Communication is sharing or exchanging information or ideas with someone. Good communication means understanding your audience, what they need to know, and how they need to be given the information.
To communicate well one also needs to listen to others. We also need to think about how to express ourselves in ways that others will find respectful, even if we have a different view. Some useful listening skills are; asking questions when the message is not clear, making eye contact, looking out for non-verbal messages and listening with empathy i.e. putting yourself in the speaker’s shoes.
Here are a couple of exercises that you can do with your mentee to help her understand communication better:
Emphasis changes meaning
Task: Repeat the phrase below. You should emphasise a different word from the phrase each time they say it. Pay attention to how the meaning of the phrase changes each time.
- The phrase is: “I’m not saying she isn’t my friend.”
- Discuss how the meaning changed when the speaker emphasised different words in the phrase.
The Tone Game:
FYI! Tone is the sound of your voice and what it shows about how you are feeling.
Task: Explore how changing the tone of the voice can communicate ideas about feelings. Read each of the phrases twice. Each time you should read the phrase in a different tone – e.g. bored or annoyed.
- I love spaghetti and meatballs.
- What are you doing this weekend?
- You smell of roses.
- It doesn’t matter.
Seeing ourselves talk is a powerful way of improving our communication skills. One way to do this is practising communication in the mirror or recording ourselves.
Task #1: Use the questions below to have a conversation with yourself! Use today’s lessons on tone and emphasis to communicate as effectively as possible.
- How are you feeling today?
- What are you looking forward to doing this week?
- What is the most interesting thing that you have done recently?
- What do you like to spend your free time doing?
Task #2: Use the reflection questions below to reflect on how you used your communication skills during the conversation with yourself.
- Did you make eye contact during the conversation?
- What was the tone of your voice during the conversation? Did this help you to be understood?
- What was your body language during the conversation?
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