Everyone thinks that they’re a good listener, but that’s not always true. Good listening takes concentration, and the good news is that it’s a skill you can master. Teachers will expect you to be paying attention. Concentrate on what’s being communicated and make eye contact with people when in conversation – this will also help you remember what was said later on.
If you’re not sure of something, just ask for help or for a further explanation. Remember: there’s no such thing as a stupid question if you don’t know the answer! Stick your hand up – you can bet you’re not the only one who doesn’t know. You may be the only one brave enough to ask.
Assertive communication means standing up for your needs and beliefs, without behaving passively or aggressively. It’s a good communication style, and definitely one to practise.
It would include things like:
Listening to others without interrupting
Having an appropriate speaking volume
Having a steady tone of voice
Having confident body language
Keeping eye contact
Clearly stating your needs or point of view in a calm manner
Think about what you want to say. Know what you can get across clearly, and come up with specific words and sentences you can use. This will help you stay calm if you feel you might get nervous.
It’s not always easy, but being aggressive, sarcastic or giving the silent treatment are never the best way of making a point. Recognise your emotions and express them in a calm or a factual manner. People won’t necessarily know how you feel, so just tell them. You might be surprised by their reaction.
You can’t say yes all the time or keep everyone happy. It’s okay to say no sometimes – just do so clearly, without lying or over-explaining. Maybe there’s an alternative solution.