National Skills Week: Communication
Hear from one of our Programme Coordinators, Deepali, about the importance of communication to build relationships and learn from one another.
Hello! I’m Deepali, one of Envision’s Secondary Programme Coordinators. I work with young people in London to develop our essential skills, including communication. Communication is an incredibly important skill that encompasses a range of things, from engaging in one to one conversation, to presenting your ideas to a room full of strangers – something our Envision young people get a chance to try throughout our programmes.
In my opinion, it’s the skill that is most valuable in life – it allows us to connect with others. Thoughtfully and enthusiastically speaking to those around us is what allows us to develop and maintain relationships. Equally, actively listening to others’ thoughts, feelings, and ideas enables us to learn from, empathise with, and understand others.
Communication can be written, verbal, and non-verbal (think about eye contact and body language), and at Envision we aim to work on each aspect. Our young people are always keen to work on the skill, recognising how strong communication skills will help them in the future, such as at interviews.
My favourite exercise to facilitate when working on communication is ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. Every person in the room (me and mentors included) have to speak continually for 60-seconds, without stopping, repeating ideas or hesitating. I encourage my young people to bring in their creativity skills, imagining a fabricated backstory of someone else in the room. The activity is ideal when developing communication skills as it encourages silliness. It lowers the stakes of speaking in front of others – which can sometimes seem daunting – and rewards all participants for saying anything at all, as opposed to worrying about content.
The improvised nature of it also reminds the young people that when they’re speaking, they’re the authority – nobody knows what they’re about to say next, so if they forget a point it doesn’t matter (stay calm, and carry on!) If you’re looking to develop your communication skills, give the task a try. In front of your mirror first, then maybe with friends!
Communication can seem like a daunting skill. However, take a moment to recognise how often you communicate in day-to-day life. Every time you ask your teacher or colleague a question, every time you send a text message, thank your bus driver, and every time you ask your friend how their weekend has been. This will remind you of the skill’s importance, and also show you how we’re already continually adapting our communication styles depending on how we’re communicating and who with.
As our young people at Envision know (and show!), confidence is key when it comes to communication, so believe in your ideas and your ability to share yours and hear others’!
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