Can Communication Skills be Taught?

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email
Can communication skills be taught

Yes! Communication skills can be taught. However, the manner in which you adopt the communication skills learned differs from others. The difference is due to factors like one’s upbringing, school environment, interaction with friends, and more. These are the very forces that either limit or enhance one’s communication skills overall.

Communicating is one of the first few skills that we learn right from infancy. During the initial years, it is our parents or guardians who teach us the basics of communicating efficiently.

Later on, as we grow older, school and peers add to our limited set of skills. Finally, the workplace may also tweak or shape one’s communication skills to better fit the environment. 

So if we have been learning communication skills from the time we are born; How can individuals still have poor communication skills? 

For this, we need to understand that having weak communication skills is not a problem in itself. Rather some other deep-rooted issues could be the cause. And weak communication skills are just an effect of those issues, which may include having a lack of confidence, social anxiety, poor language skills, and more. All of which influence our belief in our ability to communicate efficiently. 

Hence, teaching communication skills involves not only imparting techniques and methods of improving one’s communication but also working on the root cause that affects the individual’s communication.

This brings us to the big question; how do we teach communication skills? What are the factors one must focus on while teaching communication skills? How can we teach communication skills to students and adults? 

Before answering the above questions, it’s important to look at some of the misconceptions that limit us from enhancing our communication skills.

Two of the biggest barriers to learning communication skills are the beliefs that,

1. You must have excellent language skills so to be a good communicator. 

There is a common trend of substituting language skills with communication skills as if both the terms were synonymous. Fortunately, that’s not the case.

Language skills happen to be just one part of the wide spectrum of communication skills. So it is not as difficult to communicate well even if one has pretty average language skills. Making the best and most appropriate use of words, gestures, and eye-body language can be of help here. These are cues that are not only easy to understand but, in most cases, universal. Hence, It would be easy to understand even for individuals belonging to different cultures and continents.

A good example is nodding when we agree with what someone is saying.

2. Good communication is directly related to your personality traits.

We often believe that good communication skills come naturally to extroverted individuals. While introverts, on the other hand, have poor social and communication skills. That is not true.

Introversion is more related to the desire of the individual to speak rather than their innate capability to interact. They might well possess amazing listening skills which happen to be a crucial aspect of effective communication.

Now that you have gained some understanding of why it’s necessary to break the myths that pose to be a hindrance to learning or teaching communication skills, we can focus on the big question of,

How can you teach communication skills?

Communication can be learned by enrolling oneself in courses available online. You can also consult a professional who can help you guide you through the entire process.

If you are looking for a professional to help you navigate through the entire process of learning to communicate effectively, feel free to check out our services at Services – Frantically Speaking

If you aren’t sure about getting professional service for the same you can book and try a free consultation and be the judge yourself.

Teaching communication skills doesn’t have a one size fits all formula. It requires tweaking of modules as per the requirement of the individual and their environment.

So, when we design a module to improve the communication skills of a person A, it would be very different from the one that we might use for a group of students.

Further, while having someone to assess and provide feedback is an essential component in learning any new skill, you can teach yourself communication skills as well, that is by self-learning.

In this segment we will thus look at 2 things:

  1. How can you teach communication skills to yourself?
  2. How can you teach communication skills to others?

1. Teaching communication skills to yourself (Self-learning)

If you feel like your communication skills are substantial but would love to improve them to have a better experience while communicating, there are a few things you can keep in mind, they are:

Understand where you lack

Assessing which aspects of your communication skills need more work is essential when you are in the mode of self-learning. It is only through a proper understanding of this that you can move forward to the next step. That is the actual learning of the required skills.

For instance, if you feel that your basic communication and listening skills are on point. But if you find it challenging to do well during presentations, you can look for courses that specifically focus on improving your presentation skills. 

Look for courses

Once you have understood all your weak areas, list them down. These are the areas that need improvement. The next step will be to look for proper courses or sources online. 

At times what limits us from communicating efficiently is the improper use of body language. So the idea is to look for courses that help you improve in the areas you might not be good in. Enrolling in a course that focuses on general communication skills development may not prove to be as helpful.

Again, Frantically speaking offers a plethora of courses catered to your unique requirements which I believe you should not miss out on.

Practise

Last but also the most important point is to keep practicing the things you learn.

If for example, you feel you need improvement in your language skills and have taken up a course to enhance the same. You should keep practicing as per the course. But you can also add to your learning by reading, listening to podcasts, watching movies, or whatever suits you best.

2. Teaching Communication Skills to others

While teaching communication skills, it is very important to form a basic structure or the teaching plan. The plan must focus on the specific skills that the individual lacks.

The teaching plan would also depend on whether it is to be taught to an individual or a group of individuals having similar problems.

While you can frame the module at your convenience, a few things you must not forget to include are:

Introspection or identifying the root cause

As we discussed, having weak communication skills is not a problem in itself. Rather, it is a part of some other deep-rooted issues. The individual might be facing low confidence, social anxiety, stage fear, etc.

On a more psychological level, the individuals might have a habit of excessive negative thinking, negative views of themselves, and more.

Identifying the root causes thus becomes the most essential part of framing a module. journaling and free talking are the most popular tools for introspection.

But you are free to use any other method that you are comfortable with.

Formulating a basic plan and implementing it with the individual

Once we know the root cause, we can work towards making the required changes. we can do this by substituting their negative thought pattern with newer, healthier behavior patterns.

using such techniques can prove to be helpful in cases of stage fear and social anxiety. By systematically exposing the person to the object they are afraid of. The idea is that gradually, the person will be able to face their fears, in this case, it would be the fear of communicating well. 

A good teaching plan would also focus on understanding the person’s learning patterns, so as to make it easier for them to learn.

Evaluating the individual’s progress and providing feedback

Feedback gives a clear picture of whether the person is making any progress or not. If the progress isn’t up to the mark, we can make a few changes to enhance their performance.

The evaluation comprises of answering questions like:

  • Did the person’s vocabulary improve?
  • Do they find it less scary to talk in front of people?
  • Has their body language improved? Is it situation appropriate?

And more of such questions that are relevant to your case.

2.1 Teaching Communication Skills to Students

Every individual learns the basic and necessary communication skills in school by observing their teachers as well as classmates.

Schools play a major role in enhancing the student’s communication skills. Schools thus shape the skills that students have already learned at home.

 It’s very difficult to focus on each student and their communication skills in a school setting. While some students may require individual attention; others can be taught to develop communication skills in a group. This would include:

Modeling

Youngsters learn a lot by observing people in their immediate environment. Modeling can be used to implement effective communication skills. It is a method in which the teacher or authority figure acts in a way that they want students to behave.

So if the teacher shows good communication skills, the students would learn the same by observing him/her.

Roleplay is also a form of modeling. The idea is that the students would enact behaviors in the play that they have observed in real life. The teacher or mentor can then help them to change the inappropriate communication patterns. This also gives them the opportunity to work and interact with their peers.

Assuming the students have their college interviews coming up or placement interviews, you can conduct a role-play and assess how they perform. It would also help them build confidence to face the interview in real life later.

Rewards

The idea is that a reward would motivate the student to keep improving his or her skills. That will eventually help in developing good communication skills.

For example, you have a student who gets angry quite easily and is infamous for beating his classmates. You can first teach him techniques for communicating his anger to either his classmates or teachers. The student can then be given rewards based on their behavior.

The rewards don’t have to be materialistic like gifts. But can even include praise or acknowledgment, basically, anything that the student values.

Turn-taking

Turn-taking is an effective means by which students learn to wait for their turn. In the process, they are encouraged to listen to others before being given a chance to speak.

Students can take turns based on their seating arrangement. Another method to ensure turn-taking is passing an object around the class to decide who speaks next.

Turn taking for teaching and learning communication skills

Forming Vocabulary

Vocabulary comprises the words and essence of the sentences spoken. It is very easy to use slang, especially among students who keep adding to that giant dictionary. Excessive use of “Lol” in everyday conversation is proof.

Developing a respectful vocabulary is important as it will help students understand the appropriateness of using words in certain situations. It will also help them move beyond using emojis and GIFs to express what they feel.

Afterall, We cannot talk emojis

Lindsay Parrado

Encourage classroom interaction

Technology has become a very important part of students’ life. This also means that social media dominates a major part of their communication.

Hence, making the best use of the few hours that students spend in school to increase face-to-face interaction is necessary. Group activities turn out to be one of the most engaging activities that encourage such interactions.

Games and Activities

For more fun and engaging learning session, adding a few games and activities would be perfect.

Our suggestions would be games like Whisper game or life update game.

A whisper game is a popular game that involves a group of students whispering a sentence that the first student whispers into the ears of the next. The idea is to see if the last student is able to say the sentence as the first one had intended.

Life update games involve Interacting with classmates and updating them about their life. it begins with the selection of a topic like a restaurant they last visited. Then an object is passed around among the students. Whoever it lands on is supposed to update others on the particular topic.

If you are looking for more such game ideas for your next class, don’t forget to check this video:

Improve COMMUNICATION SKILLS in Children with HIGHLY EFFECTIVE Games | Early Childhood Education – YouTube

2.2 Teaching Communication Skills to Students with Disabilities

Teaching communication skills to students with disabilities comprises mainly of helping them develop skills they can use to effectively deliver their thoughts, ideas, and needs.

While the course of action to be taken on the part of the teacher would depend on the disability of the student; a few ideas that can be used to help deliver better communication skills among students with disabilities are:

Encourage asking for assistance

It’s quite convenient for us to provide the student with assistance even when they haven’t asked for it. One can let the student make requests as per what they would really want and then work towards meeting those needs. 

This instills a sense of freedom and independence in the student. 

Provide Choices

For enhancing communication, it is essential to provide the students with choices. This would give them a chance to make decisions for themselves. 

For instance, if the student asks or gestures that they want a pen, you may provide them with pens of different colors and let them choose whichever they’d want to use. 

Reconfirm 

At times we might not be able to understand what the student is trying to tell us. Behavioral cues may have many meanings making it challenging for us to understand the student.

A student for example might be trying to understand the map on the board but you might think that they want you to bring the map to them. These instances of misunderstanding usually frustrate the student.

In such cases, reconfirming might help. Wherein your job is to try and confirm what you feel the student is trying to communicate. 

In the example above, you may want to ask the student if they want you to bring the map to them. Their response through the nods or absolute words may help you get a clear idea of what they need. 

Teaching Behavioural cues

Behavioral cues are basic gestures or patterns of behaving that are easy to understand for all. If for instance, the student wants to show his or her agreement or disagreement on an issue that you are discussing in the class, he or she may nod or say yes or no (if possible). 

They may even point out objects or pictures that are associated with the emotion or thing they want to convey. 

Use of pictures 

The use of pictures in the form of emotion boards or activity boards can prove to be helpful. It helps you understand what the student feels at the moment or what they would like to do. 

An example of an Emotion board is given below.

Emotion board example for communication skills

This helps the student point to the particular emotion that they might be feeling. While activity boards would include activities like reading, playing games, and absolutely anything that would be convenient for the student. 

 2.3 Teaching Communication Skills to Adults or in the Workplace

Communication skills are one of the most in-demand soft skills that employers across the globe are looking for.

Every working professional is well aware of the fact that while hard work is essential to progress in one’s field; the way in which one communicates and maintains relations is also equally important for them to excel in their careers.

Hence improving communication skills is of utmost importance in the workplace.

A few of the many ways in which you can teach communication skills to adults are:

Progressive questioning

Progressive questioning is a method of asking questions. The questions are based on the information provided by the individual one is having a conversation.

The idea is to keep continuing the conversation by actively listening to what the other person is saying. Then pick up some information from what you heard and ask them a question based on the information just gathered.

Paraphrasing

A ton of miscommunication or misunderstanding has its roots in the processing of the information in a way that wasn’t intended by the speaker.

Paraphrasing or reframing the idea just heard can go a long way in maintaining healthy work relationships. It makes the other person aware that you were indeed listening to them the entire time.

It will also give them the opportunity to clarify any doubts or misunderstandings.

Maintaining appropriate body language

Body language would include even very basic and small things like how the individual walks into the room, how their facial expressions change, how often they use gestures, and much more.

While it usually comes naturally to everyone, maintaining one’s body language, especially in a workplace is crucial.

Maintaining eye contact, nodding, and leaning in are all instances that show that the person has your attention. While on the other hand, shaking one’s head, leaning away and shrugging might indicate inattention or disinterest.

If you a brief idea on how to maintain effective body language, you might want to check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCH_GGFy3iA&t=182s

Encourage group activity

Encourage group activity to teach communication skills

It is very easy to feel left out or to avoid having a conversation with others in the organization when working in an organization where individual work and output are given importance.

Conducting occasional group activities can prove to be beneficial in such cases. Group activities not only allow them to refine their communication skills but also helps establish a decent relationship with peers.

Communication skills form an essential part of one’s social and professional life. Thus working towards enhancing it can help the individual flourish in various aspects of one’s life. Lastly, communication skills are learned and unlearned throughout one’s life. One can never be sure to have excelled at it.

So keep learning and keep communicating!

Enroll in our transformative
1:1 Coaching Program

Schedule a call with our expert communication coach to know if this program would be the right fit for you

Scroll to Top

Kindly drop your contact details so that we can arrange call back