WEEK 3: Communication
"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and
use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others."
(This week, you can choose 2 out of 3 challenges!)
Challenge #1: Try "active listening" with a friend or roommate
Active listening is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the
words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to
understand the complete message being sent. Oftentimes,
we find ourselves distracted or thinking about our own response, rather than fully listening.
Active listening is mainly a technique in which one basically paraphrases what the other person has said to make sure that they fully understand what they are saying. Use this in your life to become a better communicator, have better relationships, and avoid misunderstandings!
In active listening, one needs to participate in the conversation by doing the following:
- Paraphrasing what the person has said (this has many benefits, including avoiding miscommunications and false assumptions)
- Clarifying which is basically asking questions until you fully understand the other person’s point of view.
- Giving feedback allows you to share your thoughts and feelings in a nonjudgmental way.
- Using I statements (send messages that reflect your own thoughts,
feelings, and beliefts) Ex: "I feel frustrated when you leave the dirty
dishes" versus "You never wash your dishes."
Now that you have the basics, the challenge for you is to try these techniques out the next time you’re having a conversation with a friend!
Challenge #2: Have a conversation with someone in an assertive manner.
Assertiveness is the middle point between passive and aggressive--it is just the right balance.
It is thinking and acting in ways that demonstrate self respect and respect for others.
How to do it?
- Try to speak with facts rather than with judgment. Ex: I see that you have not been eating lunch and dinner versus Why are you starving yourself?
- Use "I statements"
- Try to be as honest as you can while remaining respectful.
- Avoid generalizations, advice-giving, criticizing, blaming, indirect statements, etc.
Remember: being assertive requires practice so don't be too hard on yourself if you fall into a more passive or aggressive category sometimes!
Challenge #3: What do you like about yourself?
Close your eyes and ask yourself "What are the things I say to myself which are put-downs?"
Listen to those little voices in your head which attack your own self-esteem. Next, take a piece of paper and divide the page vertically, creating 2 columns. On the right side label it as "Self put-downs." Then write down all the put-downs you send yourself at this particular time in life. Write them down from the second person point of view. Read over the, and let your feelings come out by answering back in the empty, left hand column.
Put-down: You waste too much time procrastinating on school work.
Response: Nobody is perfect and I have been working on managing my time better.
By pinpointing and dealing with attacks on your self-esteem coming from within you, you are training
yourself to deal with put-downs from others.
References and Resources:
McKay, Matthew, Martha Davis, and Patrick Fanning. Messages: The Communication Skills Book. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 1995. 18-20. Print.
You're done for the week!
Go ahead and click the link below to tell us how the challenges went for you.