To achieve Step 5, individuals will understand that they need to consider the language that they are using when speaking and choose appropriate language to the setting.
Previously, in Steps 3 and 4, the focus was on speaking effectively by making points in a logical order and thinking about what listeners already knew. This Step builds on this, but focuses on the way that someone is speaking. This theme continues in Step 6, which introduces tone, expression and gesture too.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
There are lots of ways to communicate the same meaning. The words that we choose to say to communicate something give the language that we are using.
There are three broad types of language that we can consider:
It is crucial to select the right language for the setting so that those people who are listening to you have the best chance of understanding what you are telling them.
In education, we will be required to use informal, formal and technical language. When speaking with friends, at lunchtime and break, we are likely to use informal language in our conversations, as we know each other well and understand what each other are talking about. However, we will use more formal vocabulary when speaking to senior staff. If speaking in assembly or giving a presentation, we are more likely to use formal language. It is important to be aware of the difference and to use the appropriate one for each situation.
In some subjects, Maths and Science particularly, we may use a language that is understood because we have studied it in lessons, for example, the names for chemical processes or mathematical calculations.
When chatting with colleagues in the workplace we are likely to use informal language and an element of technical language, if we do similar work. You may have a good friendship with people you work with, have worked with them a long time and know each other well, which is why an informal language, easily understood by all will be appropriate. However, when speaking to your manager, clients or customers a more formal language will be more appropriate and expected. Technical language can be difficult to understand if the people you are speaking to are not familiar with the terms, care must be taken not to use abbreviations which maybe unfamiliar.
In our social lives we tend to spend time with friends, taking part in activities for enjoyment and interest. We will often use informal language during these situations. However, there will be occasions when it will be more appropriate to use a more formal language, for example meeting a bank manager, tax officer or someone in an official capacity. Being too informal in such circumstances risks a negative reaction from the listener.
To best practise this step of Speaking, 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 practised within the classroom setting:
This step is best assessed through a simple testing activity or through observation. For example:
This step will be relevant to everyone who uses verbal communication often in their work, especially those who regularly offer explanations or instructions, and those who have to work with both customers or clients, and colleagues.
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 best assessed through conducting a series of observations.
To assess this skill step an observer might collect feedback from customers or colleagues reporting how frequently they are confused or made uncomfortable by the language used by an individual.
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: