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The Coey Communicator

Demonstrate Positive Communication Skills--Public Speaking Workshop (2.2)


PORTFOLIO ASPECT 2.2 criteria #1-5  : Demonstrate Positive Communication Skills—

Public Speaking Workshop


q       Describes at least five interpersonal skills required to communicate effectively.

q       Links these to home, school, community, and/or workplace environments where the skills are needed.

q       Explains why these skills are valued in these settings.

q       Documents that you practiced communication skills in two or more situations.

q       Analyzes the impact of positive and effective interpersonal skills in relationships.


v      Complete the, Building Effective Interpersonal Communication Skills :

Self-Assessment Exercise  (get from instructor)

v      Fill out the attached chart using 5 Interpersonal Skills such as; initiating, rapport building, courtesy, body language (non-verbal communication),

I statements, acknowledgements, paraphrasing, questions, self-disclosure, eye contact, empathy, mirroring, disagreeing agreeably, accommodating style    

v      Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens p. 164-179

v      Summarize, with examples, the 5 Poor Listening Styles.

Spacing out _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pretend Listening


Selective Listening


Word Listening


Self-Centered Listening



v      Summarize Genuine Listening under the following headings.

Listen with your eyes, heart and ears


Stand in their shoes


Practice Mirroring



v      Create a speech for practicing good communication skills (attach).

v      Outline the elements of a good speech that you used for effective communication.



Analyze the impact of positive and effective interpersonal skills in relationships.









Interpersonal Skill


Link to Home, School or Community illustrating how the skill could be used

Why is this skill of value?














































   Skills Related to Effective Interpersonal Communication by Rick Van Acker

Rick Van Acker, Ed. D., is an Associate Professor of Education and Special Education Chairperson the University of Illinois at Chicago. This material is part of his handouts from the T/TAC-EV Conference, Challenging Behaviors: Making Our Schools Safe Again, May 1, 1997.


Non-verbal communication


The literature suggests that the majority (as much as 76%) of the message we give to another person during conversations is carried by non-verbal or para-verbal communication. Thus, we must be very careful and strategic in our use of non-verbal communication. The tone, volume, rhythm or cadence of our voice is critical. Blending and pacing are also important aspects of this skill.

Verbal messages

Your messages must convey empathy (the ability to communicate care and concern along with an understanding of another’s problem; that is, the ability to place oneself in a position to view the problem from the other’s perspective) and ‘genuiness’ (being honest, yet caring in discussions with a person). One of the most important skills you can display when attempting to verbally de-escalate a potential crisis situation is the ability to listen actively. This requires you  to listen to what the person is saying, as well as what the person is not saying. Attention to the person’s non-verbal behavior also is important.

The feedback loop

This strategy allows the you to provide important information related to a person's behavior and the honest impact this behavior has had on you. Often people are unaware of their behavior and they seldom realize the full impact of their behavior on others. In this intervention you describe the nature of the behavior that you observed (specific detail). You then indicate the way that behavior honestly impacted you. Then you ask if that was the intention of the behavior. This intervention calls upon the relationship you have developed with the individual. Often people will not respond favorably, but will later reflect on the interaction. Be sure to employ this feedback loop to desired behavior as well as undesired behavior.

"I" statements.

You should avoid messages that blame others or put people on the defensive. "I" statements allow you  to disclose your own feelings, attitudes, and desires related to the individual’s observable behavior. The importance is to communicate how you feel. For example, "Juan, I’m feeling very uncomfortable with this discussion."


You can acknowledge that you’ve heard and understand an individual’s point of view without the need to evaluate and/or agree with it- simply by indicating that you have received the message.

Summary statements or paraphrasing

Often you can help an individual understand that you are listening by providing short summaries of what you have heard him/her say. This also allows the individual to correct any misunderstandings that may arise.


The ability to use silence effectively is often helpful. You need not fill every "empty" moment with words. At times, silence is your ally. It allows people to reflect and their discomfort with silence may result in their willingness to share critical information.


Often people entering a crisis situation are unable to think and/or communicate clearly. Questions allow you to help clarify a given situation for both the individual and yourself. Use questions to help the individual focus and structure the conversation. Open-ended questions are more useful than those that can be answered with a "yes" or "no." Questions should be aimed at gaining additional information and upon the feelings generated.

"How do you feel when . . . ?"

"You sound angry. Did . . . embarrass you?"

Mild confrontation

Responding to discrepancies in what has been said or to discrepancies between the messages provided verbally and those provided non-verbally.

"Marion, you say that you’re not angry, yet your yelling and your fists are clenched. Can you help me understand this?"

Differences of opinion

Often more ground can be covered during a confrontation if you offer a statement acknowledging a difference of opinion, without attempting to resolve it. Attempt to stay with issues that are resolvable and/or which you both agree. Indicate acceptance of those portions of the "argument" that are agreeable and indicate that you may have to "agree to disagree" on other issues.

"It’s okay if you don’t agree. . . , but I’m glad we agree upon . . . "

"I have a problem . . ." technique.

An effective approach in some ‘conflictual’ situations is to approach the individual with the opportunity to help you with a problem. This is especially effective if you have a meaningful relationship with the person.

"I need your help, see we don’t seem to be hearing each other . . .. Could you help me with this?"



Often sharing a relevant story of your own experiences in similar situations can prove helpful in opening meaningful dialog. This needs to be employed carefully and sparingly.

Additive empathy

Statements that allow the individual to connect what they say with what you think they mean or what they say with how they seem to feel can help people recognize their own feelings and emotions and to explore possible options.

"You say you are mad, but as I listen to your voice and watch how you look down, I wonder if maybe you’re not also a little sad?"