Do You Hear What I Hear?

Thursday, December 7, 2000 ushered in the second in the series of SELT professional development sessions for 2000-01. Held in the CSB Alumnae Hall with approximately 55 supervisors attending, this fun and interactive breakfast session focused on:

  • ways to communicate clearly and effectively
  • the roles we play in communication
  • ideas to help improve listening skills

The session began with the exercise, "What is a Spoon?" Participants were read the dictionary definition of a spoon and then shown symbols representing the definition – anything from a frying pan to an enormous ladle (compliments of SJU Dining Service).  This exercise demonstrated how misunderstandings might occur in communication when words and symbols may not be the same for the communicating parties.

The next exercise was a lively and energetic teambuilding exercise in which participants learned more about the various roles we play in communication.  Each table was to replicate a Lego model – hidden behind a screen – with only one person viewing the model (looker), one person receiving and delivering instructions to build the model (runner) and one person assembling the model (builder). Other table members (observers) observed the interaction from a communication standpoint – how was effective communication used? Were there any breakdowns, misunderstandings, or frustrations?  As a large group, participants discussed what was observed, felt, experienced or learned during the activity, and how do we become more aware of the effectiveness of and our role in communication?

The session wrapped up with small group discussions of selected scenarios on communication in the work place. Each table discussed its scenario, developed effective ways to improve the situation and shared the ideas with the large group.  This was followed by a panel of supervisors addressing communication strategies and tips to improve our verbal and listening communication skills within the student employment environment.

Additional readings:

December 27, 2000