The Communication Merit Badge: Your Ultimate Guide In 2020


The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is essential for achieving success in the ‘real world’. To earn the Eagle-required Communication merit badge, you’ll need to examine your own communication methods, deliver a speech, conduct an interview, organize an event, and much more!

In this guide, I’ll be helping you complete the Communication merit badge projects and answer all of the knowledge requirements so that you can complete the worksheet and earn your next merit badge! Personally, I felt Communication was one of the hardest Eagle-required badges. Be ready. The skills you’ll learn are worth the difficulty you’ll face!

If you have other Eagle-required merit badges to earn, you should check out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to my other merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I’m certain this resource will be helpful to scouts on their road to Eagle!

Also, remember that ScoutSmarts should just serve as your starting point for merit badge research. In school, we’re taught not to plagiarize, and the same is true for Scouting worksheets. Answer these questions in your own words, do further research, and I promise you’ll gain much more from every merit badge you earn!

Now it’s time to get started. Thoroughly read through each requirement of the Communication merit badge. Then, I’ll be helping you to plan your projects and improve your communication skills so that you can earn this important Eagle-required badge!

What Are The Communication Merit Badge Requirements?

  1. Do ONE of the following:
    • 1a. For one day, keep a log in which you describe your communication activities. Keep track of the time and different ways you spend communicating, such as talking person-to-person, listening to teachers, the radio, or podcasts, watching television, using social media, reading books and other print media, and using any electronic communication device. Discuss with your counselor what your log reveals about the importance of communication in your life. Think of ways to improve your communications skills.
    • 1b. For three days, keep a journal of your listening experiences. Identify one example of each of the following, and discuss with your counselor when you have listened to:
      Obtain information
      -Be persuaded
      -Appreciate or enjoy something
      -Understand someone’s feelings
    • 1c. In a small-group setting, meet with other scouts or with friends. Have them share personal stories about significant events in their lives that affected them in some way. Take note of how each scout participates in the group discussion and how effectively each Scout communicates their story. Report what you have learned to your counselor about the differences you observed in effective communication.
    • 1d. List as many ways as you can think of to communicate with others (face-to-face, by telephone, letter, e-mail, text messages, social media, and so on). For each type of communication discuss with your counselor an instance when that method might not be appropriate or effective.
  2. Do ONE of the following:
    • 2a. Think of a creative way to describe yourself, using, for example, a collage, short story or autobiography, drawing or series of photographs, or a song or skit. Using the aid you created, make a presentation to your counselor about yourself.
    • 2b. Choose a concept, product, or service in which you have great confidence. Build a sales plan based on its good points. Try to persuade the counselor to agree with, use, or buy your concept, product or service.  After your sales talk, discuss with your counselor how persuasive you were.
  3. Write a five-minute speech. Give it at a meeting of a group.
  4. Interview someone you know fairly well, like, or respect because of his or her position, talent, career or life experiences. Listen actively to learn as much as you can about the person. Then prepare and deliver to your counselor an introduction of the person as though this person were to be a guest speaker, and include reasons why the audience would want to hear this person speak. Show how you would call to invite this person to speak.
  5. Attend a public meeting (city council, school board, debate) approved by your counselor where several points of view are given on a single issue. Practice active listening skills and take careful notes of each point of view. Prepare an objective report that includes all points of view that were expressed, and share this with your counselor.
  6. With your counselor’s approval, develop a plan to teach a skill or inform someone about something. Prepare teaching aids for your plan. Carry out your plan. With your counselor, determine whether the person has learned what you intended.
  7. Do ONE of the following:
    • 7a. Write to the editor of a magazine or your local newspaper to express your opinion or share information on any subject you choose. Send your message by fax, email or regular mail.
    • 7b. Create a web page or blog of special interest to you (for instance, your troop or crew, a hobby, or a sport).. Include at least three articles or entries and one photograph or illustration, and one link to some other Web page or blog that would be helpful to someone who visits the Web page or blog you have created. It is not necessary to post your Web page or blog to the Internet, but if you decide to do so, you must first share it with your parents and counselor and get their permission.
    • 7c. Use desktop publishing to produce a newsletter, brochure, flier or other printed material for your scout troop, class at school, or other group. Include at least one article and one photograph or illustration.
  8. Plan a troop or crew court of honor, campfire program, or interfaith worship service. Have the patrol leaders’ council approve it, then write the script and prepare the program. Serve as master of ceremonies.
  9. Find out about three career opportunities in the field of communication. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
1) Do ONE of the following:
1d) List as many ways as you can think of to communicate with others (face-to-face, by telephone, letter, e-mail, text messages, social media, and so on). For each type of communication discuss with your counselor an instance when that method might not be appropriate or effective.

If you’re trying to earn the Communication merit badge quickly, requirement 1d is the way to go. Below I’ve provided a list covering many of the different ways you can communicate with others. While reading, brainstorm a few other methods of communication that you can later discuss with your counselor.

Communication MethodsMethod BenefitsTimes Method Isn’t Effective
Face to Face The ideal method of communication. Good for providing important or sensitive information.Communicating long-term or long-distance.
Video ChattingSpeaking about important matters face-to-face over a long distance. Building familiarity.Speaking in crowded areas or at locations with poor internet connection
Phone CallHearing the other person’s voice. Quickly catching up on important events.Unable to see who you’re speaking with. May not be ideal for important discussions.
EmailCrafting thoughtful messages. A reply should be sent within 48 hours.Slow reply timeline and not useful for urgent matters.
LettersVery appreciated and meaningful to the recipient. Letters can be kept forever.Very slow reply timeline. Letters cost money to send and can be lost by the postal service.
Text Message Medium to fast response time. Able to send images and messages.Messages are permanently stored. Messages can be misunderstood.
Tagging in MemesShows that you were thinking of the recipient. Often funny and relatable.Dank memes can’t replace actual communication. Sometimes not useful.

Now it’s time to think outside the box and come up with a few of your own communication methods! Different types of communication are effective for delivering different messages. While completing the rest of this merit badge, consider how you can use different methods of communication to more powerfully convey your point.

Alternate Requirements:
1a) For one day, keep a log in which you describe your communication activities. Keep track of the time and different ways you spend communicating, such as talking person-to-person, listening to teachers, the radio, or podcasts, watching television, using social media, reading books and other print media, and using any electronic communication device. Discuss with your counselor what your log reveals about the importance of communication in your life. Think of ways to improve your communications skills.
1b) For three days, keep a journal of your listening experiences. Identify one example of each of the following, and discuss with your counselor when you have listened to:
-Obtain information
-Be persuaded
-Appreciate or enjoy something
-Understand someone’s feelings
1c) In a small-group setting, meet with other scouts or with friends. Have them share personal stories about significant events in their lives that affected them in some way. Take note of how each scout participates in the group discussion and how effectively each Scout communicates their story. Report what you have learned to your counselor about the differences you observed in effective communication.

You also have the option to do any one of these other requirements. If you’re not pressed for time, work on the activity you feel could teach you the most in the long run! You use communication every day of your life, so it’s definitely a skill worth improving.

2) Do ONE of the following:
2a) Think of a creative way to describe yourself, using, for example, a collage, short story or autobiography, drawing or series of photographs, or a song or skit. Using the aid you created, make a presentation to your counselor about yourself.
2b) Choose a concept, product, or service in which you have great confidence. Build a sales plan based on its good points. Try to persuade the counselor to agree with, use, or buy your concept, product or service.  After your sales talk, discuss with your counselor how persuasive you were.

I’d recommend you complete requirement 2b, and create a persuasive presentation on a concept, product, or service that you believe in. You’ll be able to use the same topic to complete requirement 3, which asks you to deliver a five-minute speech to your unit.

To learn the fundamentals of crafting a persuasive speech, watch this helpful video (7:37):

Now that you know the elements that go into a good presentation, it’s time to start outlining your own ideas. Right now, take a second to write down a single guiding argument that you can craft your speech around.

Then, using the system explained in the previous video, note down the main points you’ll be covering. Once you have a complete outline of the presentation you’d like to deliver, it’s time to start practicing. In the next section, you’ll be learning how to deliver an amazing presentation.

3) Write a five-minute speech. Give it at a meeting of a group.

In preparing to speak with your counselor and a group, you’ll need to learn the fundamentals of public speaking. The key to effective communication is confidence. Being confident in yourself and your message will help you to persuade others.

First, watch this video (5:51) on presentation tips. (I know it’ the same guy, but his videos provide some of the best communication information online. I’ve checked 🙂 )

Have you finished the video? Great! I’d recommend recording yourself delivering the presentation at least 3 times before delivering it publicly. Watch each recording and take note of areas that you might be able to improve the next time around. Once you’re confident delivering your message, you’ll be prepared to complete requirements 2 and 3!

4) Interview someone you know fairly well, like, or respect because of his or her position, talent, career or life experiences. Listen actively to learn as much as you can about the person. Then prepare and deliver to your counselor an introduction of the person as though this person were to be a guest speaker, and include reasons why the audience would want to hear this person speak. Show how you would call to invite this person to speak.

This is your opportunity to conduct an exciting in-person interview! First, think of a few interesting people that you’d easily be able to speak with. Reach out and find one who’d be willing to tell you about their lives and experiences. Arrange to meet at a time that works with their schedule.

Once you’ve explained to them the merit badge requirement, it’s time to start asking questions and learning more about what makes this person interesting! Some effective questions you could ask to get the conversation flowing include:

  • Could you tell me about something in your life that you’re incredibly proud of? What part of that has given you the most fulfillment throughout your life?
  • Do you have any advice that you’d give to yourself when you were my age? How do you think that advice would have changed the course of your life?
  • What are your main guiding values? What are things that you do, in your career or otherwise, that help you to live out those principles?

During the interview, you’ll want to take brief notes on their most important points. Listen closely, and ask any questions that may occur to you after they’ve finished speaking. 

Afterward, you’ll need to meet with your counselor and recap the interview. During that time, you should also introduce your interviewee as though they’ll be appearing as a guest speaker. You’ve probably seen talk show hosts skillfully introduce their guests in the past. Steal their formula and give an awesome introduction to your interviewee by following these 5 steps:

  1. Greet the audience: ‘Good evening Scoutmaster Jeff! Today, I’d like to introduce you to an amazing person, my uncle, Bob.’
  2. Compliment your interviewee: ‘Bob is an amazing individual.’
  3. Mention something special about them: ‘He created a charity that, to date, has fed over 150,000 children in poverty!’
  4. What will the audience learn:Tonight you’ll learn how Bob overcame enormous difficulty to make his dream of helping others a reality.’
  5. Introduce the speaker: ‘Without further ado, let me introduce to you the one, the only, Bob MacDonald!’

The same method can even be used when introducing a speaker within your troop. If your troop holds SPL elections and speeches (how to write a winning SPL election speech), volunteer to host the next one! Learning to introduce people is a great skill to develop, and one that you’ll likely be using later on in your career!

5) Attend a public meeting (city council, school board, debate) approved by your counselor where several points of view are given on a single issue. Practice active listening skills and take careful notes of each point of view. Prepare an objective report that includes all points of view that were expressed, and share this with your counselor.

I’d recommend attending your next school board meeting, as the issues covered will be very relevant to you and your education. You should be able to find a schedule of school board meetings on your school’s official website.

During the meeting, write down each unique point of view you hear, as well as any supporting arguments that are mentioned. When meeting with your counselor later on, you’ll need to explain each viewpoint objectively. Explain to your parents a short summary of each perspective beforehand so that it’ll be fresh in your mind when meeting your merit badge counselor.

The Citizenship in the Community merit badge also requires that you attend a local meeting where an important issue is discussed. You should be able to complete both merit badge requirements at the same time, as they’re so similar. To learn more about attending a meeting to earn your Citizenship in the Community merit badge, click here.

6) With your counselor’s approval, develop a plan to teach a skill or inform someone about something. Prepare teaching aids for your plan. Carry out your plan. With your counselor, determine whether the person has learned what you intended.

When completing this requirement, I used the EDGE method to teach first aid skills to my patrol. I’d recommend that you teach a skill to your troop as well, bringing along props to help guide them through a hands-on learning process.

First, watch this short video (2:07) on teaching with the EDGE method. Then, I’ll be providing you with a few suggestions of skills you could teach to your troop!

Got it? The EDGE method is a great way to teach hands-on skills. If you need a bit of inspiration on what to demonstrate to your troop, here are a few of my suggestions:

After you’ve finished teaching, ask your group to demonstrate the skill without assistance. If they’re able to do it without your help, that means you’ve succeeded. If not, you can use their mistake as a learning moment, correct them, and then have them try it again!

7) Do ONE of the following:
7a)
Write to the editor of a magazine or your local newspaper to express your opinion or share information on any subject you choose. Send your message by fax, email or regular mail.

7b) Create a web page or blog of special interest to you (for instance, your troop or crew, a hobby, or a sport).. Include at least three articles or entries and one photograph or illustration, and one link to some other Web page or blog that would be helpful to someone who visits the Web page or blog you have created. It is not necessary to post your Web page or blog to the Internet, but if you decide to do so, you must first share it with your parents and counselor and get their permission.
7c) Use desktop publishing to produce a newsletter, brochure, flier or other printed material for your scout troop, class at school, or other group. Include at least one article and one photograph or illustration.

To complete any of these three options, you’ll need to translate your ideas into writing. Requirement 7A will likely be the easiest, followed by requirement 7C. If you decide to write a letter to an editor, keep in mind that less is more. I’d recommend keeping your letter’s length below 3 paragraphs.

When writing, if you want to be understood, you’ll need to express your thoughts clearly and concisely. Watch the following video (7:04) for a few tips on how to improve your writing. Skip to (2:27) if you’d like to jump straight into writing advice.

When trying to communicate effectively, whether you’re crafting an email, writing a blog post, or speaking to an audience, the video recommends you practice the following 4 rules:

  1. Write Succinctly: Get to the point. Use fewer words whenever possible.
  2. Simplify Language: Avoid using ‘big’ words unnecessarily.
  3. Remove Jargon: Make your writing understandable to all readers. Keep things simple.
  4. Avoid Redundancy: If your sentence would remain the same after removing a word, that word is considered redundant. Avoid redundant words when writing.

By keeping these tips in mind when completing requirement 7, you’ll be able to communicate your message effectively and professionally. Remember, being able to write succinctly will help you to express your thoughts more clearly.

That’s why, even after earning your Communication merit badge, you should keep trying to improve your writing. Effective communication is one of the most useful skills you can build!

8. Plan a troop or crew court of honor, campfire program, or interfaith worship service. Have the patrol leaders’ council approve it, then write the script and prepare the program. Serve as master of ceremonies.

To complete this requirement, I planned and facilitated a troop court of honor. A court of honor will likely be the easiest option for you to complete the requirement as well. By serving as the master of ceremonies, you’ll have a great opportunity to practice your communication skills and show confidence when publicly speaking.

Most troops already have a long-standing court of honor tradition. I’d recommend making slight modifications to the last-used script when preparing your own program. Speak with the scout who planned your previous court of honor and ask them for advice.

If you’d like to start from scratch when planning your program, you can check out the official BSA court of honor guidelines.

9. Find out about three career opportunities in the field of communication. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

1. Youtuber:

I’m sure you already know what a YouTuber does! YouTubers create unique video content that entertains, informs, and engages their viewers. However, it isn’t easy to create a career on Youtube. Becoming a profitable YouTuber requires persistence, clear communication skills, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Success on YouTube isn’t something that can be taught in schools. In fact, the vast majority of YouTubers are unable to make any money from their channel. However, with persistence and luck, some Youtubers are able to earn a full-time living through the ad revenue and affiliate sales that come from their videos.

2. Human Resource Specialist:

Within companies, human resource specialists help to recruit personnel, onboard new employees, develop training programs, and ensure that all company policies are up to date. Typically, most individuals in HR have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in communications. 

HR specialists must be able to accurately judge an interviewee’s character and communicate clearly. They’re also often tasked with evaluating resumes and deciding on who to interview. This means that HR specialists tend to throw out most resumes! Are you listing your Scouting experience effectively on your own resume or college apps?

3. Sales Representative:

For a salesperson to succeed in their job, they’ll often need to skillfully communicate with customers and build rapport. To be hired as a salesperson, most people will either need some experience in small-scale sales or a college degree. There are different types of salesperson roles that range from retail sales in stores to enterprise sales between companies.

The main goal of a salesperson is to persuade customers to take an interest in their product. Most salespeople are paid by commission, meaning that the more they sell, the higher their income will be. As a salesperson, you can improve your skills and earn more money by gaining experience over time, or by reading books on sales.

Tip: The Salesmanship merit badge is one of the 7 most interesting badges that I recommend scouts earn independently. Check out the other 6 here!

Conclusion

Awesome job getting this far! Communication is a difficult merit badge to earn, but will teach you skills that you’ll use for a lifetime. By developing your public speaking, concise writing, event planning, and teaching skills, you’ll one day become a capable and respected leader.

Thanks for improving our planet through your involvement in Scouting! If you’ve found this guide helpful, I’ve also written other merit badges walkthroughs that you can check out here. Check ScoutSmarts often, because I’m constantly uploading new content for scouts like you. Until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey! 🙂

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content for this website because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making this world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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