To achieve Step 6, individuals will have to show that they can use the appropriate tone, expression and gesture in different settings.
In the previous step, the focus was on how to speak effectively by using appropriate language – that is, the right words. This step is about the other elements that give meaning to what is said – the tone, expression and gesture.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
Simply put, tone is how we say the words that we are speaking.
We can explore this with a simple example – “you could do that better.” Without changing the words, the way that sounds and the meaning it conveys can vary a lot depending on how someone says those words.
It is incredible how much meaning comes from the way that something is said, rather than the words themselves.
We can refer to this way that something is said as the tone of speaking. This tone varies by several dimensions:
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.
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.
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.
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 reinforced in several ways in the classroom. For example:
This step is best assessed through observation. For example:
This step is relevant to everyone who uses verbal communication in the course of their work, particularly where they have to work with both colleagues and with clients or customers.
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 observation. 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: