Communication Skills

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A resource commissioned by the Making Practice
Based Learning Work project, an educational
development project funded through FDTL Phase 4
Project Number 174/02 and produced by staff from the
University of Ulster.
Tara Dixon, Project Manager, University of Ulster
Martin O’Hara, Management Consultant
Aims and Learning Objectives 2
Introduction 3
Section 1: The Communication Process 4
Section 2: Active Listening Skills 10
Section 3: Non-verbal Communication 13
Section 4: Giving Constructive Feedback 18
Section 5: Questioning Skills 23
Section 6: Presentation Skills 28
Appendix 1 33
References 38
Communication Skills
Communication Skills
This resource has been compiled to give a general introduction to effective communication for practice educators. In the first section, the key components of the communication process will be discussed. The basic skills required for effective communication will be explored in the next few sections, and some specific contexts for communication, including giving presentations and feedback meetings, will be examined. Learning Objectives

On completion of this resource, you should be able to:
• Identify the key components of the communication process. • Identify some typical problems that can arise in the communication process and demonstrate knowledge of skills to overcome these.
• Demonstrate increased awareness of forms of communication and social behaviour. • Identify and use strategies for managing specific contexts for communication, including giving presentations.

Aims and Learning Objectives
Communication Skills
As we progress through our careers in the health or social care environment, the sorts of skills that are critical to our success can change and evolve. Many of us are first responsible for performing specific practical tasks, linked to our developing knowledge base. Our effectiveness centres upon our actions and our growing expertise at performing these. Proficiency at such tasks is often the initial focus.

However, as we continue to progress, it is likely that success will depend more and more upon our interpersonal skills and our ability to develop effective working relationships with key others. Jobs that include a managerial, supervisory or a mentoring role can involve complex relationships with people. Demands can be made that are sometimes conflicting and ambiguous. A practice educator’s job can involve reconciling and managing these demands. Not surprisingly, interpersonal and communication skills often rank among the most critical for work related success. In its most straightforward sense, effective communication may be understood as occurring when the intended meaning of the sender and perceived meaning of the receiver are the same. Yet the level of skill required for effective communication to occur, belies the simplicity of this definition. After examining studies involving hundreds of large organisations, Goleman (1997) concluded that a high level of individual success at work was characterised by ‘emotional intelligence’, or skills of social awareness and communication. Typically, these included the ability to motivate and influence others, to give honest feedback sensitively, to empathise and develop relationships, to monitor ones own behaviour, to handle emotions both of self and others and to read interpersonal situations and organisational politics. However it is important to note that emotional intelligence, or the skills of social awareness and communication, can be developed and honed. This resource aims to give a basic introduction to the area of effective communication and will seek to increase your awareness of forms of communication, communication skills and social or interpersonal behaviour...
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