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1.2.2 Speaking and Listening Skills

Speaking and listening skills range from a requirement to understand simple language, through to the interpretation of and delivery of complex and highly persuasive verbal argument. Included is the verbal interpretation of foreign languages.

Table 1.2.2 Speaking and Listening Skills


May require ordinary courtesy and politeness. The minimum requirement is a need to understand simple verbal instructions or convey simple messages. Jobs include labourer, messenger, process worker, simple equipment operation.


Requires ordinary courtesy and politeness, and giving or exchanging straightforward, standardised information (eg catalogued prices, time-table information) on a one-on-one or small group situation to customers, the general public, or other employees. Jobs include receptionist, booking clerk, telemarketer, order taker.


Requires the ability to exchange information of a more complex or detailed nature, to give explanations and elicit information; to speak and present non-controversial, straightforward, factual information effectively before groups of clients, the general public, or other employees. Jobs include accounts receivable/credit clerk, tour guide, junior sales/selling positions.


Requires ability to gain co-operation from others to achieve a specific immediate outcome. Able to reflect empathy with others, be aware of body language, and to gauge emotions. Jobs include minor supervisory and most sales positions.


Requires ability to inform, influence, gain co-operation from, persuade, and motivate others to a particular point of view so as to have effect for the longer term. Able to effectively present material that are primarily facts, but includes some subjective assessment, to groups of management level employees in the organisation, customers, clients and the general public. Jobs include major supervisory, teaching, senior sales representative, and most professional level positions. Included at this level is the verbal interpretation of foreign languages.


Requires ability to inform, persuade, convince, and negotiate with others towards achievement of a broad organisational goal (eg adoption of a labour agreement, new product launch, implementation of new maintenance philosophy, or a particular marketing program); ability to effectively present factual information or propositions to top management, public groups, government agencies, significant clients, customers or suppliers, or labour representatives. Jobs include major region sales manager, industrial advocate, lawyer, company secretary, head of the human resources function, quality assurance and other high level specialist positions such as in tax, information technology, logistics, public affairs, international affairs, economics, market research, product development, and engineering.


Requires ability to inform, persuade, convince, and negotiate with others towards achievement of a significant and major organisational goal (eg acquisition, divestment, capital restructure, significant capital investment, product diversification, adoption of a new product/service delivery process); ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to top management, public groups, boards of directors, government agencies, major clients and customers, shareholders or labour representatives. Jobs include CEO's of medium sized organisations, national sales manager, chief counsel, and heads of major organisational functions such as finance, production or service delivery, research and development.


Requires ability to lead, motivate, counsel, and negotiate on difficult and complex situations at the highest business, political or personal impact level. Jobs include senior government officials, government ministers, CEO of major organisations.


Requires ability to negotiate highly sensitive and complex issues, possibly of an international nature, in an environment of conflicting economic, political, ethical, and cultural forces. Jobs include senior foreign affairs officials, senior government ministers, heads of international bodies, and CEOs of multinational corporations.

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