We do many communication exercises on our courses, and delegates like them because they are fun, easy to assimilate and transfer into the workplace, and give them an opportunity to improve this important skill in a safe environment.
Here are some exercises we use. Take a look and see if you and your team would benefit from trying them out:
See It From A Different Viewpoint
This is a communication exercise that allows individuals to understand opposing points of view and then learn to respect them. By switching stances, they understand the opposite person’s thought process and opinion, and this provides them an open perspective regarding any situation. For this exercise, pair two individuals and allow them to choose a subject on which one person can speak for and the other can speak against. Let each present her/his case, after which they will change sides and speak on the same subject. This not only helps understand the subject, but makes them open to a point of view other than their own. By putting themselves in another’s shoes, they learn to view certain cases objectively.
Listen! I’m Telling You!
As mentioned earlier, communication also encompasses the art of listening and then reiterating that information in a precise manner so as to avoid misunderstandings. With this exercise, not only is this aspect dealt with, people also learn how to give clear instruction without any cues so that others can implement these instructions as aptly as possible. The task is to have one individual stand up and describe an activity or picture, and ask the remaining in the group to recreate the description or perform the activity as per the instruction given by that individual. Only the individual who is instructing is allowed to view the picture or see how the activity is performed. This is a great task that shows how well people comprehend verbal instruction over written instruction, and teaches them how to perform in situations where only verbal instruction is available.
Go on then…Sell Me Something!
This task involves teaching the art of convincing the opposite person regarding an idea, concept, or product. Not only does it help in professional relationships, it also helps in personal relationships, where sometimes convincing someone against or for something is essential to that person’s well-being. As such, this is a task where again, two individuals will be paired, and it will be the job of one to sell an idea to the opposite person. This person will use voice tone, emphasis, and body language to convince to the opposite person. It should be remembered that the opposite person should not be obliged to agree to the idea, and should in fact pose questions that the individual who is selling can respond to as convincingly as possible. Highlighting the good, downplaying the bad, and telling the buyer how she/he will benefit from this idea or product is the aim of this task. This activity could be first performed in pairs and then in larger groups to explain the art of convincing more people at a time with a greater number of opposing questions and points of view.
This activity teaches individuals the power of assertiveness and how they can avoid being pushed over by others, both in the personal and professional realm. Before this task begins, it is imperative to teach everyone the concept of assertiveness. A lot of people liken assertiveness to rudeness, and that is where they go wrong in communication. Assertiveness is the art of being able to say no in a polite, diplomatic manner. By means of role-playing, individuals will be given tricky situations in which they are to say no to the opposite person as firmly as possible. This activity can be paired with the aforementioned activity where the purpose is to convince the opposite person. Combining the two can give both individuals a strong lesson in communication.
These four communication activities can help people see their communication style and recognise what they might have to do to change their viewpoint at times and introduce other forms of communication from what they’re used to. Let us know how these exercises go for you.
Originally published: 5 July, 2011
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