2020-04-10

Let’s talk about soft skills: Communication and Active Listening

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Soft Skills Certificate Communication and Active Listening Soft Skills Certificate Communication and Active Listening Milena Sapey

Communication and active listening implicates the capacity of understanding verbal and non-verbal messages, and make questions to get a deeper understanding of the situation. This involves answering questions as well as giving and receiving constructive feedback.

Communication is not only an important skill we have to develop, but it's also vital to improve other soft skills such as assertiveness, empathy, and teamwork.

We are constantly thinking about what do we need to communicate and how to do it. To do so, we have to get a wider understanding of the context, we need to listen to others. There's no communication without analysis and active listening, it is a two-way path.

Communication is extremely related to some fears volunteers have when volunteering abroad: How can I communicate in a different language? Can I break the language barrier?

Before starting with the project we have an introductory talk where we talk about volunteer's doubts, expectations, and fears. In this scenario, we remind volunteers of a few things about communication:

First, you are not alone: communication is to bond with others, so it's important to think about it in a collectivist perspective. People at the projects are used to work with volunteers, and despite being Spanish speakers they have developed communication and active listening skills like no other.

Second, we have to stop thinking about communication and listening verbally: sometimes body language is more effective, it's just that we are not used to it. A great example of this is how we relate with children that haven't develop language yet.

Third, we have to take the initiative and be creative, there are so many ways we can bond with people and so many tools we can use. For example, showing pictures of your country, your home, and traditional food can be really enriching. You can also play some music or use some translation tools if there is something more complex you want to communicate right away.

Finally, we encourage volunteers to learn about the country and the community where you are volunteering, which will help you to understand some habits and traditions.

As an organization, we are always willing to help volunteers with these problems and we are available to figure out ways of solving them together. Communication and active listening require lots of patience and determination, and volunteering can definitely help you develop these skills.

Here are some thoughts from former volunteers:

“When I first came here and it was a lot of Spanish at first and like I said I’m not fluent in the language. So the language barrier was really tough and just being in a new environment I felt like a fish out of water, but as I started to talk to the ladies in the kitchen and get into a routine I felt a bit more comfortable. I would say defiantly getting out of your comfort zone is important and I guess I’ve really seen how collectivist it is, coming from the US it’s a really individualist culture and here it’s very collectivist so it doesn’t really matter who you are and what you do in the kitchen or even if you make mistakes just as long as your helping, were all working towards the same goal. There was a lot of times where I was really self conscious about things and then I realized it didn’t really matter and they didn’t care so I would say I’ve seen how collectivist it is and I will take more of that behavior with me back. All the workers always give me a kiss and always greet me and some of the people who have done that I’ve never even actually spoken to. I guess I would just reinforce that no matter who you are you’re always welcome here.”

“Voluntario Global enables its comms volunteers to meet so many new people on all of the different projects and with that comes situations where you’ll find yourselves in conversations, piecing together your broken spanish and trying to communicate with someone who knows no English. You’ll be throwing yourself in at the deep end, but it’s undoubtedly the best way to learn.”

  • Eleanor Confrey, Communications volunteer
Read 2088 times

Related items

November 10th: Tradition Day in Argentina

Tradition Day is celebrated in Argentina in commemoration of the birth of the writer and journalist José Hernández, on November 10, 1834, who composed El Gaucho Martín Fierro, a lyrical work that occupies the summit of gaucho literature. This day is a good opportunity to reflect on traditions and their changes over time. Therefore, we share some reflections of Leonor Acuña, professor and researcher at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) about tradition:

Women in Argentine history: Juana Manso, pioneer of education and much more

Juana wrote poetry and literature; she was a translator of multiple languages; she founded her own newspaper; she created and directed schools; she digitized innovative educational policies; she fought for women's rights becoming a precursor of feminism in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. She suffered exile, poverty, and the difficulties of supporting her two daughters alone.

Volunteer ambassador: Tony Lehtimäki

From: Sweden

Birthday March 28, 1994

Volunteered in the Summer Camp for kids in 2019. 

Studied at EAE Business School & Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Women in Argentine history: Aimé Painé, the fighter for the Mapuche identity.

Known as the Mapuche Princess, Olga Elisa Painé was born on August 23, 1943, in Ing. Luis Huergo (Río Negro) and died at the age of 44 in Asunción, Paraguay. Her parents could not register her with a Mapuche name in a system that denied the existence of native peoples as such.

Did you know Maria Remedios Del Valle? The mother of the homeland

We always share historical fragments on patriotic days or historical commemorations, but these facts usually describe events led by men. However, in Argentine history, as in history in general, there were many women who fought. In these publications, we will share the stories of many women who are part of Argentine and Latin American history. Today: Maria Remedios Del Valle

Volunteer ambassador: Anya Meave

FromUnited States

Birthday: December 13, 1980 

Volunteered in Teaching English Online in 2021. 

Studied at the University of North Texas, Applied Anthropology Graduate Program.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Online volunteering: Anya's experience

Anya tells us about her experience teaching English online. She volunteered for 2 months teaching in two English institutes and organizing special workshops every Friday.

#3J NI UNA MENOS

A new June 3 in pandemic, without taking to the streets, but expressing our voices. We demand a feminist judicial reform, a stop to impunity. No more femicides and trans-travesticides. 

Login to post comments