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Communication skills for students

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Published: 1 June 2020

Two University of Sunderland in London student communicating at the Santander Enterprise event

On the surface, university is about learning the subject that you’re studying. It's easy to think that, because you're here to study, that should be the only thing you're thinking about. While your course, whether it's an MSc in Project Management or an FdA in Tourism and Events Management, is important, you should think of university as a lifechanging time in your lives. It's a chance to transform yourself in other ways as well. It’s an opportunity to grow, reassess and reach your goals.

Part of that is learning the soft skills that employers are looking for in their graduate employees. That name might sound like they’re not that important. But soft skills, like communication, problem-solving, leadership and teamwork are things that you will use every day no matter which role or industry you end up in.

Top of the list of most employees soft skills wants is communication. The ability to pass a message to a wide range of people in a clear and intelligent way is indispensable in the workplace. It’s also something a lot of people assume they’re good at, and don’t find out they could work on it until it’s too late. Use your time at the University of Sunderland in London to practice your communication skills and be the graduate employers want to hire.

1) Make communication your first priority

Take learning how to communicate seriously and you’ll find you quickly become an expert. Read - articles, books, magazines - anything you can get your hands on. Listen to podcasts on communication. Basically find an expert and learn from them.

2) Simplify how you speak

You don’t need to use big words to impress people, do that with what you’re saying. Instead, try and use the clearest, most easy to understand wording you can, whether you’re writing or speaking. 

3) Speak for your audience

No one likes to just be spoken to. Instead, ask your audience questions. Make sure you listen to their answers and prove that you have by addressing what they’ve said in your response.

4) Take your time

A lot of people rush when they talk because they’re worried they’ll get cut off before they can get their point across. Slow down, ‘draft’ what you’re going to say in your head and speak with purpose.

 5) Don’t blame others

If your audience isn’t understanding you, it’s almost never about them. Remember point two, simplify your language.

Do you think of yourself as an expert communicator? We’d love to hear your tips for talking with purpose. Tell us your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon.

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