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Employability Skills


Effective spoken communication requires being able to express your ideas and views clearly, confidently and concisely in speech, tailoring your content and style to the audience and promoting free-flowing communication.

  • Be clear and concise. Vary your tone, pace and volume to enhance the communication and encourage questions
  • Persuading and Negotiating; arriving at an agreement that is agreeable to both sides: a win-win situation. Back up your points with logic. Show tact to those you disagree with.
  • Making a speech in front of an audience: presenting your message in an interesting way, structuring your presentation, using audio-visual aids effectively and building a rapport with your audience.
  • Communicating effectively in a team
  • Ask for help when you need it. Research suggests that asking for help with something (within reason) makes you more liked by the person you ask!

When we think about spoken communication, we must include things like:

  • Telephone skills – Thinking through in advance what you want to say.  Keeping business calls to the point.
  • Presenting – Employing a logical order & structure.  Using visual aids effectively.  Building rapport with your audience.  Being clear and concise.  Encouraging questions.
  • Motivating & supporting – Giving encouragement.  Giving thanks or praise or help.  Working well in a team.
  • Persuading & Negotiating – Getting an agreement acceptable to both sides.  Backing up points with logic.  Showing tact to those you disagree with.
  • Gathering Information – Asking open & probing questions to understand the views and feelings of others.  Clarifying & summarising what is being said.


  • Good listening builds a rapport and understanding with the speaker and allows them to freely express their views. It motivates them to say more.
  • Poor listening makes assumptions, creates resistance and hostility, demotivates the speaker, inhibits their development and creates dependence on the listener. 
  • Listen attentively. Express interest in what people are saying and don't interrupt them.
  • Be aware of any prejudices or misconceptions you or the speaker may have.
  • These reflect back what the speaker is saying, in other words to clarify understanding: you paraphrase and repeat back key points. 
  • They may summarise and bring new interpretations to the speakers words. 
  • They show you're listening carefully and checks you are understanding correctly what they are saying allowing the speaker to confirm or correct your feedback.
  • They encourage the speaker to elaborate and to define their problems.
  • It is often the most useful way of giving positive feedback to someone: "I hear what you're saying and take it seriously". You can't keep saying "uh-huh" or "yes" for too long without it sounding false.

Body Language

Make effective use of body language and speech.  Be sensitive to the other person's body language as well as what they say: eye contact, gestures, appropriate humour and analogies. 
Use appropriate body language yourself: face the person with an open, attentive posture and maintain good eye contact (look at the speaker a lot, but don't stare all the time), smile if appropriate and nod your head from time to time.