• communicate clearly “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” Rollo May

    We are communicating-for better or worse-exponentially more than ever before. Whether we communicate through text message, social media, Email or SnapChat, the ability to leverage a wide array of communication tools purposefully and effectively is increasingly more important in the workplace. The data collected from regional employers was telling: They ranked communication as one of the top 4 work skills and described it as deficient in the existing work force! 

    We broadly define communication as,

    • the use of effective interpersonal skills during conversations and discussions to build positive relationships;
    • delivering clear, concise and accurate ideas through spoken and written words using appropriate technologies and formats; and,
    • listening to decipher meaning including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions. 

    The link between communication and collaboration is evident. How does one collaborate if they do not possess effective communication skills? Thomas Friedman, in his book The World Is Flat, reveals the essence of a “flat” world where traditional hierarchies are replaced by global partnerships and collaboration. These global partnerships redefine the workplace and the skills necessary to succeed. Regional employers said the ability to work with others was essential and sorely lacking in today’s workforce. 

    So, what do we mean by collaboration? Students skilled in collaboration can,

    • demonstrate the ability to work effectively and respectfully across diverse teams;
    • exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a goal;
    • assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member; and,
    • work productively in teams for sustained periods of time to develop high quality products.

    Why are communication and collaboration so important? The McKinsey Global Institute published a study finding that increasing communication and collaboration through internal and external social technology platforms could potentially add over 1 trillion dollars of value by increasing the productivity of high-skill knowledge workers. Student who can effectively communicate and collaborate will be highly valuable in the workplace of the 21st century.


    Back to Portrait of a Graduate

Engaging in Conversations & Discussions

Performance Area


Communication: Engaging in Conversations & Discussions COM 1

I utilize effective interpersonal skills (listening, questioning, body-language, feedback) during conversations to build and maintain positive working relationships with collaborators.

Communication: Engaging in Conversations & Discussions COM 2

I ask questions or make statements to enhance the collective understanding of the concept, theme, or problem, and help the collaborators think more deeply about the discussion topic.

Communication: Engaging in Conversations & Discussions COM 3

I participate in the discussion using diplomacy, without becoming argumentative or defensive.

Communication: Engaging in Conversations & Discussions COM 4

I deliver feedback in a respectful manner.

Communication: Engaging in Conversations & Discussions COM 5

I am consistently positive during collaboration. I value others' opinions and ideas.

Using Digital Communication Tools

Performance Area


Communication: Using Digital Communication Tools COM 6

I consistently develop a clear and concise message when communicating digitally.

Communication: Using Digital Communication Tools COM 7

I consistently communicate effectively using digital tools that are appropriate to task, audience, and purpose. My communication exhibits a level of professionalism and formality.

Effective Listening

Performance Area


Communication: Effective Listening COM 8

Through actively listening, I make logical inferences and draw conclusions that show my understanding.

Communication: Effective Listening COM 9

I listen actively by providing verbal or nonverbal feedback to indicate that the message was received and to show understanding.

Communication: Effective Listening COM 10

I follow guidelines for effective listening (e.g., listens to others with care, speaks one at a time, and “shares the air”).

Communicating in Diverse Environments

Performance Area


Communication: Communicating in Diverse Environments COM 11

I show respect for diverse perspectives (e.g., genders, races, cultures, religion, backgrounds).

Delivering Oral Presentations

Performance Area


Communication: Delivering Oral Presentations COM 12

I accurately and confidently answer questions from the audience due to my preparation.

Communication: Delivering Oral Presentations COM 13

I communicate in a focused, clear manner with an appropriate amount of evidence.

Communication: Delivering Oral Presentations COM 14

I use most of the verbal/nonverbal techniques that are appropriate for task, audience, and purpose. Eye Contact; Posture; Speak Clearly; Volume; Rate of Speech; Intonation; Hand Gestures; Visual Aids (utilitze the slides/visual aid, not read the slides/visual aids); Appropriate vocabulary for the topic/subject.

Communication: Delivering Oral Presentations COM 15

I incorporate digital media and/or visual aids to enhance audience understanding and add interest.


Performance Area


Communication: Self-Regulation/Reflection COM 16

I consistently reflect on the success of my communication. (ISTE 3c)