In the modern workplace, communication can make or break a career. High school students who develop strong communication skills early go on to nail that interview, negotiate that pay raise, or make a great case for that promotion. However, those who fail to communicate effectively often end up getting passed over–no matter how smart or skilled they are.
As an instructor, you want to ensure your kids have the best chance at success in their careers, and communication is a key element in that. But communication can be tricky to learn. What are these workplace communication skills, and where do you begin when teaching them in your career readiness course?
Many high school teachers have approached AES asking these questions, and in response, we’ve developed a list of the different types of communication your kids will encounter every day in the workplace.
In this article, you’ll discover a breakdown of the three different kinds of workplace communication and how you can teach them in a high school setting:
- Verbal Communication
- Non-Verbal Communication
- Email Communication
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better sense of each of these three workplace communication skills and how you can teach them to your students.
Workplace Communication Skills Breakdown: Verbal, Non-Verbal, & Email
Traditionally, workplace communication is made of verbal and non-verbal communication. However, with the rise of technology, email has also taken a central role in workplace communication, and will be one of the primary methods your high schoolers use to collaborate with coworkers day-to-day.
What Is Verbal Communication?
Verbal communication is any conversation that takes place vocally.
While that primarily means face-to-face discussions, it could also include phone calls, video conferences, voicemails, and voice messaging.
The most important advantage of verbal communication is that speakers can use tone of voice to help convey the context of what they’re saying.
That context could be anything from sincerity to sarcasm — but either way, it’s a major benefit that verbal communication has over non-verbal.
On the other hand, verbal communication is almost always temporary, which means it’s the responsibility of the listener and speaker to remember the discussion without any aid.
This isn’t true for voicemails or voice messaging, but it does apply to phone calls, video conferencing, and face-to-face conversations.
Because the latter three situations occur much more frequently than voicemails and voice messaging, it’s important to note that two people may have different interpretations of how a conversation actually goes.
These different interpretations — whether they’re accurate or not — can vary from mild misunderstandings to major miscommunications.
After all, with no central source of truth (like a written document or recording), any disagreements over a verbal conversation are up in the air when it comes to determining what was actually said and intended.
Fortunately, verbal communication isn’t the only method of conversing in a business setting.
In fact, non-verbal communication is becoming the preferred conversation and planning format for many companies, especially those involved in cutting-edge technology.
What Is Non-Verbal Communication?
Non-verbal communication is any form of discussion in which vocal tone doesn’t play a part.
This includes several forms of communication, like instant messaging, text messaging, note-writing, social media posts, letters, data analysis, and even email–though email is special for a few reasons.
Oftentimes, non-verbal communication entails some form of writing, which gives it one major advantage over any other form of conversation: documentation.
Documentation provides that central source of truth for what someone said, when they said it, and how they said it. This helps provide a strong sense of clarity and can resolve conflicts much more effectively than verbal communication.
However, it’s important to note that non-verbal communication entails more than just writing. It also includes crucial social cues like eye contact, body language, gestures, and even physical touch! As a result, you have a lot more areas of opportunity when it comes to non-verbal communication.
Take social cues, for instance. These non-verbal gestures and visual accents help to complement verbal communication. After all, combining the right words and gestures at the right time can make all the difference between appearing selfish or helpful!
Context is everything in this case — and social cues help establish that context when used in conjunction with speech.
Still, there’s one form of specific non-verbal communication that merits more of a breakdown, and it’s become the single most important communication method in the working world: email.
What Is Email Communication?
It’s strange to think that email was once considered a quaint or informal way of conducting business. After all, these days you’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t use it as a central pillar of their operations.
The bottom line is that email is one of the most-used communication methods for companies today. Using it, you can direct projects, hold discussions, make decisions, and grow a business to new heights!
This is why it’s so important for students to know about email, how it works, and why it requires professional etiquette.
After all, emails are responsible for individuals taking action in a company. They’re the best way to make sure people stay in the loop on different ideas and projects.
With the right email, someone can open themselves up to new opportunities that they never knew were possible. With the wrong email, they could truncate their career and end up looking for another job.
Email is taken seriously in the business world. It’s significantly different from text messaging, instant messaging, note-writing, and chat.
If a student goes into a job with the expectation that they can treat email like a messaging service, they’re starting off on a bad foot. To get them on the best start possible, it’s crucial that today’s educators teach email communication skills.
But that’s easier said than done, right? In fact, all of these communication skills can be tricky to teach. So how do you actually teach communication skills to high schoolers in the best way you can?
How to Teach Workplace Communication Skills
When it comes to teaching workplace communication skills to high schoolers, you’ll find a lot of variety in terms of approach and methodology.
That’s because what workplace communication actually entails — like many soft skills — isn’t set in stone. Many states in the US have completely different standards when it comes to communication education in general.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t great teaching strategies out there.
On the rest of this page, we’ll take an in-depth look into some of the most popular and successful online resources for teaching workplace communication skills in high school. These resources provide excellent guidelines to help you think about how you’ll teach these skills.
How Do I Teach Verbal Communication Skills?
The Global Digital Citizen Foundation (GDCF) is an organization dedicated to helping modern students learn in the ways that are best for them. When it comes to developing new teaching strategies, they’re always making new strides in terms of experimentation and tracking results.
GDCF has a brief–yet effective–suggestion for how to teach verbal communication to students of any age: have them watch videos that demonstrate conversational skills.
For the videos themselves, you can use clips from popular movies that your high schoolers know, like The Avengers, or even popular YouTubers who work in groups, like The Slo Mo Guys. This may help engage them further by making each lesson focus on characters or people that your students love to watch.
Regardless of what you choose to show, the goal is always the same. You want your students to demonstrate that they’re aware of what conversations look like along with positive communication traits and negative communication traits.
During the videos, you have students take notes that:
- Summarize/paraphrase the dynamic between the speakers
- Pull direct quotes from the conversation
- Mark interesting responses or replies
- Delve into the vocal tone of each speaker and how it affects the conversation
After the video is over and the students are done taking notes, you can ask them questions about key parts of the conversation: Why did the vocal tone of one speaker change at a certain point? How did the other speaker reply? How did it impact the conversation as a whole?
Asking these kinds of questions helps students engage with verbal communication in a way that’s relatable and fun — especially when compared to learning from a textbook.
How Do I Teach Non-Verbal Communication Skills?
Non-verbal communication skills are just as important as their verbal counterparts, and it’s essential you use the best resources available to teach them to your high schoolers.
Upbility, an education thought leader on speech therapy, offers several suggestions to help you get started with teaching social cues.
One of the most direct ways they recommend is through simple roleplaying. This is where you create conversational scenarios in which one student says something, another replies, and the rest of the class takes notes on what they observe.
For this roleplay scenario, it’s key that you highlight the subtle areas where social cues add emphasis to a conversation. These areas include:
- Facial expressions
- Body language
- Eye contact
- Personal touch
- Personal space
- Physical appearance
Have your students take notes, and after each exercise, you can ask the participants and observers to discuss what happened, why they interpreted a conversation a certain way, and how that interpretation could’ve changed based on non-verbal factors.
As for written communication, your options are surprisingly more limited than when dealing with social cues.
That’s because “writing skills” are an enormous category that includes career readiness, creative thinking, problem solving, and more.
However, there is an excellent resource provided by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which is a branch of the US Department of Education. This thorough guide offered by IES details every step you can take to teach writing skills to teens and adolescents–perfect for high schoolers.
We recommend downloading the guide yourself (it’s free) and following its information as closely as you can. There’s a lot of good information in there!
How Do I Teach Email Communication Skills?
Email–simply put–is one of the most powerful and convenient tools for modern communication. That’s why it’s essential that high school students learn how to write emails effectively and intelligently before they enter the workforce.
This includes understanding the principles of business writing in general, like common questions and implied tone. It also requires students to practice writing emails of their own — especially emails that they send in response to others.
However, this is all easier said than done, and these concepts include a lot more information than they may seem at first.
But when you approach email communication with an effective teaching strategy–like the Four Phases– you can take that complicated topic and make it understandable for students of any age.
One way to get your high schoolers thinking is to include an activity in which they need to decide if an email is formal or informal. This takes some prep up front, but it’s a great way to mix up your lesson.
Write 5-8 examples of both formal and informal emails and distribute them to your students. Pick students to read each email aloud, and then ask the class if they think it is formal or informal and why they believe so.
Depending how the activity goes, you may be able to start a class debate or discussion about which emails are appropriate for which setting.
Once you’re done with that part of the activity, have each of your students compose both a formal and informal email using school email accounts. This will be a great way to give them hands-on practice with effective email.
Need More Lesson Plans to Help You Teach Communication Skills?
Workplace communication skills are essential for your high schoolers to learn. After all, soon enough they’ll be joining the workforce full time, and if they find they can’t communicate in a professional setting, they could end up falling behind–or worse.
In this article, you’ve learned about the three main methods of workplace communication and strategies you can use to teach them in your high school course. If you use these strategies well, you’ll be providing your kids a solid foundation for effective communication.
However, these activities and strategies are just the beginning when it comes to teaching these skills to your students. If you need even more material to teach your students workplace collaboration and communication, check out the Business Communication module in our catalog.
Within this module, you’ll receive valuable lesson plans, assignments, eLearning material, and engaging exercises that will turn your high schoolers into professional communicators.
- Communication: Definitions and Concepts”, in Donsbach, Wolfgang (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Communication, “communication”. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
- “What Is Communication?”. 2012books.lardbucket.org. Retrieved Speaking into the air : a history of the idea of communication. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 2. ISBN 0-226-66276-4. The “Concept” of Communication”. Journal of Communication. 20 (2): 201–210. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1970.tb00877.x. Communication Theory as a Field”. Communication Theory. 9 (2): Definitions of Communication”, Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., pp. 296–299, doi:10.4135/9781412959384, ISBN 9781412959377, retrieved Institutional Sources of Intellectual Poverty in Communication Research”. Communication Research. 13 (4): 527–559.
- On Defining Communication: Another Stab”. Journal of Communication. 16 (2): 88–98. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1966.tb00020.x. ISSN 0021-9916. The Transmission Model of Communication”. Archived from the
- Types of Body Language”. Simplybodylanguage.com. Retrieved Contextualising English as a Lingua Franca: From Data to Insights. Communication in Everyday Life: Personal and Professional Contexts. Canada: Oxford University Press. p. 464.
- Complexity Theory – the Holy Grail of 21st Century”. Lane Dept of CSEE, West Virginia University. Archived from the original on Wayback Machine
- Statistical Methods for Communication Science. Taylor & Francis. pp. 8–9.Anand, Sandhya.
- Quorum Sensing- Communication Plan For Microbes Engaging – A Guide to Interacting Respectfully and Reciprocally with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and their Arts Practices and Intellectual Property (PDF), Australian Government: Indigenous Culture Support, p. 12, archived from the original (PDF) on 30 March 2016, retrieved 25 June 2016Walsh, Michael (1997),
- Cross cultural communication problems in Aboriginal Australia, Australian National University, North Australia Research Unit, pp. 7–9, ISBN 9780731528745, retrieved 25 June 2016
- Communication in plants: neuronal aspects of plant life. Taylor & Francis US. p. 19. ISBN 978-3-540-28475-8.
…the emergence of plant neurobiology as the most recent area of plant sciences.
More Remote Working Apps:
https://quintexcapital.com/?ref=arminham Quintex Capital https://www.genesis-mining.com/a/2535466 Genesis Mining http://www.bevtraders.com/?ref=arminham BevTraders https://jvz8.com/c/202927/369164 prime stocks https://jvz3.com/c/202927/361015 content gorilla https://jvz8.com/c/202927/366443 stock rush https://jvz1.com/c/202927/373449 forrk https://jvz3.com/c/202927/194909 keysearch https://jvz4.com/c/202927/296191 gluten free https://jvz1.com/c/202927/286851 diet fitness diabetes https://jvz8.com/c/202927/213027 writing job https://jvz6.com/c/202927/108695 postradamus https://jvz1.com/c/202927/372094 stoodaio https://jvz4.com/c/202927/358049 profile mate https://jvz6.com/c/202927/279944 senuke https://jvz8.com/c/202927/54245 asin https://jvz8.com/c/202927/370227 appimize https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376524 super backdrop https://jvz6.com/c/202927/302715 audiencetoolkit https://jvz1.com/c/202927/375487 4brandcommercial https://jvz2.com/c/202927/375358 talkingfaces https://jvz6.com/c/202927/375706 socifeed https://jvz2.com/c/202927/184902 gaming jobs https://jvz6.com/c/202927/88118 backlink indexer https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376361 powrsuite https://jvz3.com/c/202927/370472 tubeserp https://jvz4.com/c/202927/343405 PR Rage https://jvz6.com/c/202927/371547 design beast https://jvz3.com/c/202927/376879 commission smasher https://jvz2.com/c/202927/376925 MT4Code System https://jvz6.com/c/202927/375959 viral dash https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376527 coursova https://jvz4.com/c/202927/144349 fanpage https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376877 forex expert https://jvz6.com/c/202927/374258 appointomatic https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377003 woocommerce https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377005 domainname marketing https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376842 maxslides https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376381 ada leadz https://jvz2.com/c/202927/333637 eyeslick https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376986 creaite contentcreator https://jvz4.com/c/202927/376095 vidcentric https://jvz1.com/c/202927/374965 studioninja https://jvz6.com/c/202927/374934 marketingblocks https://jvz3.com/c/202927/372682 clipsreel https://jvz2.com/c/202927/372916 VideoEnginePro https://jvz1.com/c/202927/144577 BarclaysForexExpert https://jvz8.com/c/202927/370806 Clientfinda https://jvz3.com/c/202927/375550 Talkingfaces https://jvz1.com/c/202927/370769 IMSyndicator https://jvz6.com/c/202927/283867 SqribbleEbook https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376524 superbackdrop https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376849 VirtualReel https://jvz2.com/c/202927/369837 MarketPresso https://jvz1.com/c/202927/342854 voiceBuddy https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377211 tubeTargeter https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377557 InstantWebsiteBundle https://jvz6.com/c/202927/368736 soronity https://jvz2.com/c/202927/337292 DFY Suite 3.0 Agency+ information https://jvz8.com/c/202927/291061 VideoRobot Enterprise https://jvz8.com/c/202927/327447 Klippyo Kreators https://jvz8.com/c/202927/324615 ChatterPal Commercial https://jvz8.com/c/202927/299907 WP GDPR Fix Elite Unltd Sites https://jvz8.com/c/202927/328172 EngagerMate https://jvz3.com/c/202927/342585 VidSnatcher Commercial https://jvz3.com/c/202927/292919 myMailIt https://jvz3.com/c/202927/320972 Storymate Luxury Edition https://jvz2.com/c/202927/320466 iTraffic X – Platinum Edition https://jvz2.com/c/202927/330783 Content Gorilla One-time https://jvz2.com/c/202927/301402 Push Button Traffic 3.0 – Brand New https://jvz2.com/c/202927/321987 SociCake Commercial https://jvz2.com/c/202927/289944 The Internet Marketing Newsletter PLR Monthly Membership https://jvz2.com/c/202927/297271 Designa Suite License https://jvz2.com/c/202927/310335 XFUNNELS FE Commercial Drag-n-Drop Page Editor https://jvz2.com/c/202927/291955 ShopABot https://jvz2.com/c/202927/312692 Inboxr https://jvz2.com/c/202927/343635 MediaCloudPro 2.0 – Agency Rights https://jvz2.com/c/202927/353558 MyTrafficJacker 2.0 Pro+ https://jvz2.com/c/202927/365061 AIWA Commercial https://jvz2.com/c/202927/357201 Toon Video Maker Premium https://jvz2.com/c/202927/351754 Steven Alvey’s Signature Series 3rd Installment https://jvz2.com/c/202927/344541 Fade To Black https://jvz2.com/c/202927/290487 Adsense Machine https://jvz2.com/c/202927/315596 Diddly Pay’s DLCM DFY Club https://jvz2.com/c/202927/355249 CourseReel Professional https://jvz2.com/c/202927/309649 SociJam System https://jvz2.com/c/202927/263380 360Apps Certification Masterclass https://jvz2.com/c/202927/359468 LocalAgencyBox https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377557 Instant Website Bundle https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377194 GMB Magic Content https://jvz2.com/c/202927/376962 PlayerNeos VR