To achieve step 10, individuals will focus on how differences in the language that the speaker uses will influence the meaning of what they are saying, and identify some common elements and how to interpret them.
In the previous step, individuals explored how a speaker can influence through their tone and how to infer additional meaning from that tone. This step builds on this by focusing on the language that the speaker uses.
The building blocks of this step are learning how to:
As listeners, we are influenced by the tone with which someone speaks to us, but we are also emotionally influenced by the language that a speaker uses.
It is important to be aware of how a speaker’s language can influence our emotions so that we can consider whether we want our emotions influenced in that way. If we are not aware then we can be easily manipulated by a speaker.
If we are focused on listening to something, then we can often start to mirror the emotions that we are hearing. For example:
There are a wide range of emotions that one might feel at any time, based on what you are hearing. For example:
What is important is to avoid being overwhelmed by the emotional reaction that you might have to what is being said. While it is helpful to be able to identify the emotional response that a speaker wants you to have, it is also important that this is balanced by being able to objectively think about the content of what is being said and to remain able to critically engage with what the speaker is saying – and whether you agree with it.
There are other language tools that a speaker can use to influence a listener.
While it is important to listen carefully, it is also important to be able to identify what is influencing you as a listener so that you can be in control of your reaction. In Step 4, we explored some of the purposes that a speaker might have when they are communicating with you as their listener. Each of these has associated language tools that a speaker might use:
In education, there are many opportunities to hear from speakers such as subject talks, presentations from local employers or businesses and assemblies. The language that is chosen when delivering these speeches is significant in helping us comprehend the response the speaker is trying to achieve in the listeners. In order for us to understand what is being said and make informed choices, we must be able to identify the tools being used to influence our opinion. For example, if the speaker uses emotive language to describe a job, they might be describing how it makes them feel as opposed to sharing the specifics about what the job entails. By being able to effectively understand how language can influence us as listeners, we can be more critical in our approach to a subject or idea.
In the workplace, we often listen to presentations, pitches or talks that aim to persuade or convince us of something. This is particularly the case when listening to your manager, a member of a sales team or a potential new client. If a new idea or product is being shared with us, it’s important that we can determine what the facts are and what are opinions. This can help us to remain objective in deciding whether it is useful or beneficial for the wider company.
When speaking with others in our wider lives, it’s important to recognise their use of language. When speaking with friends who are excited to share a new idea, it can be easy to get swept up in their emotions without critically considering what is being said. We might also be looking to try something new such as ice-skating or rock climbing. If someone uses negative language to describe their own experience of it, we may be reluctant to try something new that we might enjoy. In order for us to make decisions that are best for us, we must remain objective. By recognising when a speaker is using different language tools, we can pick out the information that will help us to make the best decision.
To best practise this step of Listening, apply what you have learnt to a real-life situation. Choose one or more of the activities below, remind yourself of the key points and strategies in the step, and have a go!
To teach this step:
This step can be reinforced in the classroom:
This step is can be assessed through observation or a carefully designed activity For example:
This step is relevant to all people who communicate with others in their work. It will be particularly relevant to those who are involved in conversations where one party is trying to influence another.
To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
There are plenty of opportunities for building this skill in the workplace:
For those already employed, this step is can be assessed by questioning the individual. For instance:
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed by:
We work with a wide range of organisations, who use the Skills Builder approach in lots of different settings – from youth clubs, to STEM organisations, to careers and employability providers.
We have a lot of materials available to support you to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework with the individuals you work with, including:
We also do a lot of work with organisations who join the Skills Builder Partnership to build the Universal Framework into their work and impact measurement systems. You can find out a lot more using the links below.
At home, you can easily support your child to build their essential skills. The good news is that there
are lots of ways that you can have a big impact, including: