Our most important subject in school?
My 16-year-old emerged from his English Language GCSE exam the other day and climbed into the car with a lop-sided grin, exclaiming “That was just the most pointless exam ever!” Well, considering the intricacies of his Maths and Science exams, together with the exhaustive level of detail and analysis required for History, English Lit and Drama, he may well have a point. But he was also missing the point because, on the most basic level, as human beings we need to be able to communicate with each other and, to do that effectively, we need to have a good command over the language with which we do that. So, whilst English Language, as a GCSE subject, may seem a bit of a ‘softer’ option to some, it nevertheless helps to provide the building blocks required to enable us to become effective communicators with one another.
Language is the bedrock of communication
As a PR consultant, my business is all about communication. In the first instance, I need to be able to be clear about what I can (and cannot) do for my clients. And no journalist wants to have to rewrite a press-release littered with typos and grammatical errors. But as I discussed the relative merits of the English Language GCSE with my son on the drive home, I realised that although that particular exam was all about the written word, the subject itself is much broader. Because if you can write eloquently, then you can probably speak even more so, particularly if you take the time to gather your thoughts the way you would when you are, say, writing an essay.
Communicating through storytelling
The English language, and how it is used, has a particular resonance with me in my business as a communicator. Probably now more than ever actually, as I will be hosting the second Business Diaries Tunbridge Wells on July 5th at the Hotel Du Vin, then a fortnight later on July 18th at the Mercure Hotel in Pembury, co-hosting a one-day storytelling workshop alongside public-speaking coach Aly Harrold. Both of these events emphasise how public speaking, and being able to tell our stories lucidly and eloquently, are of such key importance in business today. I have mentioned before that we all have a story to tell. I truly believe that. I also believe that the better you know your own language, the easier you will find it to communicate that story to your audience, whoever and wherever it may be.
So yes, my son may have been right in believing that his English Language exam was something of an easy ride compared with some of his other subjects. But maybe that was because he already has a pretty decent command of his mother tongue and through our encouragement to read from an early age, to share his thoughts and opinions and his schooling, he has a good working knowledge of how to construct and tell a good story, on paper at least.
For more information on the events please click on the links below