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Key skills: making a difference
Key skills: making a difference

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4.4.3 Identify ways of further developing your communication skills

Think about your overall level of communication skills and suggest areas where you feel you need to improve, based on the experience you have gained. You might find it useful to discuss with your tutor or another student or work colleague how you might do this. There may be changes you feel you need to make so that you can move forward, such as trying to extend the facilities and resources available to you, changing the way you study to make best use of the time you have, or focusing on improving your own skills in specific areas.

Time out

When you have evaluated your performance thoroughly you will be more aware of areas where there is still room for improvement. Even the most experienced communicators need to go on improving and monitoring their skills.

Evaluating strategy and presenting outcomes

Activity: Evaluating your communication strategy and presenting outcomes

For this activity you will need to print out the Skills Sheet, ‘Evaluating your strategy and presenting outcomes’: click here [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   open it.

Drawing on the notes and comments you have kept, comment critically on:

  • the effectiveness of your strategy for improving your communication skills, identifying the factors that had an impact on your work;

  • those aspects of communication where you feel you have made progress, and those where you feel you need more feedback or support;

  • what you found useful in helping you to make progress, such as comments from tutors, other students or colleagues, particular resources, and particular ways of working or planning your work;

  • your own performance as if you were assessing your work; and

  • how you intend to develop further your communication skills.

Put together extracts of work that shows you can use written, oral and visual forms of communication and which includes:

  • a synthesis of information, including referencing sources;

  • a piece of written communication for a particular purpose; and

  • a presentation and group discussion.

Refer to the figure below for an example of a completed Skills Sheet for this stage of the key skills framework.

Figure 7
Example of a completed Skills Sheet for ‘Evaluating your communication strategy and presenting outcomes’

Learning involves changing, doing things differently, and seeing things from a different perspective. Evaluating how you tackled your work and then reflecting on your progress is an important part of learning. Although it may seem strange to be invited to ‘reflect’, the aim is to help you become more aware of how you did things and what helped you to do them. Critical reflection and evaluation involves:

  • thinking about what you have done: being aware of what was involved in completing your assignment or work activity; for example what skills and knowledge you needed, what resources you found useful in developing and improving your skills, what support you called on, what were your problems and what were your successes;

  • identifying your learning: focusing on things that worked well for you; identifying how successfully completing something can be helpful when things do not appear to be straightforward or you feel stuck on a particular task; and

  • thinking about your next task: if you are aware of how you have tackled a problem, you can build on that experience for new tasks.

In developing your skills of communication, the processes of monitoring, reflecting, and evaluating are critically important. You need to monitor your progress as you go along and evaluate and reflect on it towards the end. You may need to wait until you have received feedback from your tutor or manager before you can carry out a full review of your work, but it is essential not to forget about it.