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  • By Jonathan Ruales
  • In DIY
  • Posted October 5, 2015

Hone your Team’s Communication and Active Listening Skills

Communication and active listening will never go out of style!

Here’s an excellent team icebreaker that will boost essential traits that successful companies and teams reflect!

Me, Myself and I

Purpose:

  • Participants see how often their communication is centered on themselves.

Use this when:

  • Individuals need to improve their communication skills to focus less on self and more on others.
  • Individuals need to focus on listening skills.
  • Individuals need to practice creativity (around communication techniques).
  • You don’t have prep time and/or materials for anything more elaborate.

No materials are necessary for this activity

Here’s how:

  1. Have the participants pair up.
  2. One partner begins speaking for 3 minutes nonstop. He must continue talking, no pauses.
  3. He may speak about any topic or several topics.
  4. He may never use the word “I.”
  5. The listening partner may not speak at all, not even to ask questions or say “uh-huh.”
  6. After his 3 minutes, reverse roles, and repeat.

Ask these questions:

  • Which role was easier for you, the speaker or the listener? Why?
  • How did you feel listening without being able to ask questions or contribute your own thoughts? (Left out, less connected, more focused on the speaker, etc.)
  • How did you feel speaking without being able to check in with your listener? (Worried that he was not understanding or did not care, uncomfortable with the attention on me, enjoying the attention and focus, etc.)
  • How difficult or easy was it to keep talking nonstop? Why?
  • What creative ways did you find to talk about yourself without using “I?”
  • How can we phrase our communications to focus better on the other person.
  • What implications does this have for us back on the job?

Tips for success:

  • Be prepared to demonstrate a portion of a 20-minute monologue without using “I” if the group demands it. Have the group try to catch you using an “I.”
  • Give a 30-second warning before the play ends.

Try these variations:

  • Add a get-to-know-you element by having them determine who is the first speaker and listener by who is oldest, who lives furthest from your location, who has the next birthday, the cutest pet, is most physically fit, and so forth.
  • Extend the speaking time to 5 minutes to make it more difficult.
  • Add competitiveness by allowing the listeners to gain two points for each time the speaker says “I” and one point when they pause more than 5 seconds. Be prepared with small prizes for the winner(s). During the debrief, ask how the competitiveness impacted the activity.

 

Source: Miller, Brian. Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers. New York: AMACOM, 2004. Print.

 

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