4.1 - Communication Skills

Exam Board:

OCR

Specification:

2016 - Unit 1 

Communication skills are vital for anybody working within the IT industry. Employees will need to communicate with other members of their team and with those who encounter issues with their computer systems.

Interpersonal Skills

Communication is not just through speaking to another person, behaviour is also important.

 

Employees should sit up straight in their chairs to show interest and eye contact should be maintained when speaking to another person or listening in a meeting.

 

It is important to speak clearly so that others can understand what you are trying to say.

Verbal Communication

Employees should know when to use informal and formal language appropriately.

 

For example, formal language should be used in meetings as it is a work environment.

Employees should think carefully about when to use technical terms. Technical terminology should be used when discussing issues with technicians but simplified explanations should be given to customers who may be inexperienced with their systems.

Questioning Techniques

Questioning is used to uncover problems in order to solve them.

 

Closed questions will be direct and prompt a short, often one-word answer, such as "How many times have you tried to log in?".

Open questions don't have an obvious answer and may elicit an opinion, such as "Why are you using Internet Explorer instead of Google Chrome?".

Avoid leading questions - where you expect a certain response from the answerer, such as "Is the system always this slow?"

Written Communication

Again this form of communication can be formal - such as a letter to apply for a job - or informal - like sending a text or instant message to a team member. 

There are a number of considerations to take before deciding whether communication should be formal or informal. For example, if the communication is between peers or external agencies (such as other companies or customers), any policies the organisation has in place and whether the communication will be legally recorded (such as saving all email correspondence).

Barriers to Communication

There are several reasons why a messages between people may be received incorrectly.

For example noise, language (not necessarily different languages but using technical terms) and physical barriers (i.e. learning difficulties or disabilities such as deafness).

 

Another barrier is distraction - an email may be delayed because an employee is distracted by social media or other co-workers. Phones should also be turned off or to silent during meetings.

Questo's Questions

4.1 - Communication Skills:

 

1. Describe 3 interpersonal actions that an employee should follow when speaking or listening to other team members. [3]

 

2. Explain when an employee should use technical terms and when they should simplify their explanations[4]

3. Describe the difference between closed, open and leading questions, giving an example of each. [6]

4. Describe 3 things that should be considered when deciding between formal or informal written communication. [3]

5. Describe 3 different barriers to successful communication. [3]

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