The job market that high school and college graduates are facing is more competitive than ever before. In order to stand out, students need to prepare in advance by acquiring the skills that today's employers value most. The number one skillset employers say current candidates lack is the ability to communicate effectively, especially on a professional level.
Career and technical educators, especially, are in a prime position to help students meet employer expectations and needs. In career and technical education (CTE), we are already training many students for the careers they will one day enter and therefore can help them gain additional skills, which will enable them to succeed in the workplace.
Since this is so important for today’s students, we’ve put together a list of key skills, matching iCEV lessons to help you bring communication skills to your classroom. If you’re already using the iCEV curriculum, you can easily incorporate these lessons into your lesson plans or even as self-study lessons.
As students join the workforce, their need for strong written communication skills is very important. Businesses utilize a plethora of written communication in order to clearly and efficiently communicate with their employees. Oftentimes, employees are expected to communicate in written form, as well. Students who have sharpened their written communication skills will have an added advantage in the workplace.
Written Communication Practices
Provide students with a basic understanding and history of written communication and the importance of organizing information. Allow students to practice proper grammar, spelling and punctuation with the Letter Activity.
Public speaking is one of the most feared communication skills, but it’s also one of the most important. No matter the career path students choose, odds are they will have to speak publicly at some point, which can help differentiate them from their peers. Public speaking can also help build confidence in students, and many skills learned during public speaking can be applied to other areas of professional communication.
Public Speaking Basics
Better prepare students for various speaking engagements. Use the City Council student project to allow students to practice giving a verbal presentation.
As important as listening is in the classroom, it’s even more important in the workplace. When students lack the ability to listen effectively, messages can be misunderstood and this can cause communication to break down entirely. We can help students learn how to better listen by providing them with basic listening processes and allowing them to practice this skill.
Give students an overview of many parts of communication, including the listening process. Use the Paraphrase activity to encourage students to practice their listening skills.
Technology plays a vital role in the classroom, and students will need to master technical skills to take with them into the workforce. While today’s students may have grown up in a world with technology, they don’t necessarily understand how to use that technology in a professional setting. Since technology is so important to any workplace, we can better prepare students by giving them the skills they need to better communicate digitally.
Introduction to Digital Communications
Examine the meaning and background of digital communication, including the devices and processes of digital communication. Use the Twitter activity to get students thinking about the noise and roadblocks that occur when communicating a message digitally.
While good communication is important no matter where you are, a professional setting generally has higher expectations for the way we communicate. Students should understand the difference between communicating with their peers and teachers in the classroom and communicating with coworkers and managers in the workplace.
This lesson outlines the importance of proper business behaviors, demonstrates effective telephone skills and describes professional Internet etiquette. Use the Etiquette Dos and Don'ts activity to encourage students to explore proper business etiquette.
Both formal and informal meetings are common occurrences in business settings. Students should understand the basics of holding and participating in meetings effectively if they are to succeed in the workplace.
Parliamentary Procedure Guidelines
This presentation not only provides students with the skills needed to conduct an orderly and efficient meeting, but also supplies them with a detailed look at how parliamentary procedure is used in a professional setting. Use the Mock Meetings project so students can practice holding a meeting.
Being able to lead others, especially in a group setting, is a crucial skill necessary for all students to succeed in business today. Leaders inspire and promote productivity from others. In CTE, it’s even more crucial that we build up leadership in the classroom because as students build skills specific to their chosen career, they should also be building skills that will lead them to that career.
Explore the different styles of leadership and define some traits that all leaders should possess. Use the Leadership Video project to reinforce each leadership style.
Helping students develop communication skills to succeed in the workforce is critical to their success. All of these lessons are part of the Southwest Airlines Professional Communications Certification, powered by iCEV. If you are not currently an iCEV user, you can check it out by creating a free 30-day trial. iCEV users not yet familiar with the certification can learn more here.