The current blogspot will be based on the question “what are the attending skills activities?. We will focus on the various activities that can be used to build attending skills that foster better communication.
What are the attending skills activities?
Attending skills are at the core of effective communication. Without learning and implementing attending skills, it is difficult to carry out effective communication on a routine basis. Attending skills enable us to listen and respond well to the other person and the message being conveyed.
The attending skills are usually learnt as children. We learn the attending skills by observing our elders and significant others, and attend well to the other people and to ourselves.
Following are the activities that can be used to build attending skills:
- Role plays
- Group discussions
- Group tasks
- Mock Interviews
- Being in the moment
Psychoeducation is an important strategy to impart knowledge regarding attending skills. It is based on creating awareness and advocacy regarding the use of attending skills. Through psychoeducation we can motivate individuals to practice attending skills in routine conversations.
The psychoeducation strategy regarding the attending skills involve the following activities :
- Information regarding the basics of attending skills
- Studying the various components of attending skills, including the verbal and non verbal components
- In detail elaboration of the non verbal components of attending skills
- Differentiation of the impact of dealing someone with attending skills versus dealing someone without attending skills
- Educating the individuals about the importance of attending skills in conflict avoidance
- Using case study scenarios to discuss the validity of attending skills in routine life.
Role plays are an activity to learn various attending skills and communication skills. Role plays help us learn and practice attending skills to inculcate them later in our lives. During role plays, a teacher or a trainer makes the individual sit in a pretend situation that is assumed to be based on two different roles. Both roles are based on a situation like a doctor and a patient, a teacher and a student, a father and a daughter, a mother and a father and so on.
Both the trainer and the individual sit in a comfortable position to act out the role play scenario. At first the trainer takes on the role of the person who knows how to use attending skills in a scenario and communicate with other people while using them. While attending the individual during the role play scenario, the situation is usually kept less complicated.
After completing the role play, the trainer asks for feedback from the individual who participated in the role play. The trainer also picks out two or three moments from the role play scenario and asks the individual if instead of responding through attending skills the trainer would have responded without using the attending skills to the same scenario.
If the activity is done in a group setting, the other group individuals can observe the role play and the trainer at the end can ask for their feedback related to attending skills.
Before starting role play, the trainer or the teacher tends to educate the individuals the key aspects of attending skills and also educate them the importance of attending skills in our routine life.
Afterwards, the individuals of the group can replicate the attending skills role play under supervision of the trainer and practice attending skills.
Group discussions is yet another activity to train individuals about attending skills. By setting rules for the group that are related to attending skills, the group can be provided with a certain topic to discuss by being attentive to the other people in the group.
Following group rules can be discussed before a group discussion:
- Avoid conflicts
- Be kind to each other
- Maintain eye contact
- Pay attention to what the other person says or does
- Notice non verbal behaviors
- Practice empathy
- Be there for eachother
- Avoid religious and political disregard
The trainer, after setting rules, makes the participants sit comfortably in a group position. The participants are then given a topic to discuss. The trainer keeps an eye on the participants during the group discussion and notices the moments that need to be positively or negatively criticized.
Another option to provide feedback of attending skills in a group discussion is to record the group discussion and play the discussion on a multimedia to take feedback of every participant from other group participants. The participants can be asked to name the group rule that was practiced or the group rule that were overlooked during the group discussion scenario.
Another advanced level of attending skills activity is the group task. Assigning a group task to different teams where they work towards achieving a goal can help the members of the team learn attending skills better.
Group tasks enable the members of the group to respond and listen effectively while communicating to each other in the group. The members of the group attend to each other’s needs without having a biased attitude towards each other.
The trainer asks the groups to come up with a presentation in the form of oral or graphics on a topic that is sensitive. They need to present regarding rape or child abuse to parents of rape victims or child abuse victims. Hence the group needs to attend well to the needs of their audience, they need to know which terms might hurt their feelings and what phrases might be triggers for the audience.
The group tasks educate the individuals about practicing attending skills within a group and taking care of the needs of the other people involved in the activity. Through such activities, individuals learn the ways to avoid forming biased judgements and jumping to conclusions regarding other group members.
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Conducting mock interviews is yet another activity for practicing attending skills. In order to learn the effectiveness of attending skills in a communication setting, the trainer conducts mock interviews of the individuals. The mock interviews could be regarding job scenarios or any conflict resolution scenario. The individuals go through interviews in a mock session where the interviewer attends them well by listening to them with an open mind and paying attention to their underlying needs.
Hence the individuals learn how attending skills make them feel heard and attended well.
Being in the moment
A person cannot attend well to the other person in a communication setting if the persons’ attention is not focused on the outside environment. Being in the moment activity helps individuals to learn attending skills by focusing their energies out of themselves to the external environment.
The trainer asks the individuals to use their five senses and notice the various things that they can smell, see, hear, touch and taste in their environment. They are also asked to observe the non verbal cues of the people around them and pay attention to the body language and facial expressions of people that they talk to in their daily routines.
Being in the moment activity helps us learn to be more accepting for other people and listening to them being more open minded and empathetic.
The current blogspot focused on the 5 activities that can be effectively used to learn and practice attending skills in communication. We elaborated each activity in detail to know the importance and effectiveness of each activity for learning attending skills.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Attending Skills Activities
What are basic attending skills?
Attending skills are defined as a number of non-verbal and verbal behaviours that enhance effective listening and communication
How do you teach attending skills?
You can teach attending skills through :
- Role play
- Talking and interacting
- Providing positive feedback
- Practicing attending skills yourself while dealing with others
What are attending strategies?
Following are some of the attending strategies :
- Maintaining a good posture that is more receptive
- Maintaining eye contact
- Providing non verbal feedback through head nodding
- Being observant of the other person’s verbal and non verbal behaviors