A Guide for Students to Improve Their Communication Skills. Part 2
This is the second part of the article describing the features of communication and ways how to improve it. Here together with our essay helpers you are going to discuss the main skills and check out some games that can help you master the science of communication.
Five Main Communication Skills
You won’t master them in a day. And you won’t do that in a month too. But by mastering separate skills gradually, you’ll be able to improve them significantly.
While learning to listen actively, you need to stick to at least one rule: listen to people twice as often as you speak to them.
The second rule: learn to “listen” to them with all your body. Use facial expressions, gestures, and eyes.
The third rule: specify what your collocutor wants to say.
Who are harmonious people? Those are humans whose speech does not conflict with their body and non-verbal signals. They say exactly what they feel and that is why their body reacts to their words correctly.
This may be difficult at first as you need to pay attention to your body language more than to information itself. But you can solve this problem gradually: hands first, then legs, eye contact, face. Then, after some time you’ll become a harmonious person who has mastered communication skills on her own.
First of all, you should pay attention to the quality of questions you ask. If your questions are closed, then you need to change your approach and to start asking open ones:
- In what way?
- How many (much)?
- How often?
It may seem to be difficult to ask questions first. But as soon as you start showing real curiosity about people, this skill will get improved automatically.
It is important when you listen to your collocutor. Always try to specify what exactly they want to say. This approach solves two problems at a time:
- It lets you understand goals and motives of the other person completely;
- It shows that you really listen to him or her.
Consciousness is the basis of any skill because it wants you to give up the habit of watching yourself all the time.
For instance, your consciousness can help you stop criticizing and judging your collocutor. You can be interested in understanding his or her words, thoughts, feelings. You’ll learn how to use various approaches instead of simply conducting a conversation as you can.
Games for Communicational Skills Improvement
There are many gamified exercises that develop communication skills. Here are some of them.
1. Communicational Origami
This is a fast and easy exercise showing how the same instructions can be interpreted by different people and underlining the importance of precise communication. This game is rather demonstrative and has its own moral sense.
To do the exercise, you need to gather a group of three or more people.
- Give an A4 sheet of paper to each of them;
- Say that you will start giving instructions for bending their sheets in order to create an origami form;
- Tell that while you are giving instructions, participants need to keep their eyes closed and can’t ask questions;
- Start giving instructions to the group for bending and cutting their papers several times, and then ask them to compare the forms they made.
Note that each sheet of paper looks different despite the fact the participants received absolutely identical instructions. Ask the group if their results would be better if they opened their eyes and asked questions sometimes.
Opening your eyes means hearing and understanding. Asking questions means clarification.
Effective communication is not easy as everyone interprets information as they can and want. So, it is very important to ask questions and to listen to collocutors.
2. Guess the Emotion
This exercise needs a group of participants too, but it is more curious and exciting than the previous one.
The point of the game is to teach participants to “read” each other’s emotions better. The group divides into teams, and then each player in turn shows an emotion like fear, worry, excitement, love, anger, courage, etc., and the others try to guess what that emotion is. Though you can change rules as you want here, it all depends on your interest.
- Divide into two teams;
- Put a pack of cards with the names of emotions on the table (one emotion is written on each card);
- Ask the A team player to take a top card (or a few of them) and to perform a pantomime to his or her team. There is a time limit (for example, a minute or two);
- If they guess the emotion correctly, team A receives 10 points;
- Now team B does the same;
- Count the results after a few rounds.
3. A Sketch
This is a game for two people. The rules are very simple. You make them up on your own.
First, think about the topic of your dialogue. This may be:
- Customer support service (a tough client);
- An angry client talking to a consultant;
- A debate of two people about whether Mars should or shouldn’t be colonized.
Before starting a sketch, you need to describe a conflict precisely. There may be a random ending too.
4. Body Language
Sometimes, your body language can tell more than the words you say. Your body can show a collocutor what really happens to you both consciously and unconsciously.
- Explain to a group of participants that you are going to give them some instructions: they need to copy your gestures as fast as possible;
- Speak out the following instructions aloud and do the named actions simultaneously:
- Touch your nose;
- Clap your hands;
- Hands apart;
- Touch your shoulders with fingers;
- Cross your hands;
- Put a palm on your stomach (yet you need to touch your nose when saying that).
- Pay attention to how many people copy what you’ve done, not what you’ve said.
Body language can strengthen verbal communication, but it can be stronger than that too. It is important to know about that in order to understand what messages you and your collocutors send.
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