28 Sep Modern Governor Core Skills collection: Communication skills
This week Modern Governor is launching the second collection of its Core Skills e-learning modules. This collection is entitled Communication Skills and, as the name suggests, gives governors and trustees e-learning modules to help them improve their skills in communicating – both within and beyond their governing board.
Skills at the heart of the government’s agenda
Since the first collection of Core Skills modules – Working with others – was released, we’ve seen Lord Nash announce the skills for governors is one of two core areas on which the government is focused on during this Parliament.
Our emphasis on Core Skills predates this announcement and is based around the belief that being a ‘professional’ governor isn’t about being paid, but about taking a professional approach to everything we do as governors. To this end, any governing board subscribing to Modern Governor will get access to the full range of Core Skills modules as part of their subscription at no extra cost to enable them to broaden and deepen their professional capabilities where required – by accessing a range of transferable skills. This is the first batch of modules in the Communication Skills collection and it’s anticipated that this collection will grow in the coming year.
Communication skills and leadership
“Communication is the real work of leadership”
Nitin Nohria, Dean of Harvard Business School
You can be part of the most informed, Governors’ Handbook-savvy, board, but ultimately if you can’t communicate what all of that knowledge means for your school, then providing the strategic leadership an institution requires will be a challenge. This isn’t just about communicating to the wider school community, it’s also about communication among your board members. These modules in the intial release of Communication Skills offer governors and trustees a number of opportunities to improve their communication skills:
The module on Assertive Communication will help you examine issues around assertiveness, work in a more assertive way to get your point across and find compromises more easily.
As governors we are often subject to conflicting pressures and priorities, yet need to work effectively as a board of governors to achieve the best outcomes for those for whom our institution is tasked with educating, supporting and employing. Assertiveness is the word that describes a range of skills giving the following benefits:
- Being honest with yourself and others
- Saying what you want and feel; but not at the expense of others
- Showing confidence and positive behaviour
- Being prepared to move towards a workable compromise
- Respecting the rights and needs of others
- Looking for ‘I win, you win’ opportunities
Many people would not put being able to write well at the top of their key-skills list – yet writing is still the primary communication medium in most organisations. As governors we tend to meet infrequently and therefore effective writing skills are important in being able to respond to emails and paper documents which ask for your comments or response.
Being able to write effectively saves time, effort and frustration and in this module you will learn how to develop your writing skills and write effectively.
Public Speaking Skills
It may not be a core function of your role as a governor or trustee, but there may be times when you are required to present to parents, staff or other members of the school’s community and beyond. It can be a daunting prospect, but in this module you will explore how to prepare, organise, structure and ultimately deliver your message with confidence.
Through case studies based in the fictitious school of Wickstafford Primary, you will address the two main instances of public speaking that a governor might encounter – addressing meetings such as a parents’ forum, including dealing with reactions, and how to prepare and deliver a pre-arranged presentation to a committee or other audience. With the help of your own virtual coach, we’ll also offer some insight into coping with the unexpected.
Spelling, Grammar & Punctuation
This Modern Governor Core Skills e-learning module covers common mistakes in written English – from puzzling punctuation to sneaky spellings. You may not have to write reports or contribute to documents in your role as a governor, but this refresher should help you to ensure your written communications (including emails, social media updates and reports) are of the highest possible standard.
Working with the Media
Handling and dealing with the media can at times be essential for a school’s leadership team, including governors. The public’s perception of a school can be shaped through media channels – including social media – and many people, including future, present and past members of the school community, will get their information through these channels.
Using case studies based around the virtual town of Wickstafford, and in particular its High School, this module will demonstrate how to work well with the media, how to deal effectively with negative reporting, and how to manage a crisis.
We would recommend that, alongside this module, you complete the main Modern Governor module on School Governors and Social Media for a fuller picture of governors’ interactions with the world through all kinds of media.
Look out for further Core Skills collections
As mentioned this is the second collection of Core Skills modules and there will be further collections released this term. If your governing board is a subscriber to Modern Governor, then you can access the modules immediately – just log in. These modules are there for you to dip in to according to your needs – you may find modules which will help you at work or in other areas of your life – dive right in and use them, we believe that more confident, capable people can be more effective as governors, so feel free to use the modules as you see fit.
If you’d like to find out more about the modules then sign up for a free 30 day trial and you’ll get access to three on governance from the main Modern Governor e-learning catalogue plus two Core Skills modules. This term we’ll be detailing each new Core Skills collection here on the Modern Governor blog, so if you sign up to receive the posts by email then you’ll know the day they’re released, or you can simply browse all of the posts on Core Skills to explore what’s on offer.