Checklist of Observation Skills in Communication

Updated March 27, 2017

Observation checklists to monitor communication trends in groups are a useful tool if you are moderating a discussion or observing a discussion, classroom or a group of people communicating. These are best employed when are you are not an active participant in what is being observed and can be completely detached from the group. Print the checklist and keep track of its components as the group's communication progresses.


General activity levels and indicators of mood should be observed at the beginning of the communication. Line items in the checklist should include measurement of body language, level of indicated interest, level of initial engagement and level of initial focus. Also observe and measure traits such as confidence and self-reliance.

Interaction with Subject

Assess the degree to which group members are interacting about the subject. You are looking to determine if the observed party spends more time interacting about the task or subject at hand or about off-topic subjects. Also be sure to create a line item for appropriate activity level and score each participant based on a sliding scale of, say, 1 through 10, where 10 indicates the highest level of appropriate activity.

Interaction with Others

How group members interact with one another can provide key social indicators and insights into how well certain individuals work with other group members and if they are able to establish themselves as a leader. Create line items on the checklist for things such as asking questions, expressing interest, sharing relevant information, active listening, discussing ideas diplomatically, answering questions and observing the behaviours of others in the group.

Teamwork Abilities

Some individuals thrive when they work by themselves while others need to rely on team members to help pull together a project or complete a task. Create line items on your communications checklist that ensure you are observing one's ability to think independently, to act independently, to contribute to an end product, to provide constructive criticism and to see if they are disruptive to the group or facilitate creativity and discussion.

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About the Author

Peter Grant has been a professional writer since 1998 and software engineer since 1995. He has contributed to academic papers, open-source software projects and technical documentation across several industries. Grant holds a master's degree in public policy from National University.