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Effective verbal communication, questioning and listening

The course co authors, Linda and Zoe summarise the main points.
Linda, what do you think the aspects of good verbal communication are? Well, one of the most important things is obviously being heard by your intended audience. So that means an appropriate volume for the space and having a good vocabulary that’s going to be understood by the people concerned. Making sure that you’re talking enthusiastically, encouraging them to listen simply because of the enthusiasm that you’re conveying through the way you talk about the topic. And with that fluency will come with your confidence in what you’re saying. Could you also use things like pauses as well? So maybe say something and then give the young people a chance to understand and think about that in your communication.
That’s a very point because there will be times when you’re introducing new material. And they’ll need to internalize that, take that on board, think about it in terms that they already know in order to really follow what you’re saying afterwards. Just communicating clearly isn’t going to guarantee that your audience is listening actively. What do you think are the important things to make sure that the communication is two way? I think, first of all you’ve got to make sure they’re actually listening. So make sure they’re quiet, they’re not gonna be able to listen if they’re talking. So you can make them be quiet by maybe using a mechanism the teacher uses.
They might do a countdown, they might put their hand in the air, they might have a little clap that they do. Have a conversation with a teacher, ask them how they get their students to be quiet. And once they’re quiet, make sure they’re looking at you, making sure their body language is directed towards you. And you can also pick up visual cues from them as well. They might be nodding along or they might be looking out into space. So you can see if they’re actively listening. You can ask them some questions or something like that to get them to engage as well. Make them have a reason for listening. Get them invested in it.
If we think about that participation, what kind of different questions and techniques could we use? Well, if we want to make sure that everyone is comfortable and happy to communicate. Then we want to have some easy sort of intro questions. Where, perhaps closed questions, so there are obvious answers, yes, no, the red one, this is the bigger one, things like that where you get plenty of audience participation. Youngsters are thinking yeah this is good, I can do this, what’s coming next? And then when you’re actually introducing perhaps some new ideas or a technique there will be an opportunity to pose questions in a more open way. So there’s not just one right answer.
And it’s challenging the young people to perhaps think about a scenario they’ve just watched or a practical they’ve just done. So that they can speculate or propose alternative answers, none of which are wrong, but that then helps, as a group, to move thinking forward.

You’ve looked at aspects of communication that directly relate to verbal communication, question and listening techniques.

In this video we recap some of the approaches you could look at developing:

  • Volume and tone.
  • Vocabulary that’s appropriate for the context and your audience.
  • Confidence in what you are saying.
  • Pace and pauses.
  • Getting attention and observing your audience.
  • Using different forms of questioning.

Watch and identify

Linda and Zoe summarise the key points about verbal communication. What aspects of verbal communication would you like to particularly concentrate on to improve your communication with young people?
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