Want to boost your impact in and out of the classroom? Make your words matter with effective verbal communication skills!

Because educators are building, creating, and sharing knowledge with others, it's important to know how to speak and listen well.

Effective communication will boost your impact in and out of the classroom whether you're a teacher, administrator, or school board member.

A man says,

In developing verbal communication skills, consider:

  1. How do you present your content with effective communication?

  2. How do you ensure your students understand what they learn?

  3. Does building relationships increase the impact of your work?

  4. How do you show your students that you're listening to them?

Build upon these four aspects of verbal communication to enhance your educational career.

#1: Presenting content and ideas with others

An essential aspect of communication lies in how you deliver and explain information. What you present should not only be understood by others but also accessible to all learners.

A teacher demonstrates verbal communication skills by saying to the class, The content and ideas you present should be accurate, clear,and inclusive of various forms of learning.

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When presenting content, you should...

  • ensure that all of your information is correct and up-to-date

  • simplify the information to include the most important points

  • speak loud and clear so all can hear

  • use simple language and vocabulary

  • share your information in various formats

  • engage with the audience

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Tips to develop this skill:

  • cross-reference your information with other sources for accuracy

  • use bullet points to highlight the most important facts

  • practice what you'll be presenting so you can speak with confidence

  • use a microphone if needed

  • use multimedia tools (examples, videos, images, data, subtitles) for visual and auditory support

  • make eye contact, use hand gestures, and walk around


Mr. Pham teaches biology. There are a few French students in his class who are English language learners. Which strategy should Mr. Pham use to best ensure his content is accessible to all learners?

#2: Scaffolding students' understanding

When students struggle to understand a concept, break the information down by scaffolding. Scaffolding involves supporting students and slowly withdrawing support as they become more competent. Build students' confidence through guided practice before they can do it on their own.

Homer Simpson says,

Use effective verbal communication skills to break down information by avoiding overloading information, reducing unnecessary details, and addressing areas of confusion.

Flaticon Icon Scaffolding includes providing...

  • guiding questions ("How would you...", "Why do you think...")

  • feedback on areas of improvement

  • examples and step-by-step instructions

  • think time to process information

  • opportunities for collaboration

Flaticon Icon Tips to develop this skill:

  • ask the five Ws (who, what, when, where, why) and how

  • give specific tips that will help learners overcome their areas of confusion

  • provide action steps and practice for students to implement your feedback

  • allow learners to discuss ideas and work on problems in groups


Miranda is working on an activity analyzing the effectiveness of a political speech. She is struggling to find key techniques that make the speech powerful and has struggled with similar tasks before. What are some ways to guide her to thorough analysis?

#3: Building relationships with others

Teaching is a social career that runs on positive relationships. According to the University of Missouri, positive teacher-student relationships result in more engaged and motivated students. When students feel genuine care and support from someone they look up to, they present and perform as their best selves.

Two coworkers share a fistbump.

Don't just teach the content — talk to the students and get to know them! Verbal communication skills are key to building relationships by establishing trust and positive rapport.

Flaticon Icon Positive relationships involve:

  • greeting students in the classroom and around campus

  • understanding students as unique individuals (know their names and interests)

  • getting involved in students' activities on campus (clubs, sports games)

  • letting students know you as a person rather than just a teacher

Flaticon Icon Tips to develop this skill:

  • say hello when students enter the classroom or walk around campus

  • play icebreakers that allow students to know one another (classmate bingo, two truths and a lie)

  • volunteer as a club advisor or attend students' sports games to show support

  • sharing your personality through your attitude and classroom decor

#4: Active listening and reflecting

Strong verbal communication is a reciprocal process of speaking and listening. When students have something to share, listen actively.

Active listening involves focusing on what the speaker is saying, reflecting on their words, and responding appropriately. This engages everyone in a meaningful conversation and makes it clear that you are here for them.

A judge nods with the caption

Focusing on the conversation helps you understand the speaker's point of view. Pausing to reflect after the person finishes speaking avoids a judgemental reaction or opinion. With a clear mind and understanding of what was said, respond appropriately and contribute to the conversation.

Flaticon Icon Active listening includes:

  • focusing on the speaker's words and feelings

  • avoiding interrupting or being distracted

  • waiting for the speaker to finish before sharing your thoughts

  • using non-verbal communication to show engagement

Flaticon Icon Tips to develop this skill:

  • validate the speaker's feelings to have them feel heard

  • converse in a peaceful environment with fewer distractions

  • avoid jumping to conclusions and providing an opinion right away

  • use positive body language (eye contact, nodding)

Take Action

A career in education is rewarding because you get to interact with learners like you. Sharing what you know and can do to support others is key because it is a skill that will grow with your career.

Whether you're a teacher, administrator, or school board member, developing strong verbal communication skills will help you and your learners build and share knowledge with the world.

A man smiles and says,

Amplify your career in education with effective communication by:


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