Why this skill step matters in education
In education, we listen to a variety of people on a daily basis, sharing lots of different messages. Our teacher or lecturer might share important information about an upcoming assignment or a peer might be looking for support around a particular problem. In order for us to be as prepared as possible for understanding what is going on and what is expected of us, it’s important to know why someone is communicating with you. This will ensure that you record important announcements or dates, accurately follow the instructions you have been given or understand another person’s opinion and build positive relationships with others.
Why this skill step matters in the workplace
In the workplace, we are expected to fulfil the requirements of our job role to the best of our ability. The processes we follow to do this, whether that’s on a factory floor, in an office or on a building site, can change and often we will be updated verbally. To ensure we are prepared to complete the tasks that are expected of us in a safe and effective way, we need to be able to identify why someone is communicating with us and what action we should take as a result. If a manager shares important information with you that needs to be quickly acted upon, whereas if a colleague is just sharing an opinion, it may not require you to do or change anything.
Why this skill step matters in wider life
In our wider lives we may spend time with others, such as friends, family members, or teammates, and take part in discussions or conversations. When building positive relationship with others, it’s important that we respond appropriately to what is shared with us. A friend might share some negative emotions and understanding that they are communicating with you to share their feelings is important when trying to support them.
We might also spend time watching television, reading articles or exploring the internet. It is important that we understand the purpose behind different forms of communication. This will help us to be critical about what we read and hear, ensuring we can separate out when someone is sharing a fact and when they are just voicing an opinion.
How to practise this skill step
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!
- When you are speaking with a peer, friend, colleague or manager, try to identify why you are communicating with them. How can you tell? You could ask them what they think. Did they identify the same purpose as you did?
- Find a television programme, online video or film. Listen to what is being said and try to identify the reasons why people are communicating with each other. How can you tell?
- During a group discussion with friends, peers or colleagues, try to work out what the purpose of their communication is. Was there more than one possibility? Did one purpose occur more than others?