You will consider discussions in more depth in Section 4, but it is worth thinking about them in the light of what you have looked at regarding everyday speaking and listening. Discussions combine both speaking and listening.
If you are preparing for either a Functional Skills English Level 1 or an Essential Skills Wales Communication Level 1 qualification, you will practise and be assessed on your ability to take part in discussions. This means being able to speak and listen, ask questions, give opinions, state facts and express feelings, among other things. This is slightly different to everyday discussions, which are usually less structured and more unpredictable. To communicate successfully you need to be able to take part in both short and long discussions, which can be formal or informal.
Activity 12 Everyday discussions
Think about the types of discussion you have every day. Who do you have them with? How long do they last for? What are they about?
Your everyday discussions might include something like the following:
- Colleagues – what you are working on today (10 minutes)
- Parents – how they are and what they have been doing (20 minutes)
- Friends – what you are doing at the weekend and with who (20 minutes).
- Children – what they did at school (a few minutes)
Your answers are likely to be very personal and depend on your own preferences when speaking and listening.
The next activity is a quick recap of what you’ve covered so far. It will help you to remember what you’ve learnt.
Activity 13 Check what you’ve learnt: speaking and listening in everyday life
1. What three things should you consider when speaking to ensure you are understood?
You should think about your:
- articulation (clarity)
2. Give an example of a situation when it would be vital that you are understood.
Here are some examples.
- Speaking on the phone
- Speaking to someone in authority
- Speaking to someone for whom English is not their first language
- Speaking in a meeting.
3. Give an example of a situation in which you would need to speak loudly.
Here are some examples of when you would need to speak loudly.
- Speaking to a group
- Speaking to someone who is far away
- Speaking in a large room
- Speaking when there’s background noise.
4. What things can affect how well you listen?
Here are some things that can affect how well you listen.
- Your emotions
- Knowing the speaker
- Agreeing with the speaker
- Wanting to say something
- Your concentration
- Your reason for listening, for example as part of a general chat or to gain specific information.
5. Give an example of a time when you would need to listen very carefully.
Here are some examples of when you would need to listen very carefully.
- Being given directions
- Being given work instructions
- During legal proceedings
- Discussing financial information
- Planning something with others.
6. Give an example of an active listening technique.
Here are some examples of active listening techniques.
- Verbal prompts
- Eye contact
- Positive body position
- Asking questions.
7. What does eye contact with someone you are talking to show?
It shows that you are involved, engaged, listening, interested.