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Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders, Module IV: Communicating With Others 1

Elizabeth B. Bolton, John R. Rutledge, Linda Bowman and Linda Barber2

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Teaching Instructions

Preparing to Teach

  1. Prepare for teaching this lesson by reading and familiarizing yourself with the objectives, materials, handouts and exercises.

  2. Begin your preparation several days in advance so that you will be able to secure whatever additional resources you need to make the lesson a "local" learning experience.

  3. Plan your learning environment with care so that the surroundings contribute to the achievement of the objectives.

  4. Begin on time and end on time. Schedule a break at about midpoint of the lesson.

  5. With all lessons after the first, ask participants what they did as a result of last week's lesson. Record these!

  6. Introduce each lesson with an overview of how it fits with leadership development program for youth.

  7. End each lesson with a summary and restatement of objectives. Tell participants what you expect them to do with the lesson after they leave.

  8. Heighten their anticipation for the next lesson without sharing too much.

  9. Each lesson is designed for approximately two hours. Use your judgement on shortening or expanding various parts according to the needs of your participants.

  10. The two hour lesson is divided into sections that are described in the "Teaching Guide." Each section starts with a title, description of the activity, purpose, time needed to complete it, materials needed, and directions for students or teacher. Use the notes portion of each section to record suggestions for the next time the lesson is used.

  11. Each lesson contains a combination of brief lectures and student activities designed for the objectives of each lesson. The lectures are short and the student activities are designed for students to experience the point or topic of the lecture. Both the lectures and the student activities may be modified as appropriate for a specific student group or topic.

  12. Student handouts are included for selected sections of each lesson. When these are included, duplications for each student should be prepared prior to the class. Masters for overhead transparencies are also included for selected sections.

  13. After each lesson, students are asked to share the experiences they have had with their parents. A letter to the parents or a parent teen exercise is included with each lesson. Prepare the appropriate number of copies in advance and tell students this is part of the leadership experience. Solicit feedback from parents and record this in the notes for each lesson.

  14. "Homework" as an after class assignment to enable students to use the topics in a situation outside the classroom is included in each lesson. Assign this at the end of the class and ask for reports, verbal or written, of the "homework" assignment prior to beginning a new lesson.

  15. These materials, lectures, activities, and handouts come from many sources and care is taken to document the original source when it is known. If the original source or author is not known, a secondary source is given.

Objectives

  1. To show that the process of communication is more than words.

  2. To demonstrate that communication is important to relationships.

  3. To recognize barriers to good communication and learn ways to overcome them.

Lesson Outline

Table 1. 

Section and Topic

Page

Time

1. Communication

Components

Lecture

Overhead transparencies

8

10 mins.

2. Double Messages

Student activity

Group discussion

9

10 mins.

3. Communication Self Evaluation

Student activity

Discussion

10

15 mins.

4. A Communications Model

Lecture

Handouts

11

20 mins.

Break

5 mins.

5. Nonverbal Communications

Lecture

Handouts

12

20 mins.

6. Body Expressions - Read Me

Student activity

13

20 mins.

7. Statue Building

Student activity

14

15 mins.

8. Closing Remarks

Summary and handout

Homework

Letter to parents

16

15 mins.

Teaching Guide

Section 1 - Communication Components

Title: Communication Components

Description: Lecture

Purpose: To show that in communications what is intended and what is heard is not necessarily what is spoken

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials needed: Lecture material on "Communications Components" and Overhead A,B, and C

Directions: Give brief lecture and read objectives.

Notes:

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Section 2 - Double Messages

Title: Double Messages

Description: Student Activity and Group Discussion

Purpose: To demonstrate the need for congruence between words and nonverbal messages

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials needed: None

Directions: In small groups have each person send a "double message" by saying one thing but transmitting an opposite message with facial expression and body language. For example: Say, "I'd really like to go to the beach." Frown, look down and slump your shoulders. Keep your voice flat.

Give everyone a chance to send a double message.

Questions for discussion:

  • Why does saying one thing and acting something else cause confusion?

  • Which message do you usually believe, the verbal or nonverbal message?

  • What is a good way to be sure you are sending the message you want to send?

  • If you are sent a double message what could you do to verify the message?

Notes:

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Section 3 - Communication Self Evaluation Form

Title: Communication Self Evaluation Form

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To learn about yourself and how you communicate

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials needed: One copy of Handout #1-"Communication Self Evaluation Form" for each student

Directions: Ask each student to fill out the questionnaire. Tell them that this exercise will indicate how effectively they can communicate with others.

Notes:

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Section 4 - A Communications Model

Title: A Communications Model

Description: A lecture and discussion.

Purpose: To learn the components of the communication process

Time: About 20 minutes

Materials needed: SMCR Communications Model from lecture section, Handout #2- SMCR Model and Overhead D

Directions: Present brief lecture. Ask questions for clarification of content.

Notes:

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Section 5 - Nonverbal Communication

Title: Nonverbal Communication

Description: A lecture and discussion

Purpose: To learn that communication can be nonverbal

Time: About 20 minutes

Materials needed: Nonverbal Communications from lecture section, Handout #3- Nonverbal Communication and Overhead E-Nonverbal Communications

Directions: Present brief lecture. Ask questions for clarification of content.

Notes:

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Section 6 - Body Expressions - Read Me

Title: Body Expressions - Read Me

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To learn forms of nonverbal communication

Time: About 20 minutes

Materials needed: One copy for each student of Handout #4, "Read Me," in student Handout Section

Directions: Have students respond to directions.

Notes:

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Section 7 - Statue Building

Title: Statue Building

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To learn nonverbal communication expression

Time: About 20 minutes

Materials needed: None

Directions: Choose one member of the group to be the "Statue" first. The group has the job of statue builder. The group should move the "statue" into a posture that expresses the feelings or situation stated by the leaders. You can move your "statue's" arms, legs, and head to express the word given. The statue can move their eyes but not their body.

Call out one situation or feeling and let the groups position their "statues" to express the situation or feeling. Give time for the groups to compare the different poses of the statues.

After several situations or feelings have been given, have the groups choose a new statue and continue.

SITUATIONS

Dancing

Waiting

Being very happy

Finding out you just won a million dollars

Thinking about a special friend

FEELINGS

Tired

Happy

Discouraged

Ignored

Tranquil

Bored

Joyful

Grieving

Amused

Mocking

Jealous

Giddy

Questions for Discussion:

  • How did you feel being the statue or the builder?

  • Did you begin to feel the emotion expressed with your body?

  • Do you believe there is a relationship between a person's body position and their feelings?

Notes:

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Section 8 - Summary

Title: Summary

Purpose: To end session

Description: Closing remarks

Time: 5 minutes

Materials needed: Student Handout #5, Letter to parents

Directions: Summarize activities and relate to objectives; give a copy of Handout #5 to each student, assign homework, give letter to parents to each student.

Notes:

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Lecture Materials

Communication Components

Overhead A

Communication, the ability to express your own ideas and understand the ideas of others, can be the difference between success and failure. Effective communication is not easy since communication includes (Overhead B):

  • The message you intend to send;

  • The message you actually sent;

  • The message the hearer interprets;

  • The response of the hearer based on what he/she hears;

  • Your reaction to the exchange of words, meaning and interpretation;

  • The nonverbal aspect of the message.

Look at the problems we might encounter when trying to communicate an idea. Is it any wonder that at times things get confused along the way? We send from 300 to 1000 messages a day. These messages are primarily sent as either verbal or nonverbal communications. (Overhead E)

VERBAL COMMUNICATION: Meanings are in people, not in words. When you communicate with words, you send messages based on YOUR meaning. If the receiver does not define the words in the same way, the communication will not be effective. Ask for frequent feedback to make sure you understand each other. The "I" message style is particularly helpful.

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION: Nonverbal communication does not use words. This includes gestures, facial expressions, vocalizations, props and spatial relations. These send messages above and beyond the words we choose to use. Another part of nonverbal communication is the vocal element. Not what we say but how we say it.

Nonverbal messages have more impact than the words we use. Only 35 percent of the message's meaning comes from verbalization, 65 percent of the meaning comes from verbal clues.

Another factor which affects the effectiveness of our communication is congruence.

CONGRUENCE means all the individual components of the communication process are saying the same thing. Both verbal and nonverbal aspects are sending the same message.

A Communications Model

SMCR Communication Model
(Overhead D & Handout #2)

The SMCR Communication Model is useful for understanding the process of communication. It involves four factors: a sender, a message, a channel, and a receiver. It may help you decide how to make your communication more effective.

(S) SENDER:

The communication process begins with a sender or source that creates a message. Many factors influence the sender's ability to communicate.
Skills: The sender's ability to think, write, speak, act, etc.
Attitudes: The sender's attitudes about a receiver. The sender's beliefs and values.
Knowledge: The sender's knowledge about a subject, the receiver and his/her understanding of the communication process. Situation: The context in which the sender is placed or chooses, the room environment, friends, community, etc.

(M) MESSAGE:

The message is the information being relayed to the receiver and has certain features:
Facts and/or fiction: The content facts, ideas, fiction, and other elements or the substance of the communication.
Treatment: How it is presented; written or spoken, organized or disorganized, logical or illogical.
The message usually reflects the skills, attitudes, knowledge and situation of the sender. Communication will be more effective if it is prepared with the needs of the receiver in mind.

(C) CHANNEL:

The channel used to communicate the message may be written or spoken. It may include computer generated information, posture, touch, lectures, or discussions. Most channels of communications can be classified according to the five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, or hearing.
Communication is usually more effective when as many channels of communication as possible are used. Touch, smell, or taste can make the message more vivid than only hearing or sight.

(R) RECEIVER:

The receiver is the person or group to which the sender wants to send the message. The receiver is affected by the same communication factors as the sender:
Skills: The receiver's ability to read, listen, interpret, understand, etc.
Attitudes: The receiver's attitudes about the sender and the situation, the ideas or facts in the communication, etc., as well as individual attitudes about the learning or receiving situation.
Knowledge: The receiver's knowledge about the subject of the communication, related topics, or words and ideas used by the sender.
Situation: The communication is interpreted in relation to the customs and habits of the receiver's community, way of life, or recent events related to communication.
The receiver will react more positively to a message if there is an obvious reason for doing so such as a reward (like satisfying an interest or curiosity, or learning new ideas, getting praise, etc.).

Nonverbal Communication

Characteristics of Nonverbal Communication (Overhead E & Handout #3)

Many times we overlook the role that nonverbal communication plays. To understand the importance of nonverbal communication, look at the following pictures. Notice the hands, arms, shoulders, feet, legs and whole body positions as well as the faces. What different meanings do some of the body positions have? What body positions or facial expressions indicate a specific feeling or idea? How should this affect the manner in which we communicate?

Types of Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways we communicate nonverbally. One way is our voice, how we say the words. The tone of voice, speed, pitch, number and length of pauses, and volume. We can use emphasis and tone of voice to change the meaning of the message. "Susan, what a beautiful dress," can be vocalized as a compliment or an insult.

Another way we communicate nonverbally is through our appearance. The person's clothing, hygiene, and personal appearance may indicate economic level, social background, moral character, sophistication, and/or self-esteem.

Nonverbal communication resembles verbal communication in many ways. By understanding the characteristics of nonverbal communication, we may become more effective communicators. These characteristics include:

The eyes and face communicate a great deal and change with great speed. Facial expressions reflect six basic emotions:

  • happiness and surprise in the eyes and lower face;

  • anger in the lower face, brows, and forehead;

  • fear and sadness in the eyes;

  • disgust in the lower face.

The face may indicate how involved the receiver is with the conversation.

The person's posture is an important clue to nonverbal messages that is often overlooked. Small gestures and mannerisms such as hand and foot movements are important to notice. We tend to relax in a nonthreatening situation but may become tense when we feel attacked.

A person may be laughing but may betray nervousness by his/her posture. Posture may communicate vulnerability by the manner in which you walk, make eye contact and move your arms and legs.

The distance we place between ourself and others reflects feelings and attitudes and affects our communication. Americans use four distance zones:

  • intimate (personal contact to eighteen inches),

  • personal-casual (eighteen inches to four feet),

  • social (four to twelve feet), and

  • public (over twelve feet).

Personal distance may indicate status of the individuals; the relationship of the individuals; and the message being relayed. The greater the distance, the less friendly and understanding the communication will be.

How the individual uses his/her time indicates their competence, and the importance they assign to the job or task. The amount of time we spend with an individual may indicate how much we value the friendship.

Touch can communicate a feeling of caring and is essential to healthy development. Touch can communicate many messages and show the basis for a friendship.

Our body orientation or the degree to which we face or turn away from an individual with our body, head and feet indicates our interest or lack of interest and involvement or lack of desired involvement with the individual. You may be surprised to find you avoid a certain person by your body orientation. Watch who you "turn your back on."

Overhead Transparency Masters

Overhead A - Communication

THE ABILITY TO EXPRESS YOUR OWN IDEAS AND UNDERSTAND THE IDEAS OF OTHERS.

Overhead B - Effective Communication

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

The message you intend to send

The message you actually send

The message the hearer interprets

The response of the hearer based on what he/she hears

Your reaction to the exchange of words

The nonverbal aspect of the message

Overhead C - Objectives

OBJECTIVES

  1. To show that the process of communication is more than words

  2. To demonstrate that communication is important to relationships

  3. To recognize barriers to good communication and learn ways to overcome them

Overhead D - SMCR Communication Model

Figure 1. 

Overhead E - Nonverbal Communication

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION

You cannot avoid nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal behavior is not easy to understand.

Nonverbal communication primarily expresses feelings.

Nonverbal communication is affected by culture.

Student Handouts

Handout #1 - Communication Self Evaluation Form

COMMUNICATION SELF-EVALUATION FORM

1. Read the list of statements and mark each item to show whether you think you are at the right level, should do it more often, or should do it less.

2. Review the list and circle the three or four skills that would be most valuable for you to improve at this time.

3. Divide into small groups and discuss those choices with the others in your group. Are your answers similar or different?

4. This final selection should be based on your own judgment and the suggestions from others.

Table 2. 
 

DO LESS

RIGHT LEVEL

DO MORE

EXPRESSING INFORMATION

· Being brief and concise, getting to the point

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· Being forceful and definite, not hesitant or apologetic

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· Talking in specifics, giving examples and details

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· Talking in generalizations, ie., "Everyone is doing it"

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EXPRESSING FEELINGS BY LETTING OTHERS KNOW

· When I do not understand what is being said

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· When I like something they have said or done

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· When I disagree with them

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· When I think they have changed the subject

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· When I am upset or angry

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· When I am hurt, embarrassed, or feel put down by something they have said or done

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UNDERSTANDING INFORMATION

· Listening to understand instead of preparing an answer mentally

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· Helping others participate in the discussion

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· Checking to make sure I do understand what others mean before agreeing or disagreeing

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· Summarizing points of disagreement and agreement

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· Asking questions to gain information other than a "yes" or "no"

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UNDERSTANDING AND RESPONDING TO OTHERS' FEELINGS

· Checking what I think others are feeling and not assuming that I know

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· Responding to someone who is angry in a way that his feelings are not ignored

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· Responding to someone who is expressing closeness and affection in a way that his feelings are not ignored

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· Watching a group to determine how much agreement exists in a group discussion

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OBSERVING SELF

· Talking in group discussions

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· Getting and giving feedback

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· Being aware of my own feelings

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· Being able to stand silence

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· Being able to stand tension and conflict

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· Accepting help from others

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· Offering help to others

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· Yielding to others, giving in when appropriate

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· Standing up for myself

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· Being protective of others

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Handout #2 - SMCR Communication Model

Figure 2. 

Handout #3 - Nonverbal Communication

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION CHARACTERISTICS

You cannot avoid nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal behavior is not always easy to understand.

Nonverbal communication primarily expresses feelings.

Nonverbal communication is affected by culture.

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TYPES OF NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION

Voice

Appearance

Face and eyes

Posture

Personal space and distance

Time

Touch

Body orientation

Handout #4 - Read Me!

READ ME!

What is going on in each drawing? Can you "read" the people's gestures and facial expressions? Examine each drawing and then write in the space with the matching number what message is being communicated. Are people tired, hungry, pleased, loving, angry or what? How do you know? Don't forget that in some cultures, some of these expressions and gestures would mean something very different.

Figure 3. 

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Figure 6. 

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Figure 7. 

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Figure 8. 

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Figure 9. 

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Handout #5 - Communication - Key to Good Relationships

COMMUNICATION KEY TO GOOD RELATIONSHIPS

Communication is an important factor in any relationship. When people communicate, they share feelings, ideas, facts, attitudes and beliefs. This exchange of messages often helps each person know what to expect from others as well as what is expected from him/her. Communication also enables us to test our thoughts, reduce tension and resolve conflicts, solve problems, gain knowledge and develop a better understanding of others.

Effective communication is difficult to achieve because it is a fairly complicated process. If any of the 3 basic elements in the process--the sender, the receiver, the message-- are unclear or contradictory, then a communication "breakdown" or "failure" may happen.

There are some specific skills that can be learned to promote effective communication. If you are the receiver, you can learn to listen accurately as well as reflect back to the sender the message that's heard. As a sender, you can improve your skills in sending clear, accurate and specific messages.

Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

People communicate through an exchange of messages, which are composed of verbal and nonverbal cues. However, these verbal and nonverbal cues must agree for effective communication to happen. In other words, it's not only what is said that is important, but how it's said as well. For example, if you are talking to a person who is shaking his head "no" while telling you verbally "yes," he'd like to dance, you are apt to feel confused by these conflicting cues.

Factors Contributing to Poor Communication

A person may be preoccupied and not able to listen to what others are saying.

A person can be so interested in communicating his own messages and formulating a response that he listens to others only to find an opening to communicate his own message.

Sometimes an individual listens to evaluate and make judgments about the speaker, who may become defensive and end the interaction.

A lack of trust may be a cause. Distrust can cause less talking and sharing of information and suspicion about the information being communicated. When trust is high, there tends to be a greater level of understanding.

Improving Communication

Every person has the chance to improve his/her interpersonal relationships by developing a more open, honest communications system. There is not an instant formula for successful communication, but here are some guidelines which you may find helpful.

Be willing to communicate. This involves accepting responsibility for one's own feelings and ideas and willingness to share personal beliefs, wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings. "I think...", I feel hurt...", "I get angry...". "I would like...", etc.

Try to understand others. Hear what the person has to say. Listen attentively, keep an open mind, and try not to jump to conclusions.

Build others' self-concept. The choices you make each day about what to say, how to say it and what circumstances do affect others' feelings of self-concept. Think about the type of messages you have communicated to your family and friends recently. Did your statements build self-concept or wound it? Were your conversations positive and encouraging--or were they filled with complaints and criticism?

Create an atmosphere for communication. When people feel comfortable and relaxed with one another, they are more likely to share confidences and problems. It's easier to be honest with oneself and others if you don't feel threatened or defensive about what you say.

Develop communication skills. Better listening, maintaining eye contact and using feedback can make effective communication easier.

Homework Assignment

Activity 1 - Using SMCR Communication Model

Activity 1. Use the SMCR Communication Model to describe a situation that happened to you. Tell about each part of the model as it happened in your situation.

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Activity 2 - Nonverbal Communication Examples

Activity 2. Describe some examples of nonverbal communication and what these actually meant to the receiver of the message.

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Letter to Parents

Communication with Others

Dear Parent,

Just as birds are born to fly, we human beings are born to communicate with each other. Our ability to use language enables us to send messages to others, to convey our ideas and wishes to the people around us. In addition to sending messages, we expect to understand and act upon our messages in an appropriate manner. In families, communication is the tool we use to handle disagreements, to make decisions, and to set up rules. It plays a key role in drawing family members closer together or in pushing them apart.

Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages, or exchanging information. It requires two or more individuals and it may be verbal (an exchange of words) or nonverbal (including body language, expressions, tone of voice).

Although elements of communication are relatively simple, putting communication into practice is much more difficult. Research suggests that communication can be improved if one gives feedback, establishes eye contact, and is generous with praise. Saying what you feel and think about something which bothers you, rather than attacking the other person for it, contributes to sound communication. Some common mistakes made in communication include interrupting, arguing over the facts, blaming each other, attacking personalities, making the other person feel guilty, and sending mixed messages or saying one thing while your facial expressions or gestures (nonverbal communications) say the opposite.

Good communication is largely a matter of good listening, but good listening takes considerable skill. We often think we are hearing the other person, when in actuality we are not.

It is important to remember that the goal of effective communication is not agreement, but understanding. You have communicated well if you have heard and been heard. Understanding is different from being believed or agreed with, but it is essential to communication, and communication is essential to working out conflicts or disagreement.

Perhaps the secret of good communication within the family can be summed up as the ability to convey in one way or another the clear message that "I love you. I admire and respect you. I may disagree with what you want to do now, or I may even hate something you just did, but that doesn't change my high opinion of you; so let's work together to find a solution and make a decision we can both gladly accept."

Sincerely,

University of Florida County Extension Faculty

References

Berlo, D. (1960). Process of Communication. Introduction to Theory and Practice. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Couch, M., Flynn, J., Gross, P., and Thibodeaux, L. (N.D.). It's Up To Me. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas: Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

Godke, M.S. and Munson, M.K. (August, 1986). Leadership Skills You Never Outgrow, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois: Cooperative Extension Service, University of Illinois.

Goodbar, K. (1990). Communication: Listening and Feedback. In Archer, T., Elder, J., Goodbar, K., Hodson, R., and Kelon, S. (October, 1990). Teen Community Leadership College. 2nd Edition. Shelby County Ohio: Ohio Cooperative Extension Service.

Miller, J.L. (1985). Dare To Be You, 2nd Edition. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University.

Nolan, C. and Rutledge, J. (1988). The Lively World of Intercultural Communication. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida: Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders

Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders is a six part curriculum designed for volunteers who work with young people. It is designed to enable teachers to apply a systematic approach to training youth for leadership roles in schools and neighborhoods. Each module includes training materials and activities that can be used for leadership education for students and youth groups. Partial funding for the development of these modules was provided by The Junior Woman's Club of Milton, Florida.

Modules:

Module I - You Can Be A Leader
Module II - Knowing and Accepting Yourself
Module III - Being Your Best
Module IV - Communicating With Others
Module V - Listening Skills to Improve Communication
Module VI - Making a Decision

Developed by:

Elizabeth B. Bolton, Professor
Community Development
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Gainesville, FL 32611-0310

Assistance provided by:

John R. Rutledge, Former Associate Professor
4-H Youth Specialist
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Gainesville, FL 32611-0520
Linda Bowman and Linda Barber
Santa Rosa County Cooperative Extension
Milton, FL 32570-8944

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS9091, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original print publication date 1993. Revised and published on EDIS March 2006. Reviewed July 2009 and March 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Elizabeth B. Bolton, Professor, Community Development, John R. Rutledge, Former Associate Professor, 4 H- Youth Specialist, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611-0310, Linda Bowman, Family Consumer Sciences Agent and Linda Barber, Former 4-H Agent, Santa Rosa County Cooperative Extension Service, Milton, FL.


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U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.