INTRODUCTORY INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION EXERCISES
Sit across from your partner at a distance of 18-48 inches. For two minutes you must both sit in silence. You must look at your partner for the entire two minute period. You succeed in this exercise if you are able to keep your eyes on your partner for the entire two minutes. It is not important if your partner maintains eye contact with you. It is only important that you look the entire two minutes at the other person's face or eyes without moving your glance to anything else.
When you have your partner's approval for completing this exercise you may move to the closure exercise below.
Sit across from your partner at a distance of 18-48 inches. You will ask your partner to look at various objects or locations in the room until you have asked your partner to look at a total of 20 objects. After your partner looks at each of these objects, you will say, "thank you." Once your partner has looked at twenty objects, your partner will tell you that you have successfully accomplished this exercise designed to teach you to close cycles of communication.
With your partner's approval you may move to the next exercise.
Sit across from your partner at a distance of 18-48 inches. In this exercise, you will sit and listen to your partner attempt to harm you emotionally with his words. He has two minutes to go on a verbal rampage against you. He can say anything he wants, using any tone of voice he wants. His objective is to get you to argue or disagree with him. You successfully accomplish this exercise if you remain silent during the entire two minute time period and maintain eye or face contact without looking away. If you laugh or talk, you must start over.
At the end of the two minutes, thank your partner and make sure he knows that this was your exercise and that you know what he said was designed by you, to help you. He meant no harm. You asked him to do this exercise to help you deflect the verbal abuses of others. With your partner's approval you may move on to the final exercise to help you in confrontational communications.
Answer my question-
Sit between 18 and 48 inches across from your partner. Ask them a specific question.
- "Do dogs meow?"
You are going to say, "thank you," when your partner answers you with "no." However the partner can choose not to respond, change the subject or ask you the question back instead of answering your question with a no. Your partner may do this four times for each of these four questions. He must give you a straight "no" answer on or before the fifth time you ask, "do dogs meow."
You succeed if you only say, "Do dogs meow?" after each non-responsive answer and when you say "thank you" to the correct answer to the question.
The other three questions are these:
- "Are mailmen all women?"
- "Do birds eat sharks?"
- "Can you walk on water?"
The correct answer to all the questions is "no," and you must eventually elicit a no response from your partner. You may only use the words in the original question. This is how you succeed. No time limit is necessary, but each question should take no more than two minutes.
The purpose of this exercise is to teach you to remain focused on the goal of your communication and your ability to ask the same question after it has been ignored or a new direction has been taken by your partner.
When these exercises are completed, have your partner express his or her true feelings about you, to you. If anything he said still has you upset, make certain you discuss this now with your partner.
These exercises teach you to communicate and maintain your composure easily and effectively in difficult situations. Having mastered these difficult exercises you will be ready to move toward the macro level of interpersonal communication.
To Be Continued...