Why this skill step matters in education
In education, there are many opportunities to speak or present to others, for example, a classroom discussion, an assembly, a talk on a researched topic, or student council meetings. In each situation the use of tone, expression and gesture will need to be varied according to the message you are trying to share and the reason for the talk. You may need to use strong gestures and a loud voice to encourage others on the sports field, talk with passion and enthusiasm at student council, or with authority and gentle gestures in assembly. It is important to think about your purpose and to match our gestures, tone and expression accordingly to make your speaking effective.
Why this skill step matters in the workplace
When speaking to colleagues, clients or customers, care is required to ensure we use a tone, expression and gesture to match the circumstances of the situation. Fun, vibrant and loud-speaking may be appropriate at lunch break with colleagues but a more measured approach may be more appropriate when presenting new ideas to potential clients. Energy and volume need to be balanced with professionalism and competence.
Why this skill step matters in wider life
The use of inappropriate tone, expression or gestures can mean the listener misunderstands the meaning of your words. With friends, who know you well, inappropriate gestures or tone are likely to be questioned and your behaviour might be commented on. However, with people less know to you, in shops, on public transport or at sports matches and concerts, there is a need to be more aware of those around you, who many not react in a positive manner to rude, loud or inappropriate gestures and tone.
How to practise this skill step
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!
- Watch a 10-minute extract of a film you have not seen before, with the sound off. Can you detect what the characters are saying from their gestures and expressions? Watch the extract again but with the sound on. How accurate were your observations and assumptions?
- Play a game with a friend, where you say a phrase, for example, ‘I am going to a concert on Saturday’, in as many different ways as possible and they have to guess how you feel about it, for example, excited, bored, cross. Swap places and you try to guess what your friend is feeling by the way they speak.
- Watch two different styles of television programme, for example the national news and a chat show. Watch carefully and note the tone and gestures of each presenter. How do they differ?