When it comes to school leavers and communication, do we have a problem?
Over time a new person that you meet may build up an image of who you are based on their interactions with you, but unless you offer them the right picture this image could be distorted. Think about how your closest friends see you compared to how your parents see you, for example. Is there a difference? Is one version closer to the ‘real’ you, or are these people connecting with different parts of your personality?
The importance of communication
How you communicate with people is not just about what you say, but also how you say it. Being able to remain polite and personable while still getting your point across is a skill that takes time to master. Remaining confident when you communicate can be especially tricky in your career – especially if you are just starting out and feel like a junior member of staff.
School leavers and how they communicate
Some are concerned that young people are becoming too accustomed to the synthesised world of social media and digital communication, and lack the skills and confidence to shine as a result. Communication skills is something that is being tackled by people including Princess Beatrice and the charity she co-founded, Big Change. They recognise that there can even be a negative impact on mental health as a result of poor communication among young people. So what can we do about it?
The first step is trying to understand what makes effective communication work. Look around at those people who seem confident and in control. What are they doing that you can take on and use yourself? They probably don’t need to raise their voice, they most-likely don’t end up in heated discussions, and are able to get their thoughts across clearly. This all takes practice, but can be learnt.
Think before you speak
Try to think before you open your mouth to make sure what you are going to say can’t be taken the wrong way but be confident in your opinion. It is OK to be wrong or to change your mind, and recognising this is better than blustering forward regardless.
Show some respect
Good communication is about showing some respect, not just to those you are speaking to, but also to yourself and your own ideas and viewpoint. These type of soft skills are often overlooked in a quest for grades, but they are also very important and are believed to be partly the reason why young people are struggling to find work.
Helping school leavers with communication skills
Some might say that these types of skills should be taught in school, alongside academic study. Indeed, there are those that say schools should be doing more to teach young people good manners and other ‘life skills.’
There is no doubt that these types of skills are important in your career, and in life in general. In fact, one man, Howard Jameson has set up a Kids Learning Club to teach “morals, manners and life skills” from his Jermyn Street theatre in London’s West End.
In the digital age we still need to communicate
Speaking on the issue, Mr Jameson said, “We live in a digital age, but we still have to communicate with people, we still have to socialise, have to learn how to share, learn to be better citizens. Technology can’t always give those values. I want a better understanding of manners, how you should conduct yourself. More respect, more consideration. Not just taking things for granted. People are very ‘I want’.”
However, it is perhaps too much to expect schools to carry all of the responsibility for raising children up to become reasonable members of society. It is something that we all, as a society, need to pay more attention to – whether that is with our own children, or your little brothers and sisters.
By failing to teach such important soft skills like communication, we are not only failing the next generation but also potentially creating societal problems when it comes to the issue of school leavers and communication.