Communication is the foundation of a good relationship. Below are some helpful tools and scenarios to practice.
Open-ended questions: These are questions that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no.”
Affirmations: Acknowledging and validating the other person’s experience, feelings, difficulties, etc.
Reflective Listening: Reflecting back what was said so no assumptions are made and that you understand what is being said.
Summarize: Sum up what was talked about to ensure you didn’t miss anything and that the other person knows you were listening.
“I” statements are always a good way to begin conversations when talking through conflict or when you feel that you cannot put into words what you are feeling or need from others.
Are you really listening?
- Grab a handful of candy, coins, anything small you can hold in your hand.
- Partner up.
- Each partner will tell a story
- It can be anything, just make sure it’s a medium-long story.
- Each time your mind wanders, you must give your partner one item from your hand.
Discussion: How did it feel when the other person had to hand over an item while you were talking?
The object of the activity is to understand how often our minds wonder when listening to others. This means that we potentially miss something important, make the other person feel that we don’t care, misunderstand and/or make assumptions.
Let’s Mime It Out!
- Ask each other questions.
- You must mime out your answer.
- Keep asking clarifying questions to figure out what the answer is.
The object of the activity is to understand the importance of asking questions for clarification and active engagement in communicating.