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Oral interpersonal communication tasks engage students for the purpose of exchanging information and ideas, meeting one’s needs, and expressing and supporting opinions through speaking and listening or signing with others.

Oral interpersonal communication tasks engage students for the purpose of exchanging information and ideas, meeting one’s needs, and expressing and supporting opinions through speaking and listening or signing with others. The scope of these tasks will vary according to the level of students’ skills as activities may alternate between performance and proficiency-based tasks.

  • In interpersonal communication, the learner both creates and conveys meaning through verbal and nonverbal communication while understanding and being understood by others.
  • Well-structured interpersonal communication tasks engage learners cognitively and encourage linguistic risk-taking.
  • Performance-based tasks may elicit a response from students at a higher level of proficiency than proficiency-based tasks due to the nature of rehearsed questions and responses as opposed to unique and personal, organically-produced language.

Oral communication is at the heart of language learning. It is the vehicle through which learners build relationships and develop intercultural competence. Through oral interpersonal communication tasks, learners engage with language in a low-stakes environment in preparation for real-life interactions. These tasks increase learners’ ability to interact socially in any language. Oral interpersonal communication tasks engage learners in rigorous, authentic and meaningful scenarios that allow students to connect their personal experiences to those of the target culture.

As part of the backward design process, the teacher begins by identifying proficiency goals and/or the intended learning outcomes. Oral communication tasks are then created at the students’ current proficiency levels and are designed specifically to promote growth over time toward the next proficiency level. The teacher should design a variety of tasks including pair, small group and whole class tasks that simulate authentic interactions and incorporate elements of language and culture. These tasks:

  • rely on natural language functions, such as requesting information or expressing preferences
  • emphasize meaning-making and focus less on accuracy
  • are rooted in the intended proficiency outcomes of the learners
  • align with learners’ desires to communicate in social and professional contexts
  • address gestures and other nonverbal nuances of language that combine with oral communication to convey meaning
  • occur throughout as well as at the end of any thematic unit
  • are used for more open-ended assessment that is evaluated holistically through the lens of proficiency based on comprehension (what the learner understands) and comprehensibility (how well the learner is understood).

Oral interpersonal communication tasks promote personalized learning as the teacher relates tasks directly to the students’ interests as well as current and prior experiences to make language learning more meaningful and authentic.

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ACTFL is committed to providing vision, leadership, and support for quality teaching and learning to prepare the next generation of global citizens.


We believe that all students should learn or maintain at least one world language in addition to English. Therefore, language learning should be a central part of any curriculum.


Contemporary definitions of literacy include more than basic reading, writing, listening, and speaking, adding the purposeful uses of these skills in today’s media- and information-rich environment.

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In order for learners to achieve the highest level of proficiency possible, sequential study over extended periods of time is necessary.

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The use of target language refers to all that learners say, read, hear, write, and view – production and reception of language on the part of learners, educators, and materials.

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Interactive reading and listening comprehension tasks should be designed and carried out using authentic cultural texts of various kinds with appropriate scaffolding and follow-up tasks that promote interpretation.

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The role of feedback for learners is critical in advancing language proficiency. Feedback should be provided in multiple forms including formative, summative and self-assessment.

Further Reading

Abbott, M., & Swanson, P. (2016). Building Your Core - Effective Practices for Language Learners and Educators. Download the Presentation

Glisan, E. (2016). Core Practices for Effective Language Learning [Webinars]. Retrieved from https://www.pathlms.com/actfl/courses/2074

Shrum, J. L., & Glisan, E. W. (2015). Teacher’s handbook, contextualized language instruction (5th ed.). Boston, USA: Heinle, Cengage Learning .

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Media, Tasks, and Communication Processes: A Theory of Media Synchronicity

A. Dennis , Robert M. Fuller , J. Valacich

Sep 1, 2008

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Key Takeaway : Media synchronicity theory suggests that using a variety of media, including symbol sets, parallelism, transmission velocity, rehearsability, and reprocessability, improves communication performance in both conveyance and convergence processes.

This paper expands, refines, and explicates media synchronicity theory, originally proposed in a conference proceeding in 1999 (Dennis and Valacich 1999). Media synchronicity theory (MST) focuses on the ability of media to support synchronicity, a shared pattern of coordinated behavior among individuals as they work together. We expand on the original propositions of MST to argue that communication is composed of two primary processes: conveyance and convergence. The familiarity of individuals with the tasks they are performing and with their coworkers will also affect the relative amounts of these two processes. Media synchronicity theory proposes that for conveyance processes, use of media supporting lower synchronicity should result in better communication performance. For convergence processes, use of media supporting higher synchronicity should result in better communication performance. We identify five capabilities of media (symbol sets, parallelism, transmission velocity, rehearsability, and reprocessability) that influence the development of synchronicity and thus the successful performance of conveyance and convergence communication processes. The successful completion of most tasks involving more than one individual requires both conveyance and convergence processes, thus communication performance will be improved when individuals use a variety of media to perform a task, rather than just one medium.

Psychology: Research and Review

  • Open access
  • Published: 04 January 2022

Language skills differences between adults without formal education and low formal education

  • Ariane Pereira   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-5262-4187 1 &
  • Karin Zazo Ortiz   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0796-3948 1  

Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica volume  35 , Article number:  4 ( 2022 ) Cite this article

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The influence of education on cognition has been extensively researched, particularly in countries with high levels of illiteracy. However, the impact of low education in all cognitive functions appears to differ. Regarding to language, the effects of education on many linguistic tasks—supported by different processing—remain unclear. The primary objective of this study was to determine whether oral language task performance differs among individuals with no formal and low-educated subjects, as measured by the Brazilian Montreal-Toulouse Language Assessment Battery (MTL-BR). This is the only language battery available for use in Brazil, but lacks normative data for illiterate individuals. The secondary objective was to gather data for use as clinical parameters in assessing persons with aphasia (PWA) not exposed to a formal education.

A total of 30 healthy illiterate individuals aged 34–60 years were assessed. All participants underwent the MTL-BR Battery, excluding its written communication tasks. The data obtained in the present study were compared against results of a previous investigation of individuals with 1–4 years of education evaluated using the same MTL-BR instrument.

Statistically significant differences in performance were found between non-formal education and the low-educated (2–4 years) groups on the tasks Auditory Comprehension, Repetition, Orthographic/Phonological Fluency, Number dictation, Reading of numbers and also on simple numerical calculations.

The study results showed that individuals with no formal education/illiterate had worse performance than low-education individuals on some of the language tasks of the MTL-Br Battery, suggesting that each year of education impacts cognitive-language performance. Also, data were obtained which can serve as a guide for PWA not exposed to a formal education.


Illiteracy is a global problem given that many countries, particularly developing nations, still have high rates of illiteracy. According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics [IBGE] ( n.d. ), in 2015, the illiteracy rate in Brazil among individuals aged ≥ 15 years was 8%. Most of people that are illiterate have never been exposed to a formal education. Considering the frequency of illiteracy in the world, researches have studied the influence of lack of schooling on cognitive functions (Colaço et al., 2010 ; Noronha et al., 2018 ; Teruya et al., 2009 ).

With regard to language, many previous studies (Ortiz et al., 2006 ; Ortiz & Costa, 2011 ; Radanovic et al., 2004 ) involving language assessment have confirmed that education influences linguistic performance. Education not only influences written tasks (Radanovic et al., 2004 ; Soares & Ortiz, 2009 ) and more complex tasks (Zanichelli et al., 2020 ) as might be expected, but also impacts oral-based tasks (Mansur et al., 2005 ), such as comprehension of complex sentences (Ortiz & Costa, 2011 ; Ortiz et al., 2006 ), repetition of pseudo-words and phrases (Ortiz et al., 2006 ) and verbal fluency (Meguro et al., 2001 ).

A major language disorder that can affect adults with brain damage is aphasia. Stroke is the main cause of aphasia today (Dickey et al., 2010 ; National Aphasia Association, n.d. ). Aphasia is present in 21–38% of acute stroke patients and is associated with high short- and long-term morbidity, mortality, and expenditure (Berthier, 2005 ). Unfortunately, although mortality rates for stroke have decreased, the absolute number of people who have stroke annually is increasing, with most of the burden in low- and middle-income countries (Krishnamurthi et al., 2013 ), such as Brazil.

In view of the consensus that education impacts cognitive functions, it is important that language assessment be based on reliable parameters for this group. It is also relevant given the formal nature of the tests applied, which may promote anxiety over the novel experience of testing. Besides, low education can simulate or overshadow the effects of neurological damage (Beausoleil, Fortin, Le Blanc, and Joanette, 2003 ) leading to false positive results (Akashi & Ortiz, 2018 ; Nunes et al., 2009 ).

Regarding the assessment of persons with aphasia (PWA), formal assessment is especially important for the longitudinal follow-up and for the objective control of the gains obtained with rehabilitation. In Brazil, one validated is the MTL -BR Battery. The normative data presented, however, have been obtained from adults with at least 5 years of formal education. More recently, a pilot study (Akashi & Ortiz, 2018 ) applying the MTL-BR revealed differences in performance between subjects with 5–8 years’ education and 2–4 years of formal education. The disparities found were so marked that, on some linguistic tasks, individuals in the less education group were diagnosed with language disorders. This finding suggests that, every year of formal education, particularly in the early stages of learning, can modify and impact cognitive performance. If it is specifically true, it is expected that people no formal education perform even worse on the MT-BR tasks. Besides, by the other hand, would be helpful to investigate which tasks low-educated or individuals with no formal education could perform as well as high-educated individuals. Then, based on the hypothesis that each year of education contributes to cognitive development, the primary objective of the present study was to compare the performance of individuals with no formal education versus low-educated subjects on the language subtests from the MTL-BR Battery to determine the effect of formal education on language. If a clinical difference is found (as expected), the data obtained from this study can be observed and considered when PWA with no previous formal education are exposed to the test and also could highlight specific tasks that probably not suffer the interference from a formal education.

The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (permit no. CEP0036/2018) and conducted at the Neuropsycholinguistics Laboratory of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo. All participants first signed the informed consent form, devised according to the recommendations of the National Health Council in compliance with Resolution no. 466/12, thereby agreeing to take part in the study on a voluntary basis. The form was read out aloud in full to each participant by a witness together with the researcher. The witness signed all pages of the form, which were also signed, initialed or marked by finger print by the participants.


Thirty adults with no formal education and illiterate were assessed. The participants were students enrolled to join the Youth and Adult Education Program (Educação de Jovens e Adultos-EJA). This is a program to adult literacy. Adults that were enrolled but had not yet started the literacy program were invited to participate in the study. Then, the data collected in the study were compared against those of a previous study (permit no. CEP 1219/2017) (Akashi & Ortiz, 2018 ) with 30 individuals with education ranged from 2 to 4 years.

Participants from both studies were selected based on the following inclusion criteria: age 18–60 years and normal performance on the cognitive screening tests. Study exclusion criteria for both groups were history of previous or current language impairments, diagnosis or history of visual or auditory deficits which could prevent execution of the test, history of current or previous psychiatric or neurological disorders, and use of any legal or illegal psychotropic drugs (except atypical neuroleptics) or alcohol abuse.

The information about the inclusion criteria was collected by applying the Questionnaire on Health Conditions and Sociocultural Aspects.

The Minimental State Examination (MMSE) was used as a screening tool (Folstein, Folstein, and Mchugh, 1975 ). We adopted a Portuguese-translated version, with cut-off scores adapted to the subjects’ educational levels (Brucki et al., 2003 ): illiterate = 20; elementary (1 to 4 years of education) = 25; 5 to 8 years of education = 26.5; 9 to 11 years of education. This test was chosen because it was considered a good procedure for cognitive screening even with low education levels (Castro-Costa et al., 2009 ). Those individuals whose performance was normal on the cognitive screening test were submitted to the Language Assessment Battery (MTL-BR). The battery was applied according to the guidelines described in the instrument (Parente et al., 2016 ). Given that subjects to be tested had no formal education, the tasks assessing written communication (written comprehension, copying, written dictation, reading aloud, written naming, written narrative discourse, and written text comprehension) of the MTL-BR Battery were excluded. All of the volunteers were assessed individually by the same examiner in a quiet room, with assessments taking an average of 1 h to complete. All procedures were done at the same day. Only the MTL-BR tasks outlined below were performed:

Directed interview: includes 13 open-ended questions to analyze speech and auditory comprehension. The total score is 26 points: 13 items with maximum score of two points each.

Automatic speech: assesses the ability to evoke automatisms such as numbers, days of the week and the birthday song. Total score ranges from 0 to 6 points.

Auditory comprehension: measures the ability to identify images that represent words and phrases from auditory input. The task consists of a total of 19 items, five words (boards with six stimuli comprising one target and five distracters: one phonological, one semantic, one visual and two neutral) and 14 sentences .The maximum score is five points for words and 14 points for phrases, with one point for each correct answer.

Oral narrative task: Evaluates the ability to tell a story from visual inputs. The task consists of describing a picture depicting a bank robbery. The narrative was analyzed for the number of words produced.

Repetition: The task consists of 11 words (8 words and 3 non-words) and three sentences. The maximum scores are 11 and 22 points for words and phrases respectively, with one point for each word produced correctly, yielding a maximum score of a 33 points.

Semantic verbal fluency: Evaluates spontaneous production of words in the category “animals” within a time period of 90 s. Each word correctly selected from this class is equivalent to one point, ignoring repetitions, morphological derivatives of the same word, and other words that do not match the requested category.

Non-verbal praxis: assesses the ability to produce isolated gestures and movement sequences involving the face and tongue, requested by the evaluator through verbal instructions. The task consists of a total of 6 items with maximum scores of 4 points each, giving a maximum total of 24 points.

Naming: measures the ability to identify and name pictures that refer to nouns and verbs, from a visual input. Fifteen pictures are presented (12 nouns and three actions), placed on individual boards. The maximum score is 30 points, comprising 15 items with a maximum score of two points each. The criteria for scoring is incorrect answer: zero; item semantic related or description: 1 point; and correct answer: 2 points.

Object manipulation: Assesses the ability to understand simple and complex commands. The individual is instructed to perform six commands given by the clinician, using physical objects (key, comb, cup, pen, and paper). The complexity of orders increases gradually. The maximum score is 16 points. One point is given to each part of the command that is properly performed by the individual.

Phonological verbal fluency: evaluates spontaneous production of words that start with the letter M within a time period of 90 s. For all participants, when it was a necessary, it was also given a sound/phoneme clue /m/. Each correct word equals one point, ignoring repetitions, morphological derivatives of the same word and proper names.

Body part recognition and left-right orientation: assesses the individual's ability to identify parts of the body and their laterality. The maximum score is eight points, of which four points are given for each body part (limbs) and the other four are given for the right-left orientation.

Oral text comprehension: assesses the ability to understand auditory input from a text read by the clinician. The individual must answer six questions orally after listening to the text (three open-ended and three closed-ended questions). The maximum score is nine points: a maximum of two points for each of the three open-ended questions (for instance, what was stolen?) and one point for each of the closed-ended questions (Did the thief want to kidnap the baby?).

Number dictation: Assesses the ability to understand the auditory stimulus and write down the corresponding number in Arabic form. The task consists of six numbers. Each number written correctly gets one point, with a maximum score of six points.

Reading of numbers: assesses the ability to recognize Arabic numerical and visual stimuli and reproduce them orally. The maximum score is six points: one point for each number read correctly.

Calculation: evaluates the ability to perform the numerical operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as well as mental simple mathematical problem. The maximum score is 6 points.

The tasks dictation of Arabic number, reading of Arabic numbers and calculation were remain in this study because a previous study (De Luccia & Ortiz, 2009 ) observed that some mathematic tasks can performed by individuals with low education probably because number processing are very common in daily activities. As stimulus from MTL-BR vary in complexity (i.e., 8 and 6024) and also have simple calculus (for instance 5 + 2), in this study, we wanted to investigate how individuals with no formal education could perform these tasks.

Verbal fluency tasks and oral narrative discourse tasks were scored according to number of words produced, whereas the remaining tasks were scored according to number of correct answers.

Statistical analysis

The data obtained were submitted to statistical treatment. Mean, median, standard-deviations, maximum, and minimum limits were established to serve as reference parameters for all groups on the tasks evaluated.

Analysis of the comparison of the study groups (low-educated versus non formal education) for performance on the tasks from the MTL-BR battery, was carried out using multivariate covariance analysis (MANCOVA) using Pillai’s multivariate screening test. First, we noted that the age of the non-formal education group (mean = 49.13 years, SD = 7.87 years) was significantly older than the low-educated group (mean = 44.30 years, SD = 8.75 years). Then, age was incorporated as a covariable in the general linear model constructed for this analysis to control for its effect, given that mean age of the two groups differed significantly (Student’s t test, p = 0.028).

A statistically significant difference was also found between the groups on the MTL-BR tasks performed ( p < 0.001)—a difference which persisted after controlling for the effect of age ( p < 0.001). To investigate which tasks differed for performance between the groups, univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was carried out for each variable, with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. Age was again incorporated into the general linear model built for this set of analyses to control for the effect of the variable, given the mean age of the groups differed significantly.

The value for statistical significance adopted was 5% ( p = 0.05).

The performance of healthy low-educated individuals was compared with that of healthy individuals with no formal education on the tasks from the MTL-BR battery. Statistically significant differences were found between the groups on some MTL-BR subtests, where low-educated individuals had better performance than individuals with no formal education. The differences in performance between the two groups are shown in Table 1 . They were auditory comprehension, oral narrative discourse, repetition, phonological/orthographic verbal fluency, number dictation, reading of numbers, and numerical calculation.

Table 2 shows the performance from the both groups of individuals on tasks that do not seem to suffer the interference of education. Mean, SD , median, minimum, and maximum values obtained in both groups are shown.

The results of the present study revealed worse performance by individuals with no formal education than low-educated subjects on several oral language tasks from the MTL-BR Battery. This study corroborated the findings of previous reports in the literature (Radanovic, Mansur, and Scaff, 2004; Soares & Ortiz, 2009 ) showing that education influences the performance of healthy individuals on language tasks, namely: oral comprehension, oral narrative discourse, word repetition, phonological/orthographic verbal fluency, number dictation, number reading, and written numerical calculations (Table 1 ). Individuals with no formal education had worse performance than low-educated subjects.

In a previous study, Akashi and Ortiz ( 2018 ) investigated the influence of low education on the language tasks assessed by the MTL-BR Battery and highlighted the importance of developing more studies with larger populations, including more individuals with 1 and 2 years of formal education and with no formal education, since there are still no normative data available for these populations for the MTL-BR Battery use. Their results lend support to the hypothesis that even a few years of education affects language performance and hence impacts scores on the different MTL-BR subtests. In this study, statistically significant differences in performance by low-educated individuals relative to individuals with no formal education were observed and a minimum level of education appears to change cognitive performance. These findings will be discussed below.

There was a difference between the performance of NFE and LE groups in the auditory comprehension subtest. This task measures the ability to identify images that represent words and phrases from auditory input. However, the qualitative analysis showed better performance on oral comprehension of words than of sentences for both groups, with several possible explanations for this disparity. Pictures depicting actions require a larger number of visual inferences than single items, while the core components for understanding an image are inherently more detailed, which in turn requires correct visual perception of both agent and object (Mansur et al., 2005 ). In addition, greater demand is placed on working memory to process sentences with non-canonic structure, such as those with passive structures and center-embedded clauses, since the phrase must be first stored, then organized and syntactically decoded, for final comprehension of the information and selection of the correct drawing (Eom & Sung, 2016 ; Ortiz & Bertolucci, 2005 ). Previous studies have found differences in oral comprehension of sentences when groups with 1–4 years of formal education and 5–8 years of formal education were compared (Akashi & Ortiz, 2018 ) and even in comparison of 5–8 years of education to 8–12 years of education (Pagliarin et al., 2014 ) and, in this case, it can also be influenced by reading and writing habits (Pagliarin et al., 2015 ). Finally, the oral comprehension of text requires comprehension, retention and retrieval of the information presented in the text, recruiting working memory and components of executive functions. However, working memory and metacognitive operations are mediated and boosted by formal education (Ardila, Rosselli, and Rosas, 1989 ; Jou & Sperb, 2006 ), possibly explaining the lower performance by individuals with no formal education compared to low-educated individuals on this task.

Regarding to the oral language tasks investigated in this study, the participants presented low performance on oral narrative discourse task. The narrative comprises a description of a series of events and actions. The manner in which individuals explain the actions of the characters resembles the way in which they construe actions of people in everyday life. Therefore, for this process to function effectively, inferences must be created (Bower & Morrow, 1990 ). These inferences can be explained as mental representation formed through interaction between explicit linguistic information and world knowledge held by the individual (Alonso, 2004 ; Zanichelli, Fonseca, and Ortiz, 2020). These inferences aid the construction and comprehension of discourse (Alonso, 2004 ) and depend on the world knowledge held by the individual and might explain why, during this test, the discourse produced tended to be based on the individual´s personal experiences of the world/everyday life when the meaning of the image could not be grasped, resulting in stories unrelated to the theme presented. The individuals may have encountered difficulty understanding the context of the target situation and/or problems accessing their scripts (a bank robbery—in the case of the MTL-BR) on world knowledge or use them properly to make pragmatic judgments correctly (Hirst, LeDoux, and Stein, 1984 ). It is likely that, due to a break down in the inferential process, the individuals produced descriptive discourse. The failed integration of the elements present in the stimulus must have led the subjects to describe each object in the drawing in detail, without correlating them to form a story. The main components of a target figure are directly related to the generating of inferences (Ribeiro & Radanovic, 2014 ). Thus, if the individuals had fewer information units regarding the scene from the outset, they likely made fewer visual inferences, explaining the poorer narrative discourse produced. In fact, successful discourse requires the combination of information units, as propositions, in a coherent way to convey a significant message (Wright, 2011 ).

On the repetition task, the individuals with no formal education had major difficulty and presented lexicalization errors, suggesting the use of the lexical route when the phonological route was needed. The phonological route starts, naturally, by a phonological analysis of the auditory input. A phonological input buffer permits the storage of phonological information (segmented and correctly sequenced) for a short period (Reis & Castro-Caldas, 1997 ). The repetition of non-words demands comparisons or the detection of the specific phonemic characteristics of words. It seems that it is precisely this analysis that is problematic in illiterate individuals, who demonstrate difficulties in certain tasks that required phonological awareness (Reis & Castro-Caldas, 1997 ). In fact, the MTL-BR Battery has pseudo-words that depends on the phonological route responsible for phonemic coding typically underdeveloped in illiterate or low-educated subjects (Petersson, Reis, Askelöf, Castro-Caldas, and Ingvar, 2000 ).

The individuals with no formal education also had worse results on Arabic number dictation and Arabic number reading, as well as on mental and written mathematics calculations. First, the option to investigate the performance of individuals with no formal education on these tasks is because numbers are present and mathematical calculation exists in many everyday activities. Calculation ability under normal circumstances requires not only the comprehension of numerical concepts, but also that of conceptual abilities and other cognitive skills, so it is impossible predict the exact impact of daily activities on number learning and processing. The difficulties on Arabic number reading and Arabic number dictation were more marked for numbers containing hundreds and thousands. These findings corroborate previously results (De Luccia & Ortiz, 2009 ) showing that low education impacted performance on some mathematics tasks, such as orthographic transcoding of numbers. On mental mathematical calculations, the subjects had no problems for addition or subtraction, but all encountered difficulties with multiplication and division. This is particularly true for carrying out multiplications, which need knowledge of the times table, the most commonly used approach for teaching multiplication in Brazil. It is worth mentioning that individuals with no formal education performed mental calculation as well as with low-educated individuals (Table 2 ). This pattern probably occurred because simple addition and subtraction are more commonly used in everyday situations than other operations requiring more formal learning. This finding is important in as far as it supports the notion that, although analyzing the effect of education on individual performance during neuropsychological tests is paramount, the influence of social environment should also be investigated. This environment dictates whether the individual received stimuli to develop certain abilities or otherwise, further contributing to cognitive performance. For written mathematical calculations, individuals with no formal education were unable to solve, irrespective of mathematical operation involved (addition, subtraction, division, or multiplication), possibly because at this part of the task, the mathematical operations are more complex and then, probably more dependent of learning obtained through a formal education. Indeed, level of familiarity with carrying out arithmetic increases with years of formal education (De Luccia & Ortiz, 2009 ).

On the semantic verbal fluency task, participants had difficulty producing words from the animal’s category and, on numerous occasions, participants were in doubt over whether a given word belonged to the category. This difficulty might be explained by the fact that formal education facilitates the organizing of semantic subgroups and categories (Ratcliff, Ganguli, Chandra, Sharma, Belle, Seaberg, and Pandav, 1998 ). Nevertheless, no statistically significant difference between no formal education and low-educated groups was evident. Considering this task, comparing the data from this study with data from healthy individuals with 5–8 years of education, differences were found and they are possibly owing to sociocultural influence and learning through lifespan. Animals are very familiar category. As outlined earlier, although education is a determinant of cognitive performance, it is not the only variable to consider. The role of stimulation and probable influence of the sociocultural environment on cognitive development should also be taken into account. These aspects, however, are difficult to measure objectively.

For phonological verbal fluency, the subjects exhibited great difficulty producing words, most likely explained by the connection between development of phonological abilities and formal education. Most studies investigating the impact of literacy on oral language processing have shown that literacy provides phonological awareness skills in the processing of oral language and the ability to segment speech into phonemic units is dependent on literacy (Tsegaye, De Bleser, and Iribarren, 2011 ; Ratcliff, Ganguli, Chandra, Sharma, Belle, Seaberg, and Pandav, 1998 ). Our results suggest the existence of differences in phonological processing even between individuals with no formal and low formal education, as was demonstrated by Ardila, Ostrosky, and Mendoza (2000 ) and Colaço, Mineiro, Leal, and Castro-Caldas ( 2010 ).

Finally, on the other hand, Table 2 shows tasks from MTL-BR Battery that no differences were found between individuals with no formal education and low-educated ones. Since MTL-BR Battery was published, several studies investigated scores in large populations, considering the variables age, years of schooling (Akashi & Ortiz, 2018 ; Pagliarin et al., 2014 ) and other sociocultural variables such as reading and writing habits (Pagliarin et al., 2015 ). Taken together the data from these previous studies and the present study, it can be observed that the tasks structure interview, automatic speech (content), nonverbal praxis, object manipulation and body part recognition seem not be influenced by years of schooling. The structure interview is a task that is based on a series of questions, most of them about people’s daily lives. It is a conversational task, and probably the questions can be easily understood and answered by people, regardless of sociodemographic variables. In the case of the object manipulation task, auditory, proprioceptive and visual processing are involved in its execution. The familiarity of the objects presented and the tangible effect they evoke may have also facilitated execution of the task. These factors likely promoted the similar performance in carrying out the task (Medeiros & Ortiz, 2021 ). In addition, results of a previous study (Akashi & Ortiz, 2018 ) revealed the presence of a ceiling effect on this task among healthy individuals with low educational level. In turn, the absence of differences between groups in automatic speech and non-verbal praxis tasks were expected. Automatic series are considered the linguistically simpler tasks and non-verbal praxis only requires individuals to perform movements involving the tongue and lips. So, even considering more ecological or informal methods to assess PWA with no formal or low education, these tasks can be used and probably can be helpful to identify language and speech disorders and follow-up of these patients.

This study has clinical applicability because the MTL–BR is the only language assessment battery for adults available in Brazil, rendering it especially important to determine the effects of education on task performance. Although a pilot study, the data gathered can be a guide during the application of the MTL-BR Battery in PWA with no formal education.

Study limitations

This was a pilot study investigating the influence of no formal education on performance on language tasks measured by the instrument. However, studies involving larger populations and studies that control possible influence of the socioeconomic status are needed to confirm these findings with individuals with no formal education on the MTL-BR Battery. The significant differences in performance between no formal education and low-educated groups on the language tasks assessed strongly suggest that populations with little formal education should be studied in greater depth, perhaps according to each year of education as opposed to the broader education bands (1–4 years) used in most studies.

The study results showed that individuals with no formal education had worse performance on some of the language tasks of the MTL-BR Battery relative to healthy low-educated subjects and seems to confirm the hypothesis that each year of education contributes to cognitive development. Moreover, data was gathered on this group that can serve as clinical guide for assessing PWA with no formal education.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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The authors thank the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) for the financial support (2017/22104-3).

This study was funded by the grant sponsor FAPESP (2017/22104-3).

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Ariane Pereira was responsible for collecting the data. Ariane Pereira and Karin Zazo Ortiz analyzed and interpreted the data. All authors were involved in writing up the paper. Karin Zazo Ortiz also critically reviewed the paper. The authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Pereira, A., Ortiz, K.Z. Language skills differences between adults without formal education and low formal education. Psicol. Refl. Crít. 35 , 4 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41155-021-00205-9

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Article • 17 min read

The Communication Cycle

Six steps to better communication.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

Whether you're writing an email to a co-worker, delivering on-the-job training to a new team member, or giving an important presentation to the board of directors, you must communicate in a way that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

But do you ever get lost while planning out your message, or struggle to identify what your audience truly needs to know?

There are so many factors to consider during preparation and presentation that it's easy to forget an important point. The Communication Cycle is a six-step process that can help you to tailor and refine your messages. Originally developed by Charles Berner, the model was updated into its modern form by Oxford professor Michael Argyle in his 1972 book, The Social Psychology of Work. [1]

The Communication Cycle helps you to ensure that you don't forget anything essential the first time you present it, and can maximize its impact. By putting the process into the form of a cycle, this approach encourages you to use the feedback you receive to improve your communications in the future.

See the transcript for this video here .

In this article, we'll examine the Communication Cycle, and look at how you can use it to improve your daily communications. We'll also look at an example which shows how you can use it to deliver important communications.

Understanding the Communication Cycle

The Communication Cycle (shown below in Figure 1) provides a handy checklist that can help you to communicate effectively with your audience.

communication tasks zanichelli

You can apply the Communication Cycle to any situation where communication is involved, but you'll likely find it most useful for preparing and delivering important or complex communications, such as team or organizational emails, marketing materials, and presentations.

The Communication Cycle doesn't include a "test" step. However, you can still apply steps three, four, five, and six to testing your communication. (For example, by asking colleagues to proofread and comment on text, or by practicing a presentation in front of a small group.) You then use any feedback to change and improve your message when you restart the cycle.

How to Use the Communication Cycle

Follow these steps to use the cycle:

Step One: Clarify Your Aim

Organize your thoughts about the message that you want to communicate by answering these questions:

  • To whom am I communicating?
  • What message am I trying to send? What am I trying to achieve?
  • Why do I want to send this message? Do I need to send it at all?
  • What do I want my audience to feel?
  • What does my audience need or desire from this message?
  • What do I want my audience to do with this information?

Our article on The 7 Cs of Communication may be helpful during Step One. Our Communication Skills article also gives some useful tips on removing barriers to communication.

Step Two: Compose/Encode

Now that you've organized your thoughts with the questions in Step 1, start crafting your message. Ask yourself:

  • What's the best way to communicate this message?
  • What level/type of language should I use?
  • Does the audience have any background information on the topic?
  • Will my audience need any additional resources to understand my message?
  • Am I expressing emotions in my message? If so, which emotions?
  • Will the audience assume anything about me or my motives that will damage the credibility of the communication?

Our articles on The Rhetorical Triangle and Monroe's Motivated Sequence can show you how to structure your communications effectively, so that you can inspire your audience to act.

Step Three: Transmit/Deliver

The way that you communicate your message is vital to ensuring that your audience receives it effectively. Ask yourself:

  • Is this the right time to send this message?
  • What is my audience's state of mind likely to be, and what workload will they be experiencing when they receive this message? How should I present my message to take account of this?
  • Will there be any distractions that may damage the impact of the communication? (This is especially important to consider when giving a speech or presentation.)
  • Should I include anyone else in the audience?

Step Four: Receive Feedback

This is a key step in the Communication Cycle. Without feedback from your audience, you'll never know how you can improve the way that you communicate your message.

Make sure that you include some type of feedback process as part of your communication. For instance:

  • Do you know how to read body language , and could you use it to steer your presentation?
  • If you're giving a speech or presentation, will you allow time for a question-and-answer session at the end?
  • Will you have a process for getting feedback from your audience?
  • When you receive feedback, is it generally what you want and expect?

Remember to use indirect feedback here, too. Did you get the response that you wanted from your communication? Is there anything more that you can interpret from the response that you received?

Step Five: Analyze/Decode/Learn

Use the feedback that you received in Step Four to learn and grow. Depending on your situation, you might need to rewrite your message and try again. (One of the benefits of testing your message on a small scale is that you can do this before the big day.) Questions to ask yourself might include:

  • Why did you receive this feedback? What does this tell you about your message?
  • What could you have done differently to get the response that you wanted?
  • Did the audience feel the way you expected them to feel? If not, why not?
  • How should you act or behave differently to move forward?

Step Six: Change/Improve

This step completes the cycle. All of the feedback in the world won't help you unless you commit to learning and changing. Do this by:

  • Honoring and respecting the feedback that you've received. If you believe it's valid, change your message or behavior.
  • Identifying resources that can help you to improve. For instance, ask colleagues for help and advice; do more testing; or use surveys, classes, books, seminars, and so on.

A Communication Cycle Example

Using the Communication Cycle is fairly straightforward. Think of it as a checklist for creating your messages.

Here's an example of how you can use it:

You're responsible for IT in your organization, and you need to create a presentation for your CEO and executive board. The content should explain exactly what the IT department does and how much work you're all responsible for. The presentation's goal is to show how vital IT is to the organization so that you can hire additional staff to manage the workload, instead of facing budget cuts next quarter.

Here's how you could use the Communication Cycle to organize your presentation effectively.

Step One: Aim

  • The CEO and executive board.
  • I must show that IT is an essential part of the organization, and that we deserve additional funding to hire more staff.
  • Without the board's understanding, they might cut our budget next year.
  • I want them to feel excited about the valuable service that IT performs, and concerned about the threats the company might face if our staff is cut.
  • My audience needs to understand thoroughly what IT does and, specifically, that we protect the organization from daily threats. The board will need strong data about the money that we've saved the company over the past two years.
  • They must understand that giving IT additional funding is in their best interest.
  • Group presentation.
  • I should avoid using IT jargon and terms. My language should be professional, but easy to understand.
  • Some members of the executive board have only a vague understanding of what the IT department does. Others have a much sharper idea.
  • The executive board has figures to show that the IT budget is higher than that of other departments.
  • Graphs and statistics, on paper or in a PowerPoint presentation, will be helpful visuals.
  • I must express how excited I am by my job and my department, as well as the urgency we all feel when faced with additional budget cuts, especially when we provide such an important service to the organization.
  • They might assume that, since I'm in IT, I'll naturally be a poor communicator. I must prove right away that this isn't true.
  • Yes, because the board will soon approve the budget for the next year.
  • They're likely to be overloaded with information already. I must be concise, yet convincing.
  • The presentation will likely be in Conference Room A. There's a noisy air vent in that room, so I'll have to speak loudly.
  • The presentation is near the end of a long day for the executive team, so they might be tired or lose interest easily.
  • I'll allow 10 minutes at the end of the presentation for a question-and-answer session with the board.
  • I'll meet with the CEO immediately after the presentation to get his input.
  • I'm going to do some research on body language , which will help me see cues from board members on how I'm doing throughout the presentation.

Steps Five and Six: Analyze, and Improve

A few days after the presentation, your boss tells you that the board liked your message and approved additional funding, thanks to your convincing statistics and message. However, they thought that the presentation was a little too long.

With this knowledge, you commit to shortening your speeches and presentations in the future, and you'll do a better job cutting unnecessary information while you're creating your message.

The Communication Cycle is a six-step process for organizing and presenting a message effectively. You can apply it in all situations that involve communication, but it's most useful for important or complex communications.

The process follows a cycle that includes these six steps:

  • Clarify your aim.
  • Compose/Encode.
  • Transmit/Deliver.
  • Receive feedback.
  • Analyze/Decode/Learn.
  • Change/Improve.

By looping through the cycle twice or more, you can continue to improve your communications by analyzing audience response and learning from the feedback that you receive.

[1] Argyle M. (1972). 'The Social Psychology of Work,' London: (Allen Lane).

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  • Communication in Construction Management

Conquering Communication Chaos in Construction Management

Spike Team

Managing a construction project involves navigating a complex landscape of communication, and teamwork. To be effective, construction team management must use an effective approach to communication. This ensures more efficient operations and better project outcomes.

Understanding Construction Team Dynamics

Construction teams are intricate. They include a diverse range of roles, from project managers and engineers to skilled laborers and administrative support. Each member’s contributions are vital for project success. Yet this diversity of roles can complicate team interactions, particularly in communication.

Common communication challenges in construction include coordinating between shift employees, addressing project delays, changing orders, and authorizations and approvals.

A typical construction team’s efficiency relies on its ability to communicate effectively. The dynamic nature of construction work requires a robust communication strategy, where team members may be spread across different locations or working different shifts. Without it, the risk of miscommunication increases, leading to errors, cost overruns, safety issues, and delays.

Recognizing these potential problems, construction teams need to install strong communication protocols. This means establishing clear communication channels and guidelines and ensuring all team members can use these tools. Regular check-ins, meetings, and the use of technology help maintain the flow of information and ensure everyone is on the same page.

communication tasks zanichelli

5 Best Practices for Effective Communication in Construction

Here are some best practices that can help streamline communication within a construction project:

Establish clear protocols: Define and document communication standards to ensure consistency in managing your construction team.

Use a single communication platform: Opting for one centralized platform simplifies information relay across the team, reducing the risks of miscommunication and lost messages. Teams should not be using multiple communication tools.

Foster a cohesive culture: Cultivate an environment encouraging open communication lines between different teams. This approach is essential for effective team management and enhances cooperative efforts.

Centralize resources and file sharing: Create a central hub for all project-related documents and resources. This ensures every team member can access the necessary information, facilitating better management decisions and team coordination.

Ensure management accessibility: Keep stakeholders, leaders, and managers within easy reach to address concerns quickly and make informed decisions. This is crucial for maintaining the momentum and efficient management of construction projects.

By implementing these best practices, you can improve communication and overall management of your construction team, leading to more successful project outcomes.

communication tasks zanichelli

Leveraging Spike for Improved Construction Team Management

Effective team management is crucial in construction, where timely communication can significantly impact project success.

Spike Teamspace offers a suite of tools designed to enhance the management of construction teams by streamlining communication and collaboration processes.

Streamlined Communication and Collaboration

Spike’s Group Chats are a game-changer for construction teams, enabling real-time updates and seamless information sharing. This feature allows team members to make quick, informed decisions essential in a fast-paced construction environment.

With @mentions, team members can direct messages to specific individuals, ensuring that the right people see important updates without overwhelming the rest of the team. Threaded conversations keep discussions organized, making tracking decisions and feedback on specific topics easy.

Spike’s Magic AI functionality transforms how teams handle documentation. It speeds up reviewing shared documents, allowing for quicker comprehension and keeping customer response times current.

This feature not only saves time but also enhances the accuracy of communication by helping team members understand content faster and craft responses more effectively. Magic AI supports construction managers in maintaining high oversight and coordination, directly contributing to smoother project flows and enhanced productivity.

Simplified Task Management and Tracking

Spike up levels a team’s task management and tracking within construction projects. Spike handles focused discussions and task assignments among team members by allowing the creation of dedicated groups and channels. This feature ensures that tasks are communicated and responsibilities are well-defined.

Additionally, Spike’s integration with your calendars enhances project management by enabling teams to keep track of deadlines and important milestones. These tools work together seamlessly, providing a comprehensive solution that helps construction teams stay organized and efficient.

By integrating these advanced features, Spike not only resolves common communication hurdles in construction management but also empowers teams to implement best practices more effectively

Improved Project Visibility and Decision-Making

Spike’s innovative next-generation features offer major benefits, such as enhanced project visibility and streamlined decision-making processes for leaders. The platform’s advanced file-sharing capabilities ensure that all team members have immediate access to crucial documents, facilitating quick reference and informed discussions.

Spike’s note collaboration feature allows real-time updates and collective brainstorming, making project details transparent and actionable.

Lastly, Spike’s Priority Inbox organizes important emails together. It puts the fluff in an “Other Inbox so leaders can stay focused and enables decision-makers to focus on critical issues first, thus improving responsiveness and efficiency in project management.

With Spike Teamspace, customers will ultimately have a much better experience.

Wrap-Up on Managing a Construction Team

Effective communication is crucial in construction project management, where every detail matters and coordination is key. Spike offers powerful tools that significantly enhance this communication, fostering better team collaboration and project management.

By utilizing Spike’s lightning-fast communication tools and organizational features, construction teams can achieve greater efficiency, clearer project oversight, and finish up with projects on time and on budget. By using Spike Teamsapce as an internal messaging platform and external email, teams will be on budget and on time.

Spike Team

Gain Communication Clarity with Spike

You may also like, unlocking the future of teamwork – 10 best group messaging apps for business.

Group messaging apps for business are more than just tools. Dive into our top 10 picks to elevate your business communication and collaboration.

17 Best Secure Messaging Apps for Privacy-Conscious Users

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Cover not available

Chapter 8 “Reflection on language”

Innovation and tradition in elt textbooks in italy in the 1980s and 1990s.

At the end of the 1970s, the conservative Italian scenario of foreign language teaching witnessed various innovations. The process of change was prompted by a reform of the national school syllabus for lower secondary school that advocated a new and comprehensive approach to language education. After an overview of the main tenets underlying this approach, the chapter focuses on “reflection on language”, one of the cornerstones of the reform. It then reports on an investigation of how reflection on language was implemented in a corpus of communication-oriented ELT school textbooks published in Italy in the 1980s and 1990s. In an attempt to understand the perspectives of those involved, leading figures and textbook authors of the period were also interviewed. In spite of the authors’ claims about introducing new features of language reflection, textbook analysis shows how their implementation in fact swung between innovative and traditional options.

  • A new, broader perspective on language education
  • “Reflection on language”: A cross-curricular approach to grammar learning
  • Research design
  • “Reflection on language”: Stated intentions
  • “Reflection on language”: Implementation
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgements

Primary sources (1): Student’s and teacher’s books

Primary sources (2): others, secondary sources.

communication tasks zanichelli

UBS’s Ermotti Says His Term as CEO Could Stretch to 2027 (1)

By Myriam Balezou

Myriam Balezou

UBS Group AG Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti said that he intends to stay at the helm of the Swiss bank until the task of absorbing Credit Suisse is complete, meaning his second stint leading the global wealth manager could stretch to almost four years.

“I made a commitment to the board to stay at the very least until the integration is finished, so that means end of 2026, early 2027,” Ermotti said at a Reuters event in Zurich on Monday.

Ermotti returned to UBS in the immediate aftermath of its emergency takeover of Credit Suisse in March last year, ...

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What are Communication Skills? A Comprehensive Guide

Unveiling the Art of Communication Skills: Dive into the essence of what they are, how to enhance them, and why they're crucial. Explore real-life examples, tips for effective communication, and their significance in job interviews. This journey equips you with the knowledge to excel in the world of communication.


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Table of Contents

1) What are Communication Skills?  

2) How to improve your Communication Skills? 

3) Why do you require Communication Skills?  

4) Examples of Communication Skills  

5)  How to communicate effectively?  

6) Communication Skills in job interviews 

7) Conclusion  

What are Communication Skills?  

Communication Skills are the abilities and techniques used to exchange information, ideas, and feelings effectively. It involves expressing yourself clearly, listening actively, understanding non-verbal cues, and adapting communication to different situations. Strong Communication Skills enable individuals to build positive relationships, collaborate effectively, resolve conflicts, and convey messages with impact .   

Communication Skills encompass verbal and non-verbal communication and proficiency in various digital platforms like email and social media. By enhancing your Communication Skills, you can better understand others, work together successfully, and quickly achieve your business goals. For example, when you share your thoughts on a topic, you want to be persuasive and make an impact. Keeping others updated on project progress is essential for transparency and keeping everyone in the loop. It's also helpful to express your feelings in a respectful way to create a positive work environment.   

Points to consider:  

a) Business Communication isn't limited to face-to-face or phone conversations. 

b) Being comfortable with digital tools like Social Media and Email is essential for effective remote collaboration and networking.   

c) Good business communication involves listening, observing, and understanding others. It builds trust, improves teamwork, and leads to successful negotiations.

Learn real-world Communication Skills that can be applied in the organisation by registering for our Communication Skills Training . Register now! 

How to improve your Communication Skills? 

The following tips will tell you all about How to Improve Your Communication Skills. 

Consider your audience 

Effective Communication begins with understanding your audience. Take the time to assess who you are communicating with. Consider their background, expertise, interests, and expectations. Whether you are speaking to a colleague, a client, or a group of employees, tailoring your message to align with their needs and preferences is crucial. By doing so, you can ensure that your message resonates more effectively and is more likely to be well-received. 

Think about the most effective way to convey your message  

Communication is not one-size-fits-all. Different situations call for different approaches. Reflect on the message you want to convey and the context in which you are communicating. Should you send an email, schedule a face-to-face meeting, or pick up the phone? Consider the urgency of the message, the complexity of the topic, and the preferences of your audience. Choosing the right communication channel and style enhances the chances of your message being understood and acted upon. 

Encourage participation 

Effective Communication is a dialogue, not a monologue. Encourage participation by creating an open and inclusive atmosphere. Invite questions, feedback, and input from others. Actively listen to their responses, showing that you value their perspective. When people feel heard and included, they are more likely to engage with your message and contribute meaningfully to the conversation. This participatory approach can lead to better collaboration and problem-solving. 

Leverage face-to-face contact 

While digital communication tools offer convenience, there's no substitute for face-to-face interactions when it comes to building trust and conveying complex messages. Whenever possible, engage in in-person conversations, especially for important or sensitive topics. Being physically present allows you to pick up on cues like body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions, which can provide valuable context and enhance understanding. 

Make eye contact 

Eye contact is a powerful non-verbal communication tool. When you maintain appropriate eye contact during a conversation, you signal to the other person that you are engaged, focused, and attentive. It conveys confidence and sincerity, helping to establish a connection. However, be mindful not to overdo it, as overly intense or prolonged eye contact can make others uncomfortable. Striking the right balance is key. 

Recognise non-verbal cues 

Effective Communication goes beyond words. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, such as body language, facial expressions, and gestures. These subtle signals can provide valuable insights into the emotions and reactions of others. Being attuned to these cues allows you to adjust your communication approach in real-time. For instance, if someone appears confused, you can offer clarification, and if they seem agitated, you can take a more empathetic and soothing tone. 

Reduce interruptions 

To ensure that your message is received and understood, it's important to minimise distractions and interruptions during conversations. Give your full attention to the person you are communicating with. This not only demonstrates respect for their time and ideas but also promotes a more focused and productive exchange of information. Turn off notifications on your devices, close unnecessary tabs or documents, and create an environment conducive to meaningful Communication. By doing so, you create a space where ideas can flow freely and without disruption. 

Effective Communication Skills

Why do you require Communication Skills ?

Communication Skills are necessary because they help us effectively share information, understand others, and build connections. They play a vital role in professional relationships, education, and work. Good Communication enables clear expression, active listening, and collaboration. It improves understanding, resolves conflicts and enhances leadership. Developing Communication Skills leads to successful interactions and achieving goals in your professional career. Let’s dive deeper to know why Communication Skills are so important:  

Effective Communication

Improve relationships  

When we communicate effectively, we can express our thoughts, feelings, and needs clearly, leading to better understanding and connection with others. It helps to resolve conflicts, build trust, and strengthen bonds. Effective Communication also promotes empathy, active listening, and the ability to respond constructively, all of which contribute to better  relationships.   

Strong  Communication Skills are crucial for maintaining positive relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders. It facilitates collaboration, builds trust, and enhances teamwork, ultimately leading to improved productivity and success in the workplace. 

Maximise workplace benefits  

Communication Skills are highly valued in the professional world. Effective communication allows for efficient coordination, clear instructions, and the smooth flow of information within a team or organisation. It helps to avoid misunderstandings, conflicts, and costly errors. Additionally, good communication fosters a positive work environment, boosts morale, and enhances employee engagement and satisfaction. 

Effective Communication is essential for delivering impactful presentations, conducting successful meetings, negotiating deals, and providing constructive feedback. It also helps resolve conflicts and manage challenging conversations, enabling better teamwork and overall organisational success. 

Increase self - confidence  

Practical Communication Skills in business can increase self-confidence by enabling individuals to express themselves, deliver impactful speeches, assert their needs, build professional relationships, and confidently handle challenging situations. Excellent Communication Skills enhance self-confidence, professional networking, and career advancement opportunities. They enable individuals to convey ideas, influence others, and showcase expertise, leading to greater recognition and success. 

Master the art of effective communication with our Effective Communication Skills   Sign up now!  

Boosting customer loyalty  

Effective Communication Skills play an essential role in building and maintaining strong customer relationships. Businesses can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty by actively listening to customer needs, addressing their concerns promptly, and providing clear and empathetic communication. This improves business relations, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and long-term success. 

Navigating cross-cultural communication  

In today's global business landscape, cross-cultural Communication Skills are increasingly valuable. Understanding cultural gaps, adapting communication styles, and respecting diverse perspectives are essential for successful international collaborations and negotiations. Businesses prioritising cross-cultural Communication Skills gain a competitive edge in the global marketplace. 

Learn how to implement effective strategies to improve cross-cultural Communication Skills with our Cross Cultural Communications Training   Join today!  

Usage of digital communication platforms  

As digital communication continues to evolve, proficiency in leveraging digital platforms is crucial. Business Communication Skills extend beyond traditional methods to encompass email, social media, video conferencing, and virtual collaboration tools. Mastering these channels enables effective remote communication, virtual team collaboration, and broader reach to a global audience.  

Effective communication resolves crisis  

During times of crisis or uncertainty, businesses must communicate effectively to maintain trust and confidence. Crisis Communication Skills involve timely and transparent communication, empathetic messaging, and proactive management of stakeholders' concerns. Businesses that handle crises with clear and empathetic communication can mitigate reputational damage and maintain stakeholder trust. 

Master the art of Effective Communication with our Effective Communication Skills Course .Sign up now! 

Examples of Communication Skills

When applying for a job, showcasing the Communication Skills that recruiters value in your cover letter and resume is essential. These skills are also crucial to demonstrate during your job interview. Here are some examples of Communication Skills and what they include:

a) Active listening: Active listening means focusing entirely on and understanding what others say. It involves giving your undivided attention, asking clarifying questions, and providing verbal and non-verbal feedback to show you are engaged. For example, during a team meeting, actively listening would involve maintaining eye contact, nodding in agreement, and paraphrasing what others have said to demonstrate understanding. 

b)  Non-verbal Communication: Non-verbal Communication refers to the messages conveyed through gestures, facial expressions, and body language. It plays a vital role in how others perceive and interpret your communication. For example, maintaining an open and confident posture, smiling, and using appropriate hand gestures can enhance communication effectiveness. 

c)  Respectful Communication: Respectful Communication include s treating others with dignity, courtesy, and consideration. It involves valuing diverse perspectives and opinions, even when they differ from your own. Respecting others' ideas creates a positive and inclusive work environment. During an interview or in your cover letter, emphasising your ability to actively listen, appreciate differing viewpoints, and provide constructive feedback demonstrates respectful communication. 

d)  Constructive feedback: Giving and taking constructive feedback is crucial for personal and professional growth. It involves providing specific and actionable suggestions to help others improve. Being open to feedback and responding positively also showcases your willingness to learn and grow. In an interview, you can highlight instances where you have given or received constructive feedback, emphasising its generated positive outcomes.   

e)  Clear and effective expression: Clear communication is essential for accurately conveying ideas and information. It involves articulating thoughts clearly, using appropriate language and tone, and structuring your message concisely and organised. In your cover letter, resume, and interview responses, focus on showcasing your ability to express yourself effectively, using simple and concise language that is easy to understand.   

Continuous feedback

How to communicate effectively?  

In various work situations, you will employ different Communication Skills . However, there are a few simple ways to become an effective communicator in the workplace:  

a) Be clear and concise: To ensure easy and effective communication, make your message short using concise language. Avoid lengthy and detailed sentences, focusing instead on the core meaning of your message. While providing context can be helpful, prioritise sharing the essential information to effectively convey your idea, instruction, or message. 

b) Practice empathy: Understanding your colleagues' feelings, ideas, and goals can enhance communication. For instance, empathise with their concerns or hesitations when seeking assistance from other departments for a project. By considering their perspective, you can position your message to address their apprehensions and foster cooperation. 

c) Assert yourself respectfully: Sometimes, it's necessary to be assertive in the workplace to achieve your goals, such as asking for a raise, pursuing project opportunities, or expressing disagreement with an unfavourable idea. Present your thoughts with confidence while maintaining respect in conversations. Use an even tone and provide sound reasons for your assertions to increase the likelihood of others being receptive to your ideas. 

d) Maintain calmness and consistency: When faced with disagreements or conflicts, it's crucial to remain calm and composed during communication. Avoid letting emotions dictate your interactions. Be mindful of your body language, refraining from crossing your arms or displaying negative gestures. Consistently maintain a neutral tone of voice and body language to facilitate peaceful and productive resolutions. 

e) Pay attention to body language: Body language plays a significant role in workplace communication. Pay close attention to the non-verbal cues expressed through others' facial expressions and body movements. Equally important is being mindful of your body language and the unintentional messages it may convey. By understanding and using body language effectively, you can enhance the overall effectiveness of your communication.

Communication Skills for job interviews 

In a job interview, make sure to actively listen to the person speaking to you. Make sure to sit straight and make eye contact with the interviewers whenever you are speaking. Remember to speak confidently, be positive, make eye contact and smile. 

Almost everything you do, both in terms of the job interview as well as in life, can be seen as a form of communication. By correctly identifying and assessing your strengths and weaknesses and practising good communication habits, you can enhance your Communication Skills to a great extent.  


To sum it up, e ffective Communication Skills are the key to building connections, fostering collaboration, and achieving success. Effective Communication promotes teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving, improving productivity and positive outcomes. Improving your Communication Skills for personal and professional growth will help you explore better employment prospects and career options.  

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15 Communication Exercises and Games for the Workplace

Communication exercises for work

Cooperation and collaboration underpin how we work together, and done brilliantly, can determine our competitive advantage.

At the human level, our social resources play a massive part in our happiness and well-being in the workplace.

We can brush it all off as too soft and fuzzy, or we can embrace communication as one of the keys to an emotionally intelligent workplace. But because the way we get along is so fundamental to organizational success and human flourishing, many more companies are focusing on the latter.

In this article, you will find 15 communication exercises, games, and tips to help you improve teamwork and collaboration in your workplace. If you have any great activities that we haven’t covered, do let us know!

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Communication Exercises (PDF) for free . These science-based tools will help you and those you work with build better social skills and better connect with others.

This Article Contains:

What are communication exercises and games, the importance of communication in the workplace, 7 tips on improving communication skills at work, 3 games and exercises to improve workplace communication skills, 3 activities to improve communication between employees, 3 active listening games and exercises for the workplace, 3 team building communication games and exercises, 3 communication exercises and activities for groups, a take-home message.

Typically, communication is seen as a ‘soft’ skill—because it’s not easily quantifiable. Compared to profits, losses, and even risk, it is intangible. Unless it’s either terrible or completely absent. Communication exercises and games are interactional activities that aim to develop how we relate to one another, including how we share information and get along.

They can be one-on-one or team exercises, but the goal is the same: they help us develop our interpersonal skills and improve our capacity to relate.

Communication is a whole lot more than just talking—although, that is a fundamental part of relationship-building and knowledge-transfer. To really grasp how big of an impact it has, we can touch on some of the theory. Surprisingly, taking a step back to look at some theory can sometimes be just as helpful, if not more so, than ‘getting on with it’.

What are Workplace Communication Skills?

Communication Skills

Succinctly, they help us convey information to others in an effective way. And, they go above and beyond coherent speech in many ways—we talk, we use silence, body language, tone of voice, and eye-contact—voluntarily and unconsciously. With a broad and beautiful rainbow of ways to communicate, then, how do we know what’s considered a skill? What’s noise and what’s a message? What matters?

Drawing on empirical literature on communication skills in the workplace, we can look at Maguire and Pitcheathly’s (2002) study of doctors for a good example. In medical professions, it’s particularly critical not just to extract and interpret information—often, from conversation partners who lack crucial information themselves—but to convey it empathetically and with clarity.

The authors described several key communication skills as follows:

– The ability to elicit patients’ problems and concerns.

Swap ‘patients’ with clients, co-workers, managers, and so forth, and we can see that this is readily applicable in many other work situations. That is, the ability to understand, explore and clarify what others are talking about, and to solicit more details if and when the situation requires it.

Doctors also described effective communication as being able to summarize what the patient/other had related to correct information and display understanding.

Benefits: In an objective sense, we need to extract information so we can channel our efforts accordingly. Deadlines, role boundaries, budgets, and the ‘why, how, what’ of tasks. But active listening encourages pleasant social interactions, which in turn, these boost our well-being and life satisfaction (Baumeister & Leary, 1995).

– The ability to deliver information effectively.

The doctors studied also checked with their patients what their beliefs were about what was wrong. In other workplaces, team situations call for clarity—a shared goal is the ideal, but very often we come at situations with at least a few different beliefs. Alternatively, we may be quick to assume that others understand what we are saying when situations actually require further explanation.

To deal with this, the doctors:

  • Reorganized information where required (e.g. into categories);
  • Checked that patients understood them before moving on; and
  • Checked whether they wanted further information.

Benefits: Our messages need to make sense if we want to convey information in a meaningful way. That applies both to our language and the extent to which we empathize. Effective information delivery helps us define goals , transfer knowledge, and successfully accomplish shared tasks.

– Discussing treatment options.

Communication, in its most basic form at least, is dyadic—a two-way, and (one would hope) mutually beneficial flow of information. In this study, giving a diagnosis and treatment options was only one part of the job. Doctors described how important it was to see whether patients wanted to participate in choosing their treatment.

They determined their perspectives before decision-making; in other settings, this is inviting participation and engagement.

Benefits: As discussed, information delivery is crucial, but our focus here is opening up discussions. Giving others a chance to contribute allows us to factor in more perspectives and diverse opinions. We can encourage more engagement, commitment, and complement one another’s different skills for better results.

– Being supportive.

Doctors described empathy in terms of feedback and validation. They showed that they understood how their patients were feeling to relate at an interpersonal level; where they didn’t know, they at least made a stab at empathizing through educated guesses.

Benefits: We don’t need to look too far to find sources of workplace stress that might be impacting our colleagues. By empathizing, we not only build better relationships, but we show that we are available as key ‘job resources’ – social support for those around us to reduce the negative impacts of our job demands (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007).

Put even more simply, we make work a nicer place to be while avoiding unnecessary conflict.

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Maguire and Pitcheathly’s (2002) clinical review offered several learning tips, the first of which was an emphasis on proper communication skills training. As well as identifying key communication deficits and their root causes, these included several that relate to our knowledge of positive psychology and communication.

3 Tips for Creating a Supportive Learning Environment

First, we need to create an optimal learning environment if we want to maximize our improvement; in this sense:

  • Communication skills need to be modeled and practiced, not simply taught – a nod to experiential learning, which is frequently emphasized in emotional intelligence learning (SEL) (Haertel et al., 2005; Kolb, 2014);
  • They are best learned and practiced in safe, supportive environments, which studies show are central to learning behavior (Edmonson et al., 2004); and
  • Constructive performance feedback is helpful, but “only once all positive comments have been exhausted” (Maguire & Pitcheathly, 2002: 699). Peer feedback is also a useful job resource when it comes to work engagement; as a form of social support, it can help stimulate our learning and development—that includes communication skills (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Bakker et al., 2008).

4 Tips for Enhancing Communication Skills

We can also look at the business literature for some more support of what we identified earlier as key communication skills. Breaking these down into tips, here are 4 fairly broad ways we can enhance our communication skills to increase our effectiveness and well-being.

4 Ways to Enhance Communication Skills

– Work on your emotional perception

Perception of emotions is a key component of Mayer and Salovey’s emotional intelligence framework and covers the ability to read others’ non-verbal cues as well as their potential moods (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

At the individual level, we can make conscious use of this EQ skill to gauge how others are feeling. Is your colleague overwhelmed, perhaps? Is now the best possible time to ask them for help on a task? Or, have you noticed someone in the corner of the room who has been dying to contribute to the meeting?

– Practice self-awareness

Our non-verbal behavior and the way we speak is critical. Different studies vary on exactly how much of our intended message (and credibility) is non-verbal, but it’s undoubtedly important (DePaulo & Friedman, 1998; Knapp et al., 2013).

When the words we speak convey one message and our body another, we risk confusion and potentially, we jeopardize our intended impact. To enhance our influencing skills and the quality of our working relationships with others, it helps to practice being aware of your own non-verbal behaviors.

– Give others a chance to engage

Communication is a two-way street, at the very least. And as more than one collective intelligence researcher has pointed out, teams are more than the sum of their parts (Woolley et al., 2010).

When we get together as humans, we need a chance to communicate just as much as we need our individual ‘smarts’, and essentially, it comes down to social sensitivity—emotional perception once again. We can look at Leary’s Rose for more insights on how and why, but this time, the tip is to understand when to communicate or step back (Leary, 2004).

– Practice listening

Talking is essentially a form of content delivery, and it’s not really communication unless we listen. Active listening involves engaging with our co-workers and bringing empathy to the table to enhance the quality of our dialogue.

Sometimes mentioned along with ‘reflective questioning’, it involves, “restating a paraphrased version of the speaker’s message, asking questions when appropriate, and maintaining moderate to high nonverbal conversational involvement” (Weger Jr et al., 2014: 13). It helps us create more clarity, take in information more effectively, and develop our workplace relationships through empathetic engagement (Nikolova et al., 2013).

Some of these activities will require a facilitator, and some just a group of colleagues. None of them require professional facilitation per se, and any participant can easily volunteer to keep the process on track.

1. Back-to-Back Drawing

This exercise is about listening, clarity and developing potential strategies when we communicate. In communicating expectations, needs, and more, it helps to clarify and create common ground. This can show what happens when we don’t…

For this activity, you’ll need an even number of participants so everybody can have a partner. Once people have paired off, they sit back-to-back with a paper and pencil each. One member takes on the role of a speaker, and the other plays the part of the listener.

Over five to ten minutes, the speaker describes a geometric image from a prepared set, and the listener tries to turn this description into a drawing without looking at the image.

Then, they talk about the experience, using several of the following example questions:

Speaker Questions

  • What steps did you take to ensure your instructions were clear? How could these be applied in real-life interactions?
  • Our intended messages aren’t always interpreted as we mean them to be. While speaking, what could you do to decrease the chance of miscommunication in real-life dialogue?

Listener Questions

  • What was constructive about your partner’s instructions?
  • In what ways might your drawing have turned out differently if you could have communicated with your partner?

2. Effective Feedback in “I” Mode

Defensiveness is a root cause of miscommunication and even conflict in the workplace. We’re not always ready to receive and learn from criticism, especially when it’s delivered insensitively. This exercise introduces “I” statements, which describe others’ behavior objectively while allowing the speaker to express the impact on their feelings.

Employees can pair off or work alone, in either case, they will need a worksheet of imaginary scenarios like this one . Together or solo, they can create “I” statements about how the imaginary scenario makes them feel. When done in pairs, they can practice giving each other feedback on ‘meaning what you say’ without triggering defensiveness in the other.

3. Storytelling with CCSG

Storytelling is an engaging way to convey information; when it’s positive information, narratives are also highly effective means of motivating and inspiring others (Tomasulo & Pawelski, 2012). Appreciative Inquiry, for example, is one type of positive psychology intervention that uses storytelling in a compelling way, as a means to share hopes and build on our shared strengths.

Through this exercise, we can practice structuring our narratives—essentially we’ll have one ‘information delivery’ tool to draw on when we feel it might help (like the doctors we looked at earlier). CCSG is a structure, and it involves:

C : Characters C : Conflict S : Struggle G : Goal

To use the structure as an exercise, participants simply relate a narrative using CCSG. For example, one team member might describe a past success of the group or team, where their collective strengths helped them succeed. The Characters would then be whoever was involved, the Conflict may be a challenge the team faced (a new growth opportunity, perhaps).

The Struggle might be something like geographical distance between team members, and the Goal would be just that: their objective or success.

Visit this site for more details.

Because communication is so multi-faceted, we’ve included a selection of different activity types. These interpersonal and team communication games cover topics such as misinterpreting information, awareness of our assumptions and engaging others.

1. Direction Direction

This activity is a slight twist on Chinese Whispers in that it uses a complex set of instructions rather than just a sentence. And here, we have only one link rather than an entire chain of people. Otherwise, the idea is identical—information gets misinterpreted thanks to noise, but we can improve our verbal communication and listening skills to minimize this risk.

First, pick a game with enough instructions that the information is a challenge to memorize. With 2+ co-workers, pick one person (a speaker) to whom you’ll explain the instructions. They are responsible for passing the information on to the rest of their team. The group then needs to play the game with only the instructions from the speaker.

Once they’ve finished the game, start some dialogue about what happened:

  • Was there any lack of clarity around the instructions?
  • What might have contributed to this confusion?
  • What are some key things to be aware of when we give or listen to instructions?

This activity comes from The Wrecking Yard of Games and Activities ( Amazon ).

Here’s an exercise on the pivotal role of clarification. When it comes to tasks and expectations, it goes without saying that clarity helps us avoid lots of unwanted things. And clarity plays a role on a larger scale when it comes to our roles more broadly, in fact, it’s a psychological resource under the Job Demands-Resources model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007).

Succinctly, ambiguity contributes to stress, and clarity is empowering—something that is easy to overlook and which this game reminds us of.

Any number of co-workers can participate in this very simple mime game. You’ll need a list of topics for people to act out, then invite players to break off into groups of two. In these pairs, they will take turns being a mime and being an asker. The mime reads the card, then attempts to act out what’s on it (you’ll first need to decide on a theme, like weather, activities, or what have you).

While the asker can pose questions, the mime can only act out their answers.

It might unearth an awareness of implicit assumptions, bringing our conscious attention to the role these play in our judgments. Potential discussion questions will help you unpack this further:

  • How did your questioning skills help you comprehend what was going on?
  • What value do questioning skills have when we’re trying to understand others?
  • What factors sometimes prevent us from asking questions when they might actually be useful?

3. Let’s Face It

This exercise from The Big Book of Conflict-Resolution Games is about self-awareness . How large of a role does it really play, and how does it influence our communication?

There is no limit to the group size for this game, which requires only enough pens and paper for everybody. It doesn’t take very long, either, and can be played in as little as ten to twenty minutes—perfect for breaking up the day.

Start with groups (or sub-groups) of between four and ten players; in each of these, someone will need to volunteer as a facilitator. This facilitator simply keeps the game on track and gets the discussion going afterward.

Each player writes down a feeling on a small piece of paper, folds it, then passes it to the volunteer facilitator. From him or her, they take another piece that someone else has written, and tries to act out that feeling to the rest of their group—using only their facial expressions. The other participants try to guess that emotion and this should lead to a talk about the role of expressions. Useful discussion points include:

  • What feelings do we understand the easiest, when only facial expressions are used? Why might that be?
  • Describe some contexts where facial expressions play a particularly important role in communication?
  • In what ways can facial expressions influence our ability to deal with misunderstandings?

How to improve communication skills at work – Adriana Girdler

Through active listening, we can enhance our understanding of other people’s perspectives (Drollinger et al., 2006). Practicing it during our interactions with others enables us to validate their feelings and potentially avoid the stress of misunderstandings.

Exercises that boost our active listening skills help us engage better, through empathy, body language, and non-judgment where required (Rogers & Farson, 1957).

At the end of the day, active listening games can impact positively on our relationships by encouraging us to practice specific techniques, and these, in turn, find support in the empirical literature (Weger et al., 2014).

1. Concentric Circles

This large group exercise works best when you already have a topic for discussion. It is used a lot during inclusive strategy sessions, where diverse opinions are valuable but team size can hamper rather than facilitate good communication. For this exercise, everybody has a handout that summarizes the goals of the discussion.

Two circles of chairs are set up, one inside the other. Participants who sit in the middle are ‘talkers’ while those in the outer ring are ‘watchers’, and these roles should be allocated prior to the exercise. Armed with their handouts, talkers begin to engage with the topic. They use the goals as a guide for the conversation, while the watchers listen carefully and make notes.

After fifteen minutes of discussion, the watchers and talkers switch circles—those who were listening before now sit on the inner circle for a fifteen-minute conversation. It can be on the pre-chosen topic or on a different one, but the activity must conclude with a debrief.

During this debrief, they reflect collectively on the experience itself:

  • How was being a watcher, compared to being a listener?
  • What did you feel when you were observing from the outer circle, listening but not contributing? How did this influence your learnings, rather than providing your own input?
  • In what ways did being a watcher impact your perspectives of the talkers? What about their dynamics?

This gamestorming communications exercise is based on a team coaching technique by Time To Grow Global .

2. 3-minute Vacation

Here is another talker and listener exercise that can be done in pairs. In a larger group of participants, this can be done multiple times as players pair up with different conversation partners. And in each pair, of course, team members will take turns being listener and talker.

The talker discusses their dream vacation for three minutes, describing what they would like best about it but without specifying where it should be. While they talk, the listener pays close attention to the explicit and underlying details, using only non-verbal cues to show that they are listening.

After the 3-minute vacation, the listener summarizes the key points of their conversation partner’s dream vacation—as a holiday sales pitch. After they’ve ‘pitched’ the ideal vacation spot in the space of a few minutes, the pair discuss how accurately the listener understood the talker.

They outline how they could improve their dialogue with regard to active listening, then swap roles. A twist on this team coaching exercise might involve allowing the listener to make notes during the talker’s description, revealing them as a point of discussion only after they deliver the ‘sales pitch’.

Used with permission from Time To Grow Global .

3. Pet Peeve

How about a chance to blow off some steam and get that empathetic listening ear at the same time? And at the same time, helping your co-worker practice active listening?

In this game, one colleague has a full 60 seconds to rant about something which irks them. It’s best if this isn’t inappropriate for the workplace, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be work-related. If you hate pop-up ads, for instance, you’ve already got great material for your rant.

The first colleague (Player A) simply lets loose while the second person (Player B) listens carefully, trying to cut through the noise by singling out:

  • What Player A really cares about – for instance, smooth user experience on the internet;
  • What they value – e.g. clarity and transparent advertisements;
  • What matters to them – e.g. getting work done, doing their online shopping in peace, or a more intuitive, user-friendly adblocker.

Player B then ‘decodes’ the rant by repeating it back to Player A, isolating the key positive points without the fluff or negativity. They can use some variant on the following sentence stems to guide their decoding:

  • “You value…”
  • “You care about…”
  • “You believe that…matters a lot”

Then, they can switch over and repeat the game again. As you can probably see, the activity is aimed at helping teammates appreciate that feedback has positive goals.

When we give attention to our relationships as well as the task(s) at hand, we create trust and collaborate more effectively. The games and exercises in this section are about connecting on a human level so that we can communicate with more emotional intelligence in the workplace.

1. Personal Storytelling

In large organizations especially, we may only bring a part of ourselves to the workplace. If we want to communicate empathetically and build relationships with co-workers—important social resources—personal storytelling is one way we can build our teams while developing communication skills.

There is no set time or place for storytelling, but it works best when a story is followed by an invitation to the group to give input. Feel free to use the CCSG technique described earlier in this article, and that the speaker uses a reflective tone, rather than purely informative, when addressing the group.

To try out personal storytelling, set aside a team-building afternoon, meeting, or workshop. Ask the group to each prepare a reading that they will share. Here are some ideas that nicely blend the emotional with the professional:

  • Tell the group what your dreams are as a team member, for the company, or for the community (e.g. Whitney & Cooperrider, 2011);
  • Tell them about your first job, or your very first working experience;
  • If you’ve got a budget, give team members a small amount of money each to do something good with. Then, let them share the story of what they did with it;
  • When onboarding new people, invite the group to bring in an object which symbolizes their wishes for the new team member. Then, let them share the story behind the object.

2. I’m Listening

We learn from our peers’ feedback, and that learning is most productive in a supportive work environment (Odom et al., 1990; Goh, 1998). Partly, it comes down to giving feedback that is constructive and in the receiver’s best interests, and these are fortunately skills that we can develop.

I’m Listening can be played with an even number of participants, as they will need to find a partner for this one-on-one game. In the book mentioned below, there are also hand-outs, but you can prepare your own for this activity. Ideally, more than one ‘Talker Scenario’ and more than one ‘Listener Scenario’:

  • A ‘Talker Scenario’ will describe something like a bad day at work, or a problem with a client. In a small paragraph, it should outline what’s gone wrong (maybe it’s everything from a cracked smartphone screen to a delay during your commute). This scenario is followed by an instruction for the Talker to play a role: “ You call up your colleague for some support ” or “ You decide to let off some steam by talking to your co-worker ”.
  • A ‘Listener Scenario’ is a bit different. In several sentences, the scenario outlines a situation where they are approached by a colleague with problems but might have other things on their plate. They might be up to their ears in work, or their colleague’s complaints might seem trivial. After reading the scenario of their context (e.g. it’s a hectic day, your computer’s just crashed), the Listener’s role is to act it out while they respond, for example: “ Show with your body language that you’re far too busy ”.

The exercise is a good starting point for a conversation about constructive listening strategies. Together, the pairs can come up with more productive, empathetic, and appropriate responses, with the acting experience fresh in mind. Some discussion points include:

  • As Talker, what feedback did your Listener appear to give?
  • How did you feel about the feedback you received?
  • How might you create some listening and feedback approaches based on this?

This game comes from The Big Book of Conflict-Resolution Games ( Amazon ).

3. “A What?”

Inspired by the kid’s game Telephone, this exercise draws on different elements of effective communication between team members, while highlighting where things often go wrong. It works with any sized team and requires only a facilitator and some novel objects that can be passed between participants. So, plush toys, tennis balls, or similar—but the more imaginative they are, the better.

Players stand in a circle and pass two of the objects along to each other. One object should be passed clockwise, and the other counter-clockwise. Prior to passing on the toy, ball, or what have you, players ask something about the object and answer a question about it.

Essentially, the message will change as the object gets passed along, and players will need to stay sharp to remember who they are passing and talking to.

For instance:

  • The facilitator starts out by handing one of the items to the person on their right, saying “Ellen, this is a tattered elephant with pink ears.”
  • Ellen then needs to ask “A What?”, prompting you to repeat the item’s name.
  • Taking the item, Ellen turns to her right and repeats the same with Pedro: “Pedro, this is a tattered elephant with pink ears.” Pedro asks, “A What?”
  • Before she passes the item to Pedro, however, Ellen’s answer to his question must come back to the facilitator, who says it aloud. This way, it’s possible to see if and how the message changes as it goes around the group. By the time it reaches Hassan, who is Person 5, for instance, it might be “A grey elephant with tattered ears.”
  • Once people get the gist of how to play with one item, the facilitator adds in the second by passing it to the left.

Debrief with a chat about the communication that went on. Did anybody end up with both items at once? How did they cope? Did others help them?

Other questions include:

  • How did communication look with a longer or shorter chain? Where was the weakest link, and why?
  • In what ways did players support each other?
  • How did you feel during the game? What was the impact of that emotion on you and on others?

This exercise comes from a Teambuilding Facilitation Manual: A Guide to Leading and Facilitating Teambuilding Activities , by Penn State University.

communication tasks zanichelli

17 Exercises To Develop Positive Communication

17 Positive Communication Exercises [PDFs] to help others develop communication skills for successful social interactions and positive, fulfilling relationships.

Created by Experts. 100% Science-based.

A lot of team situations are about creativity. We each have unique experiences, competencies, and viewpoints, the way we collaborate inevitably decides whether we synergize or fall flat. Here are two activities that will help your team work together creatively to solve a problem, as well as one about the role of silence.

1. Crazy Comic

This is a fun game in communication skills that will also give team members some creative freedom. They will need to communicate those creative ideas to one another, but also engage in joint decision-making for the activity to be a success. And that activity is to create a comic together, using their complementary skills and communication to realize a shared vision.

You’ll need more than 9 participants for this activity, as well as paper, drawing, and coloring materials for each colleague. From your larger group of co-workers, let them form smaller groups of about 3-6 participants and tell them their task is to produce a unique comic strip, with one frame from each person. So, a 6-person group will make a 6-frame strip, and so forth.

Between them, they need to decide the plot of the comic, who will be carrying out which tasks, and what the frames will contain. The catch is that they all need to draw at the same time, so they will not be seeing the preceding frame in the strip. Make it extra-hard if you like, by instructing them not to look at one another’s creative progress as they draw, either.

Afterward, trigger some discussion about the way they communicated; some example questions include:

  • How critical was communication throughout this exercise?
  • What did you find the toughest about this activity?
  • Why was it important to make the decisions together?

This exercise was adapted from 104 Activities that build ( Amazon ).

2. Blindfold Rope Square

This is similar in some ways to the Back-to-Back Drawing exercise above. That is, the Blindfold Rope Square exercise challenges us to look at how we communicate verbally, then think about ways to develop our effectiveness. In a large group of participants or employees, particularly, we often need to cut through the noise with a clear and coherent message—and this game can be played with even a large group of people.

You will need about ten meters of rope and a safe place for employees to walk around blindfolded in. So, flat and ideally with no walls or tripping hazards.

  • Explain first up that the goal of the task is effective verbal communication, and give each participant a blindfold.
  • Once they have gathered in your chosen ‘safe space’, invite them to put on their blindfolds and turn around a few times so they are (reasonably) disoriented in the space.
  • Coil the rope and put it where at least one participant can reach it, then explain that you’ve put the rope ‘somewhere on the floor’.
  • Tell them their shared aim is to collaborate: first to find the rope, then to lay it out into a perfect square together on the floor.
  • Let the participants go about it, taking care not to let any accidents occur. Tell them to let you know once they’ve agreed that the job is done.
  • Finally, everybody removes their blindfolds, and it’s time for feedback. This is the perfect opportunity to congratulate them or start a discussion about what they might do differently the next time around.

Find more information on the exercise here .

3. Zen Counting

Silence is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it gives us a chance to reflect, in others it creates a space for others to take the floor. Nonetheless, we’re often inclined to view it as awkward—a gap to be filled or avoided—rather than a chance to listen. According to Shannon and Weaver’s Theory of Communication (1998), this simply creates more ‘noise’ and negatively impacts our ability to reach resolutions at work (Smith, 2018).

Zen counting is incredibly straightforward: team members simply sit in a circle but face outward. With nobody in particular starting first, they are asked to count from one to ten as a group, but each member can only say one number. Nothing else is said. When someone repeats or interrupts another group member, they start again from one.

The idea is to facilitate a sense of ‘okayness’ with being uncomfortable and silent, while team members practice letting others speak.

Imagine attending a communication workshop, in purely lecture format. Or, reading about how to communicate without actually trying what you learn. Communication exercises may not feel 100% natural at first, but they let us work with—rather than live in fear of—that discomfort. Whether it’s Chinese Whispers or making a rope square blindfolded, we can shake up old habits and create new ones by stepping into our ‘stretch zones’.

Try out activities that are best suited to your organizational goals so they have the most relevance. If you’re focused on innovation, try a creative communication exercise like Mime. If you’re a cross-functional team, why not try out an activity that challenges assumptions?

Tell us if any of these are particularly useful, and let us know if you’ve got tweaks for this current set of activities. What has worked in the past for your team?

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Communication Exercises (PDF) for free .

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  • Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117 (3), 497-529.
  • Depaulo, B. M., & Friedman, H. S. (1998). Nonverbal communication. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (pp. 3-40) . New York, NY, US: McGraw-Hill.
  • Drollinger, T., Comer, L. B., & Warrington, P. T. (2006). Development and validation of the active empathetic listening scale. Psychology & Marketing, 23 (2), 161-180.
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  • Goh, S. C. (1998). Toward a learning organization: The strategic building blocks. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 63 , 15-22.
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  • Knapp, M. L., Hall, J. A., & Horgan, T. G. (2013). Nonverbal communication in human interaction . Cengage Learning.
  • Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development . FT Press.
  • Leary, T. (2004). Interpersonal diagnosis of personality: A functional theory and methodology for personality evaluation . Wipf and Stock Publishers.
  • Maguire, P., & Pitceathly, C. (2002). Key communication skills and how to acquire them. British Medical Journal, 325 (7366), 697-700.
  • Nikolova, N., Clegg, S., Fox, S., Bjørkeng, K., & Pitsis, T. (2013). Uncertainty reduction through everyday performative language work: the case of coaching. International Studies of Management & Organization, 43 (3), 74-89.
  • Odom, R. Y., Boxx, W. R., & Dunn, M. G. (1990). Organizational cultures, commitment, satisfaction, and cohesion. Public Productivity & Management Review, 157-169 .
  • Rogers, C. R., & Farson, R. E. (1957). Active listening. Industrial Relations Center of the University of Chicago .
  • Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, cognition and personality, 9 (3), 185-211.
  • Shannon, C. E. (1998). Communication in the presence of noise. Proceedings of the IEEE, 86 (2), 447-457.
  • Smith, K. (2018). Silence: The Secret Communication Tool. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/silence-the-secret-communication-tool/
  • Tomasulo, D. J., & Pawelski, J. O. (2012). Happily ever after: The use of stories to promote positive interventions. Psychology, 3 (12), 1189.
  • Weger Jr, H., Castle Bell, G., Minei, E. M., & Robinson, M. C. (2014). The relative effectiveness of active listening in initial interactions. International Journal of Listening, 28 (1), 13-31.
  • Whitney, D., & Cooperrider, D. (2011). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change . ReadHowYouWant. com.
  • Woolley, A. W., Chabris, C. F., Pentland, A., Hashmi, N., & Malone, T. W. (2010). Evidence for a collective intelligence factor in the performance of human groups. Science, 330 (6004), 686-688.

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Very useful, insightful, and helpful. Great simple and applicable source on communication topic. Many thanks for share, and nice to looks for how far you go with other valuable topics

Shaikh Muhammad Ali - Islamabad, Pakistan

Thanks Cathy for putting up this article. It is simply amazing. I intend to use three of your exercises in my upcoming workshop on communication in the 2nd week of June, 2022 🙂


I think this is an excellent resource with a great outcome. Thanks for putting this together. Very useful for my Communicare sessions.


Such an informative article

Diana Barnett

Excellent content and I can’t wait to use some of this content as well. Crediting the source(s) of course


Thank you so much for creating and sharing these tools. I too would like to be able to utilize them as a resource for my workshop. Sources credited/included. I am a firm believer in the power of soft skills, especially listening and communication. The world will be a better place once we’ve mastered them.

Dr.Mani Arul Nandhi

Very insightful and interesting ways of training people for better workplace communication skills. Enjoyed it.

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    All participants underwent the MTL-BR Battery, excluding its written communication tasks. The data obtained in the present study were compared against results of a previous investigation of individuals with 1-4 years of education evaluated using the same MTL-BR instrument. ... Zanichelli, L., Fonseca, R. P., & Ortiz, K. Z. (2020). Influence ...

  9. The Communication Cycle

    The Communication Cycle is a six-step process for organizing and presenting a message effectively. You can apply it in all situations that involve communication, but it's most useful for important or complex communications. The process follows a cycle that includes these six steps: Clarify your aim. Compose/Encode. Transmit/Deliver. Receive ...

  10. Computer English & Communication Tasks : Giuliano Iantorno : Free

    Computer English & Communication Tasks by Giuliano Iantorno; Mario Papa. Publication date 1985 Topics corso, inglese, software, Commodore 64, course, English ... su licenza da un'opera originale di Zanichelli del 1982. Qui sono archiviati i testi e i programmi. Per le cassette audio vedi Computer English & Communication Tasks (audio). Addeddate ...

  11. ELF and Communication Strategies: Are They Taken into Account in ELT

    This article will illustrate a study investigating whether ELT materials addressed at Italian upper secondary school students include activities and tasks related to communication strategies. The examination of textbooks published by Italian and international publishers from the 1990s to 2015 shows that, apart from a few interesting cases ...

  12. How to Optimize Communication for Construction Teams

    Simplified Task Management and Tracking. Spike up levels a team's task management and tracking within construction projects. Spike handles focused discussions and task assignments among team members by allowing the creation of dedicated groups and channels. This feature ensures that tasks are communicated and responsibilities are well-defined.

  13. Innovation and tradition in ELT textbooks in Italy in the 1980s and

    At the end of the 1970s, the conservative Italian scenario of foreign language teaching witnessed various innovations. The process of change was prompted by a reform of the national school syllabus for lower secondary school that advocated a new and comprehensive approach to language education. After an overview of the main tenets underlying this approach, the chapter focuses on "reflection ...


    NEW COMMUNICATION TASKS di Giuliano Iantorno, Mario Papa. Bisogni Educativi Speciali. La nostra proposta per i Bisogni Educativi Speciali

  15. Referential Communication Tasks

    These might be real world tasks encountered in everyday experience or pedagogical tasks specifically designed for second language classroom use. This volume comprehensively documents and describes the veritable explosion of task-based research in language acquisition.

  16. UBS's Ermotti Says His Term as CEO Could Stretch to 2027 (1)

    UBS Group AG Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti said that he intends to stay at the helm of the Swiss bank until the task of absorbing Credit Suisse is complete, meaning his second stint leading the global wealth manager could stretch to almost four years.

  17. What Is Effective Communication? Skills for Work, School, and Life

    Effective communication is the process of exchanging ideas, thoughts, opinions, knowledge, and data so that the message is received and understood with clarity and purpose. When we communicate effectively, both the sender and receiver feel satisfied. Communication occurs in many forms, including verbal and non-verbal, written, visual, and ...

  18. Important Communication Skills and How to Improve Them

    Try incorporating their feedback into your next chat, brainstorming session, or video conference. 4. Prioritize interpersonal skills. Improving interpersonal skills —or your ability to work with others—will feed into the way you communicate with your colleagues, managers, and more.

  19. Approaching Difficult Communication Tasks in Oncology 1

    identify key communication tasks. These tasks outline a cognitive map of communication that physicians can follow during a patient's expe-rience with cancer. While this cognitive map cannot replace skills practice and feedback, it can provide a useful starting point for improv-ing communication skills for physicians and other clinicians.

  20. Amazon's Cloud Chief Is Stepping Down After Three Years in Job

    Amazon.com Inc.'s newly named cloud chief, Matt Garman, inherits a $100-billion-a-year business that's as profitable as it has ever been. He also faces the daunting task of retaining the cloud ...


    Giuliano Iantorno Mario Papa Luisa Zatti COMMUNICATION TASKS LUCIDI CON SOLUZIONI di Luisa Zatti per Workbook 1 UNITS 1-13 + Summer Revision Prima edizione. 1987; Note: Volume 1 1987, Volume 2 1988, Volume 3 1988. I lucidi dell'insegnante per correggere i compiti di casa.

  22. Apple to Power AI Tools With In-House Server Chips This Year

    The company is placing high-end chips — similar to ones it designed for the Mac — in cloud-computing servers designed to process the most advanced AI tasks coming to Apple devices, according ...

  23. Communication Skills: Explained with Examples and Definitions

    It involves expressing yourself clearly, listening actively, understanding non-verbal cues, and adapting communication to different situations. Strong Communication Skills enable individuals to build positive relationships, collaborate effectively, resolve conflicts, and convey messages with impact . Communication Skills encompass verbal and ...

  24. Mario Papa

    New Commucation Tasks, Zanichelli, Bologna 1988 Altri autori. Autore Skills and Meanings, Zanichelli Bologna 1986 Autori ... Computer English & Communication Tasks, Beatrice d'Este, Milano 1985 Altri autori. Autore The identikit game, in "Practical English Teaching", June 1984, pp. 17-20 1984 ...

  25. Dubai's Financial Center Expects 'Busiest Year' as Firms Rush In

    Dubai's financial center is expecting a record number of firms to set up in the Middle East business hub this year after attracting hedge fund heavyweights such as Millennium Management and ...


    Giuliano Iantorno Mario Papa NEW COMMUNICATION TASKS Seconda edizione. 1988; Note: Student's Book , Workbook 1 , Workbook 2 , Workbook 3 , Confezione 6 audiocassette , Audiocassetta allievi (dialoghi) , Teacher's Guide , Audiocassetta Songs . " "New Communication Tasks" è un corso di lingua inglese indirizzato agli studenti delle scuole italiane.

  27. 15 Communication Exercises and Games for the Workplace

    These interpersonal and team communication games cover topics such as misinterpreting information, awareness of our assumptions and engaging others. 1. Direction Direction. This activity is a slight twist on Chinese Whispers in that it uses a complex set of instructions rather than just a sentence.

  28. New Wave of LNG Terminals to Boost Europe's Lagging Hydrogen Use

    Floating terminals to import natural gas allowed Europe to overcome the worst of the energy crisis. Their next task could be to help the continent's sluggish hydrogen markets take off.