Talking in Canada: 10 Communication Tips for the Classroom & Workplace
- August 18, 2022
Effective communication is a hallmark of both a competent employee and a successful student. Learning to speak well is one thing, but effective communication also involves showing respect, encouraging your team, listening carefully, and being mindful of your own body language. To help you develop effective communication skills for both the classroom and workplace, explore our list of tips below.
Effective Communication Tips for the Classroom
Canadians are famed for their politeness, so it is a good idea to aim for respect when you are in the classroom. You are going to want to avoid using slang and reduced forms. In other words, you will sound more polite if you say, “It is” as opposed to “it’s.”
Remember to also make requests, not demands. To soften your message, use modal verbs such as “could” and “would.” It is better to say, “Could I order a coffee?” as opposed to, “Give me a coffee.”
It should also go without saying that you should never interrupt another speaker.
We have all been in a classroom where one student does all the talking, so to avoid falling into this trap, always ask others to contribute. It can make a big difference when you politely ask someone, “What do you think?”
Use Active Listening
Active listening means paying close attention to not only the words a person is using but also their tone of voice and the expression on their face. If you take a mental note of what you don’t understand and ask for clarification, the speaker will know that you are paying attention and interested in their idea.
It can be a good habit to start summarizing the ideas of another speaker with the simple phrase, “So please correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like your main points are…”
Using body language can not only enhance your message but also make others pay more attention to you. To get started, all you have to do is move your hands to the rhythm of your voice. It has also been shown that gesturing can help you remember important information and words while you are speaking.
Share Your Ideas
Fleming College Toronto promotes respectful and inclusive classrooms, so your contributions will always be valued. Even a short comment can enhance a class discussion. If public speaking is something that scares you, remember that the more you do it, the easier it gets. Set yourself a goal of saying something short every day, and soon you will be confident enough to make bigger contributions.
Effective Communication Tips for the Workplace
Know What to Communicate About
In the workplace, it is important to refrain from gossip and controversial topics. Discussing money, politics, and religion can make people emotional and uncomfortable. For casual conversations, ask about someone’s weekend, discuss popular culture, or bring up news related to your industry.
For example, if you work in Supply Chain Management, you might discuss international issues related to global logistics.
Watch Your Tone of Voice
A high-pitched voice can indicate immaturity, defensiveness, or make your statements sound like a question. A monotone voice can make you sound bored or disinterested. On the other hand, a low pitch can make you sound more serious. Try recording yourself when you are alone to see if your tone of voice matches the meaning you are trying to convey.
When you feel someone has misunderstood you, resolve the miscommunication as soon as possible. Don’t be personal. Focus on solving the problem. Think about the other person’s perspective and remember that everyone makes mistakes.
Be Clear and Explicit
It is always better to overexplain than underexplain. Canada is a low-context culture, which means that most people say exactly what they mean in the workplace and do so with a lot of details and examples so that everyone can understand. This is in contrast to a high-context culture, which means that meaning is conveyed or implied more through environments, relationships, and non-verbal cues.
For some people, low-context communication might feel like too much. You might think that Canadians tend to take a long time explaining simple instructions. However, this is done to ensure that an important point is never missed.
Summarize your assignments
Sometimes, meetings can get long and complicated. That’s why it is important to not only take notes during a meeting but also to verify the steps required for any assignments or projects. At the end of a meeting, when the speaker asks if anyone has questions, you can use the following phrase to ask for clarification:
- I just want to verify that the following is correct…
- So, to summarize my action plan, I will _____, _____, and _____. Is this correct?
- Please let me know if I understood correctly. First, I will _____. Second, I will _____.
Thank you for reading! For more information about studying and working in Canada, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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