instructions to be followed) and purely facilitating (supporting a group to make its own decisions); most leadership roles require a bit of both.  You’ll need to be able to get and hold people’s attention and give clear instructions.  You will help a group function smoothly by ensuring everyone gets a turn to speak and keeps on topic, making sure things run on time – such as when chairing a meeting.   You’ll be aware of group members, whether they are engaged and following the discussion, and make sure there are opportunities for questions or clarification.  You might need to motivate, persuade and inspire.

Where might you have used these skills?
Ways to improve and gain experience

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In front of an audience

What employers are looking for

Some jobs will require you to be able to be confident speaking in front of a group of people.  This could be a presentation where you are conveying information, or it may be more for entertainment or social purposes, such as announcing acts or making speeches.  You’ll need to be able to keep people’s attention.  Can you project your voice, and come across as interesting and enthusiastic?  Can you present information in an engaging way?  For a presentation you will often be able to use different media – visual aids, audio, props etc. to add variety and help people take in the information through different channels.  You’ll also need confidence!

Where might you have used these skills?
Ways to improve and gain experience

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In writing

What employers are looking for

Having a good standard of literacy is always a plus, but sometimes a job will require particular skills in written communication.  This may be the majority of the job, such as in editing or copywriting, or it may be supplemental, such as preparing resources in teaching, or writing formal communications to clients.  How easy is it for the reader to pick up on your message?  Is it tailored to a particular audience, e.g. a certain age range, or a certain type of client?  Is it clear, jargon-free, and laid out in a manner that makes it easy to read?  Does it have accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar?

Where might you have used these skills?
Ways to improve and gain experience

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written by Beth Hammond

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