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Leadership, networking and teamwork contribute towards the development of your interpersonal skills. Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process.
Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated. Effective listening is a skill that underpins all positive human relationships, spend some time thinking about and developing your listening skills – they are the building blocks of success. See our pages: Employability Skills and Customer Service Skills for more examples of the importance of listening in the workplace. A greater number of friends and social networks, improved self-esteem and confidence, higher grades at school and in academic work and even better health and general well-being.
Studies have shown that, whereas speaking raises blood pressure, attentive listening can bring it down.
Hearing refers to the sounds that you hear, whereas listening requires more than that: it requires focus.
Adults spend an average of 70% of their time engaged in some sort of communication, of this an average of 45% is spent listening compared to 30% speaking, 16% reading and 9% writing. (Adler, R. Effective listening requires concentration and the use of your other senses - not just hearing the words spoken. Listening is not the same as hearing and in order to listen effectively you need to use more than just your ears. A good listener will listen not only to what is being said, but also to what is left unsaid or only partially said.
Effective listening involves observing body language and noticing inconsistencies between verbal and non-verbal messages. Maintain eye contact but don’t stare – show you are listening and understanding what is being said.
Be patient and let the speaker continue in their own time, sometimes it takes time to formulate what to say and how to say it. Don't become irritated and don't let the person’s habits or mannerisms distract you from what the speaker is really saying. A good speaker will use both volume and tone to their advantage to keep an audience attentive; everybody will use pitch, tone and volume of voice in certain situations – let these help you to understand the emphasis of what is being said. Maybe one of the most difficult aspects of listening is the ability to link together pieces of information to reveal the ideas of others. With proper concentration, letting go of distractions, and focus this becomes easier. We don’t just listen with our ears but also with our eyes – watch and pick up the additional information being transmitted via non-verbal communication.
Learn more about the key communication skills you need to be a more effective communicator.
Our eBooks are ideal for anyone who wants to learn about or develop their interpersonal skills and are full of easy-to-follow, practical information.
Good communication, the ability to express yourself, listen really well, and ask powerful questions, will see you through any kind of difficulty in your career and your personal life.
You’ll also be able to strengthen your interpersonal relationships, professionally and personally, and that counts for a lot. I have a short article for recruiters, explaining the problem and how they can easily fix it.
Universities have to have a strong understanding of disability law because they are employers and education providers.
I excluded some job adverts from my analysis because there were problems with the person specification. More jobs demanded excellent or good communication skills (819 jobs, or 49%) than excellent or good interpersonal skills (434 jobs, or 26%).
Recruiters list essential criteria in job adverts so that they can discriminate between job applicants.
At one university, an administrative officer needs excellent written and oral communication skills, while a counsellor does not need good communication skills or good interpersonal skills. At another university, a shelving assistant in the library must have excellent interpersonal skills, but a teaching fellow only needs good interpersonal skills.
The shelving assistant will clearly use some interpersonal skills some of the time during their job. There is also a lot of variety between universities when demanding communication and interpersonal skills. The job advert says that they would like someone with the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people. There are a few studies that have measured people’s ratings of their own communication skills. The residents of Ballymun rated their written communication skills as less than good more often than the university applicants did.
We must use caution when comparing the self-ratings of university applicants and residents of Ballymun. Interacting interpersonally and communicating can involve a range of people, skills, methods, and processes. Not every job requires being able to communicate with all of these people, using all of these skills, in all of these situations, during all of these processes.
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills reported in 2012 on skills shortages and skills gaps in the UK.4 They found that communication skills are among the skills that are most often lacking in the UK labour force.
Skill-shortage vacancies are usually hard to fill because applicants lack job specific skills. Because communication skills are so important, I believe that recruiters need to think carefully about the communication skills that are necessary for a job. There is a serious risk for people with autism who are unemployed or under-employed that they will lose work-related skills.
Unemployment and low skills are significant issues for many homeless individuals, and are a risk factor in future homelessness. Government, employers, and educators need to address the issues of unemployment, loss of skills, and homelessness among people with autism. Scientists at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) argue that it is essential that society includes more people in the labour force, including people with autism.8 They note that participation is difficult for disabled people because of work barriers. Liz Sayce, the Chief Executive of Radar, reviewed disability employment support in 2011 for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). From my experience of reading articles online, most people who talk about getting people with autism into work seem to have higher functioning individuals in mind. Supported employment is becoming the new standard in helping people with moderate and severe learning disabilities into work. Stephen Beyer at the Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities (Cardiff University) looked at the effectiveness of a supported employment programme in North Lanarkshire (Scotland).13 He estimated that for every ?1 spent on this programme, the Government could save between 20p and 25p. The team at the University of Groningen reviewed research into supported employment and autism.8 They concluded that local authorities need to improve access to supported employment and improve the way it works. For those people with autism who can work but who need support, government, employers, and society should give the necessary support.
Perhaps the biggest barrier to work for people with autism is other people’s expectations.
Most people are comfortable with the idea of having a person with a learning disability move in next door. Employers recognise the benefits of including people with different backgrounds in their workforce. The Equality Act 2010 replaces several anti-discrimination laws in Great Britain (the Act has very limited application in Northern Ireland). The UK’s Office for Disability Issues (ODI) gives guidance on how the Equality Act 2010 defines disability. This has a substantial adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day communication.
Indirect discrimination is when a person appears to be treating everyone equally, but they are actually treating certain people less favourably than everyone else.
Sometimes it is lawful for a recruiter to indirectly discriminate against disabled job applicants.


When recruiters assess applicants, they have to use the criteria they specified in the job advert. A proportionate method is a method that the recruiter uses that is both appropriate and necessary. Cedric also gave me guidance on corpus analysis, and supported me through the long process of putting my thoughts into words. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. For example, if someone tells you that they are happy with their life but through gritted teeth or with tears filling their eyes, you should consider that the verbal and non-verbal messages are in conflict, they maybe don't mean what they say. Avoid unnecessary interruptions.  These behaviours disrupt the listening process and send messages to the speaker that you are bored or distracted. In a typical two-day session, we explore topics such as: transitioning into management, understanding personality styles, managing performance, and motivating people. Poor communication is cited as a one the biggest mistakes companies make in managing its people. There are many diagnostic labels for people on the autism spectrum including childhood autism, atypical autism, and Asperger syndrome. They know that they should avoid discriminating against people with autism in their job adverts.
I excluded jobs containing these problems because they would have been difficult to include in the analysis. If recruiters demand attributes that are not essential to the job, they will exclude people that can do the job.
And yet, a university counsellor needs to be able to communicate with people in severe distress. However, the teaching fellow would probably need to be able to do all of the things that the shelving assistant needs to do in terms of using interpersonal skills (e.g. There are many more examples I could give, including numerous universities that are inconsistent even when advertising jobs with identical job titles. This phrase creates the impression that there is a set of skills that people can use for both communicating and interacting interpersonally. Communication skills, interpersonal skills, and interpersonal communication are all very recent ideas. 9 out of 10 people seem to think that their communication skills are good or better than good. But, a report published in 2008 by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) gives some idea.2 HECSU asked people applying to universities in the UK how they would rate their own communication skills.
At the time of the survey, this area had high unemployment, low educational achievement, poor health, and high rates of crime. They might have all of the necessary communication skills for the job, and they might be good enough at using those skills, but they have no idea that this is the case. There might be specific communication skills that are necessary, but these will be limited. I believe that recruiters should continue demanding communication skills in their job adverts (but do it appropriately).
However, more than a third of these jobs are difficult to fill because applicants lack communication skills. The most common result of this lack of skills is that other employees have a greater workload. If the job requires specific skills, then the recruiter needs to be specific about those skills in the job advert. According to Crisis (the UK national charity for single homeless people), being out of work is a significant cause of homelessness.9 Without a job you can lose your home. The National Autistic Society (NAS) Cymru surveyed people in Wales with autism and their families in 2010.
If our society is going to build the labour force that it needs, it will have to remove these barriers. But, there is evidence that giving people with autism the support they need would pay for itself.
People seem to forget about those individuals with autism who also have learning disabilities.
Rather than segregate people into sheltered employment, supported employment helps them get mainstream jobs. This is an encouraging finding, but would this work for people with severe learning disabilities and autism?
Nevertheless, the research does suggest that people with autism do better in supported employment than in sheltered employment. It is important to remember that some individuals live successful independent lives with little or no support.
According to research by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), closing the employment rate gap between disabled and non-disabled people would boost economic growth by ?13 billion. Interacting with different people allows us to become comfortable and confident around them.
This can happen if the recruiter recognises that the applicant with autism has some communication difficulties.
However, 55% of employers do not believe that there are any barriers to inclusion.15 This suggests that many employers will be unaware of the barriers to work that people with autism experience. Rather than creating inclusive cultures to drive effective working, there’s an emphasis on meeting the demands of regulation. It makes more sense to see inclusion as a business opportunity, as a way to improve the business, rather than as a need to be politically correct. Excluding people with autism from jobs means that employers are missing the opportunity to harness these skills for their business.
I have tried to make this section as accurate as possible, but I will not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.
I believe that this discrimination might be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 (England, Scotland, Wales). He finds it hard to understand non-verbal communications such as facial expressions, and non-factual communication such as jokes. The ODI’s guidance suggests that the majority of people with autism (if not all) would be protected by the Equality Act 2010. According to the Equality Act 2010, treating someone less favourably because of their disability is discrimination. It is not possible for a recruiter to know whether there will be any potential job applicants with autism or not.
Applying for Higher Education – the Diversity of Career Choices, Plans and Expectations. Public Perceptions of Disabled People: Evidence from the British Social Attitudes Survey 2009. Equality Act 2010: Guidance on matters to be taken into account in determining questions relating to the definition of disability.
At the end of Day 2, participants feel overwhelmed by it all and they don’t know where to begin. It is the heart of morale problems and it is also the reason behind half of all unsuccessful projects. We may sign up for a communication course in college or through a professional development program, but by then we’ve developed a long habit of miscommunicating. I’ll give you some strategies and techniques for effective communication in the next few posts, so stay tuned. People with autism can have profound and multiple learning disabilities, have above average intelligence, or be somewhere between those extremes. Because of difficulties with communication, people with autism can be excluded from these jobs. I also explained above why universities will probably be better than other employers at not making these demands.
This is unfair on the barred individual, and bad for business (they might exclude the best person).


This suggests that recruiters think that communication skills contain interpersonal skills. In fact, most people appear to believe that their communication skills are better than good.
Approximately 10% of applicants rated their written and spoken communication skills as less than good (i.e.
You might expect the residents of such a disadvantaged community to have weaker communication skills than people who apply to study at university.
However, it does seem that the vast majority of people believe that their communication skills are good or better than good. If they do not list the necessary communication skills, applicants will not know whether you have them or not. 62% of elementary jobs that are hard to fill are hard to fill because applicants lack oral communication skills.
Perhaps educators and trainers should give more attention to improving communication skills. She questions whether might it be more effective to spend more on disability employment support in order to help more disabled people into work, thereby reducing the need for out-of-work benefits? The research team at the University of Groningen found that people with autism with lower IQs are much less likely to be employed.8 Those that do have a job are usually in sheltered employment. So, removing barriers to work for people with autism is not only affordable (it pays for itself) but everyone in society benefits financially. According to a 2011 report by the Office for Disability Issues (ODI), 52% of people said that they would be very or fairly comfortable interacting with a boss with a learning disability.14 This is far lower than the percentage of people who would be comfortable interacting with a boss with a physical disability (92%) or a sensory impairment (89%). Employers will need to learn that barriers do exist if they are going to employ more people with autism. Thus diversity becomes an addon, an HR process, rather than inclusiveness becoming a way of making business better. Businesses should employ people with autism because of what we can add to their business, not because it is a bureaucratic or politically correct requirement. This includes making sure that the attributes they demand in job adverts do not exclude disabled people without good reason. A job applicant with autism might have all the necessary communication skills to do the job. The Equality Act 2010 is still young and we do not know yet how the courts will interpret it. Predictors for Work Participation in Individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review. We can be highly skilled or underskilled, highly qualified or have no qualifications, live independent lives or need 24-hour care, and everything in between. Later on in this article, I explain why this is a problem for employers, as well as for people with autism, and for society in general. Then, I corrected any errors in the data (mainly spelling errors) so that I could analyse it reliably. For people with autism, this means that these types of demands are a substantial barrier to getting a job. There is no reason to believe that an administrative officer needs excellent communication skills, but a counsellor does not. Furthermore, the teaching fellow would use a broader set of interpersonal skills with a wider range of people in more types of settings. This would imply that recruiters think that interpersonal skills contain communication skills. Perhaps the recruiters who wrote these job adverts think that communication skills and interpersonal skills can be the same thing. Before the Second World War, recruiters did not ask for communication skills or interpersonal skills.
There is only one study that I could find that did not look specifically at an academic or professional population.
Not that this matters to the mass of people who believe that their communication skills are better than good. This recruiter could receive an application from someone with autism who has all the necessary communication skills. For professionals, written communication skills are the 2nd most common set of skills that are lacking. There is clearly a need to improve the oral communication skills of people who will apply for elementary jobs. The researchers concluded that there is too much emphasis placed on the weaknesses of people with autism, leading to low expectations. He is given verbal instructions during office banter with his manager, but his ability to understand the instruction is impaired because he is unable to isolate the instruction from the social conversation. If the job requires communication skills the recruiter will be able to show that they are trying to meet that need.
They have to be able to show that there is no reasonable alternative to making this demand. Once case law has developed on discrimination against disabled people we will have a clearer idea of what is lawful. It felt awkward to place your hands on the instrument and the sound you produced was pretty awful, right?
However, a characteristic that all people with autism have in common is difficulty communicating.
However, they will have other difficulties, such as difficulty interpreting facial expressions, difficulty recognising sarcasm, or not knowing when it is their turn to speak.
Finally, I separated the essential criteria (the criteria that applicants have to meet) from the desirable criteria (the ones applicants do not have to meet). Recruiters can check the list to see whether the applicant has given enough evidence that they can do the job.
Meanwhile, at another university, a job advert for a senior counsellor says that they need good communication, interpersonal and presentation skills. Demanding that the shelving assistant has better interpersonal skills shows how inconsistent recruiters at the same university can be. The rest rated these communication skills as good (approximately 30%) or better than good (approximately 60%). But, the recruiter could recognise that this applicant has some communication difficulties and then reject them. Similarly, many people in professional roles need training in written communication skills. Employers and society must not use low expectations as an excuse to ignore lower functioning people with autism. With practice, though, you became more comfortable with the instrument and your noise started to sound like music. So, through this process, I created a data set filled with all of the criteria that the job applicants had to meet. By only looking at criteria listed in the person specification, I missed other relevant results. I made a list of the words that appear more often in the person specifications than you they do in regular documents. Because all applicants have to meet the same demands, everyone is treated equally and fairly.
This suggests that communication and interpersonal skills are somehow different but related. We have a higher rate of mental health problems and homelessness than people without autism.
The same holds true for the first time you learned how to ride a bicycle, play a sport, or work at a craft.



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