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Evidencing communication skills

Communication skills are crucial at all levels and in all roles of an organisation. This guide provides information on how you can evidence your reading skills, written skills and oral skills, as well as non-verbal communication skills, such as body language and listening skills.

Good communication skills are a prerequisite on every person specification for graduate-level employment. The professionals and graduates interviewed in the Standing out videos emphasised the importance of these skills and how they are vital in securing graduate-level positions.

A senior employer said that business is a series of conversations in a formal setting; an entrepreneur told us that the ability to be liked and to get on well with colleagues and clients was paramount. Good communication and social skills are vital at work as you will be required to communicate with people in a range of settings. No one wants to do business with individuals who cannot express themselves clearly, cannot write accurately, or would not be able to listen effectively to instructions and briefs.

Reading and interpretation skills

To be able to take key information from reports, documents, correspondence, manuals, meeting minutes and e-mails and understand the meaning of what has been written.

To be able to undertake research and make comparisons from written sources.

To draw conclusions based on conflicting written sources.

Give examples from your university course or employment to evidence this skill.

Writing skills

Written information

Present written documents free of grammatical errors and bad punctuation.

Give examples from your course or employment of when you have had to write succinctly, accurately and logically. These can be any examples of writing in standard English including:

  • letters written on behalf of employers or to local newspapers
  • e-mails to clients
  • press releases
  • dissertations
  • articles for student publications
  • written copy for websites
  • posters to communicate messages
  • leaflets to publicise events
  • an executive summary
  • information as part of a on-screen presentation
  • minutes of programme meetings
  • match reports for team sports

Graphical information

Present information in graphical form.

Give examples of your use of diagrams or charts to illustrate concepts/findings. This could be as part of a report, presentation etc.

Oral communication skills

Speak clearly and concisely using appropriate language, tone and vocal pitch. Demonstrate this at the interview.

Give examples of when you have effectively communicated with people of different social backgrounds and cultures, for example at:

  • a networking event
  • the launch of a new business
  • the opening of an exhibition
  • a UEL society meeting
  • the taking of groups of dignitaries around the campus
  • formal presentations
  • work simulations such as: mock trials, assessment centres, pitches, role-plays
  • placements or internships

Non-verbal communication skills

Use positive body language

Be aware that you are giving messages by the way you move, sit and from facial expressions.

In an interview situation, when giving a presentation as part of an assessment, or any scenario in which you are feeling under pressure, it is important that you communicate positive non-verbal messages. Positive body language examples

Listening and questioning skills

Use active listening. Active listening is when a listener is attentive in order to interpret, understand, evaluate and respond to what is being said correctly.

Use effective questioning skills. These can be used to clarify a situation, demonstrate understanding and show empathy.

Give examples from when you have effectively listened and questioned, for example when:

  • feeding back a report of a conference or meeting to university colleagues
  • undertaking a placement as part of your course
  • holding group discussions
  • chairing meetings
  • attending networking events, business forums, lectures and seminars

References

Future fit: Preparing graduates for the world of work. (2009) Available at: http://www.cbi.org.uk/pdf/20090326-CBI-FutureFit-Preparing-graduates-for-the-world-of-work.pdf (Accessed: November 2010).

 

Application of literacy, the ability to produce clear, structured written work, oral literacy – including listening and questioning.

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) definition of communication and literacy skills