Monthly Archives: October 2017

Getting the message across: interpersonal communication

By Ben Oakley

If you only have a hammer in your tool box, then everything is a nail.

In other words, you approach every job in exactly the same way. Hammer it in. If it doesn’t need hammering, tough luck – hammer it anyway.

Now apply this to communication. Do you approach every situation in exactly the same way? Or do you vary your approach according to the requirements of the situation and the needs of the people involved? Which of these approaches do you think an employer would prefer?

Knowing yourself: a self-evaluation questionnaire

A key part of effective communication is being able to evaluate your own communication strengths and weaknesses and beginning to understand how others perceive you. One tool that can help is use of a short one page self-evaluation questionnaire (see link below). You may complete this yourself but it would be more powerful if you also asked trusted friends or colleagues to also rate your skills.

Communication Skills: Self-Evaluation Questionnaire

We are not presenting this as a golden nugget solution to communication; however, it will help you begin to identify how you interact. Developing self-awareness is a feature of those who are able to effectively communicate.

Ideally you might also complete the questionnaire and think about the subtlety different ways you respond to different groups such as work or classmates compared to closer friends.

Any feedback on this questionnaire would be gratefully received.

Conference: Competing in the Dark – Mental Health in Sport, The Open University, Milton Keynes, 21st March 2018

On Wednesday 21st March 2018 the Open University Sport and Fitness Team will be hosting their 3rd annual conference. This year’s conference will be exploring the contemporary issue of mental health in sport.

While top level athletes are often idolised and portrayed as figures of supreme physical and mental strength, more and more are speaking out about the mental health challenges they have faced. This conference seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues in sport and explore contemporary research in the field and strategies to support athletes.

Confirmed speakers

  • Olympic Gold Medallist (hockey) Helen Richardson-Walsh
  • Kitrina Douglas and David Carless (Leeds Beckett University)
  • Richard Bryan (Rugby Players’ Association)
  • Jessie Barr (University of Limerick)

Click here to view the conference booklet and programme


** Registration for the conference is now closed, but we are hoping to provide a live stream of keynote speakers for OU staff and students on the day here and we will share some videos from the conference on this blog after the event **

To register for the conference please complete the online registration form on the link below. Details on how to pay for the conference can be found here.

Online Registration Form

The delegate fees are listed below:

  • Standard = £110
  • Early bird = £100 (available up to Friday 12th January 2018)
  • Student = £50
  • OU Student = £20

(fee includes lunch and refreshments)

Oral and poster presentations

Academics, researchers, students and professionals are invited to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations that relate to mental health in sport. We are particularly interested in submissions that relate to the negative impact of sport on mental health, rather than those that focus on sport and exercise as a strategy to improve mental health.

Please submit your abstract (maximum of 250 words) on the form below to:

Competing in the Dark Conference – Abstract Submission Form

  • Deadline for oral presentation abstracts = Friday 5th January 2018
  • Deadline for poster presentation abstracts = Sunday 4th February 2018


There is a prize worth £100 for the best poster presentation (sponsored by Switch the Play)

Advertising opportunities

Opportunities are available to advertise in the conference programme and abstracts booklet, which will be provided to all delegates. For more information on this please contact

Conference updates


To keep up to date on conference developments please follow us on Twitter @OU_SportConf