A part of Sieda Community Action’s mission is to form “partnerships” and provide “supportive services.” Monthly team meetings offer Family Development and Self Sufficiency (FaDSS) staff a chance to share information and sharpen skills. Deb Shubet, the FaDSS Program Manager, planned this month’s training activity as an opportunity to practice effective communication skills and then explore cooperation “working together toward a common goal often achieves results greater than the sum of the parts.”

“Communication is such an important key in daily life. It is crucial to the support FaDSS Generalists try to provide to the families with whom they visit monthly. Effective communication promotes improved personal and professional relationships, and it is a skill that can be practiced and improved,” Deb informed.

Below are the steps of the communication exercise FaDSS Generalists used to practice this skill. It is a great activity for showing the important parts of listening and speaking.

The 1st activity had the FaDSS Generalist work in pairs with one as the communicator, and the other as the listener. The partners sat back to back. The communicator selected one picture of a drawing and then was to give directions to the listener, who would try to draw what was described. The listener could not speak, and the communicator could not see the drawing.

When completed, the partners compared the real picture to the drawing. There was some success but the pairs noticed pieces that were missing. Most agreed that it would have been helpful if the listeners could ask questions of the communicator.

Step 2 of the activity with the same partners, was to pick a new picture to draw but this time the drawer can ask questions. There was much more interaction.

When the finished drawing was compared to the original picture the participants agreed it was much easier to draw with back and forth communication.

Step 3 involved one listener/drawer and two staff working together to give the directions for a new drawing. The listener/drawer was able to ask them questions.

At the end of this exercise, all the FaDSS staff agreed that working together helped give more ideas of how to draw the picture to the listener. Staff offered the idea that it would have also been helpful for the communicator to be able to see the face of the listener/drawer. The partners could observe if the directions made sense to the listener/drawer from their non-verbal cues and body language.

The most effective communication happens when there is a two-way communication that has both speak clearly, listen attentively and observe non-verbal clues. A great activity for any group or program to try.

FaDSS staff included…
Deb Shubat, Program Manager
Dianne Hendee for Appanoose, Davis and Wapello Counties
Jamie Anderson for Mahaska and Keokuk Counties
Joy Olson for Wapello County
Kirby Rowl for Jefferson and Van Buren Counties
Ona Miller Robertson for Wapello and Davis Counties