Chapter 3: Communication Skills


Effective communication embodies the ability to receive and convey information, ideas and messages in ways that are effective and appropriate to the situation.

Introduction (Why is it important?):

Trying to teach communication is often difficult and trying for supervisors.  As supervisors, we hope they have the basic professional skill set for the workplace.  Yet, often times, for our student employees, this is their first exposure to a professional workplace.  It is imperative to help facilitate the growth and development of this skill set with your student employees. The following information will help focus your attention on what to address with your student employees around communication. The ability of students to express and interpret information and use information resources and technology is key in our information driven world. 

Learning Objectives

Students will learn the basic types of listening and response styles, as well as proper communication techniques for interacting with customers through phone, e-mail or in person:

Skills Development:

Here are some common tasks involved through student employment offices that involve customer service in relation to communication:  

So, how does this relate to your student employment job?

Here are a few examples from student employee jobs here on campus:

Student Job on CampusCollaboration Method
Career Services Front Desk ReceptionAnswering the phone and being able to address and direct appropriately.  Being able to answer questions about the services for this department. 
Recreational Services - Gym AttendantGreeting visitors as they come to use the gym.  Learning the “repeat”/daily students/guests coming in the front doors to the gym and remembering his/her name.  
Accessibility Resource Center (ARC)Directing and responding to questions in various methods: utilizing hearing impaired phones, Texting, Instant Messaging, computer generated systems to assist students/guests.  
Women’s Resource Center (WRC)Email etiquette:  Being able to professionally and courteously answer all email inquiries and represent the WRC.   
Student Activities CenterSocial Media – being able to update and use the various social networking and marketing sites in a professional way to reach students, staff and faculty on events sponsored by Student Activities Center.  
Dean of Students OfficeConflict resolution:  Being able to handle situations that may be stressful or crisis oriented in a professional and sensitive way.  May include understanding FERPA laws, sensitivity and confidentiality policies as well as being able to direct students in appropriate ways.

Here are how your academic classes can also help you learn effective critical thinking skills:

Your classes will add to your skill set – and help you be more effective while working in your student employment position.  

ClassesProfessionalism Skills Developed
English 110, 112, 113 and 120 Learn how to interview, write reports/papers and give oral presentations.
CJ 130 (Public Speaking)Learning the professional way to present information to groups through speech.
Phil 156 (Reasoning and Critical Thinking)Ability to see both sides and understand how to critically think while presenting your ideas to individuals and groups.