“Heavenly Father has given us a priceless gift in our capacity to communicate with each other. Our communications are at the core of our relationships with others… Our communications reflect in our countenance. Therefore, we must be careful not only what we communicate, but also how we do so. Souls can be strengthened or shattered by the message and the manner in which we communicate.”— L. Lionel Kendrick
Prepare Yourself Spiritually
What does it mean to communicate well? How does God ensure that we understand His messages? How does communicating with grace bring you closer to Father in Heaven?
How will understanding verbal and non-verbal communication help a class or quorum?
|How are our communications at the core of our relationships with others?
How do our communications reflect in our countenance?
Why must we be careful not only what we communicate, but also how we do so?
|Prayerfully study the following scriptures and other resources, selecting those that best apply to the young men and young women to teach them about communicating well:
||Teaching in the Savior’s way
View: Answering a class member’s questions to watch for body language and voice inflections. Remember the Savior loved those He taught. His hands, face and posture spoke love to those he spoke with. He listened and watched their expressions to better understand them. What can you do to understand the interests and needs of the youth you teach? How will this influence the way you teach them?
Each of the activities below will help youth understand the importance of communicating well. Complete each of the three sections below by prayerfully selecting one or more activities in each section that will work best for you and your quorum:
Note: Be familiar with Communicating Well Part 2. The communication skills presented in that session will be added to those presented here.
1- Build on the communication ideas during Mutual’s opening.
Choose from these activities:
- Ask: why are you here? Accept a variety of answers. Give positive responses to those who participate. Tell participants that most of their responses are on target. Most important, the focus of this training is strengthening the leadership abilities of every participant, and communication is job #1—Get youth to share ideas, which is another way of communicating.
- There are many ways to discover the meaning of leadership, but one good way to begin is to ask successful leaders to give their thoughts on what leadership means to them. Divide the group up, giving each one part of Spencer J. Condie’s “Some Scriptural Lessons on Leadership.” Let them move to breakout areas for 5–8 minutes, then call them back to report on the lessons listed in Brother Condie’s talk:
- A leader must have a vision of the work which lies ahead.
- A leader must be humble and obedient.
- Leadership positions do not totally protect us from temptation.
- Knowledge and wisdom alone do not qualify people to lead.
- Faith in the Lord and high expectations can bring about a mighty change of heart
- Leaders are duty-bound and obligated to prepare others to take their place
- A leader in the Lord’s kingdom must be meek and lowly of heart
- Read the last section of L. Lionel Kendrick’s “Christlike Communications” (section titled Christlike Communications), and discuss it in your group. Make a list of Christlike communications, and share it with the ward.
- Find other examples of leadership in the scriptures. It is interesting to hear about successful leaders in the scriptures; how many can your class or quorum find and describe? Explain how each example offers ideas on the meaning of leadership, and tell each explanation has something special about it.
Introduce the next learning objective with this statement: Something that leaders have in common is good communication skills. In fact, they probably all would agree that one of the most important tools of leadership is the ability to communicate well.
2- Understand that skills of communicating well are not just for presentations but can be used whenever you are sharing ideas.
Choose from these activities:
- Read: What Are You Really Saying? The Power of Nonverbal Communication from the LDS Employment Services Website. Have the priests and laurels demonstrate good and bad body language for a job interview. Ask them to list the best and worst examples demonstrated
How many eyes do you have? (Two.) Ears? (Two.) Feet? (Two.) Hands? (Two.) Mouths? (One.) Use them in that proportion—listening more than talking, being aware of all the body language you can use.
- Ask: What is communicating? Accept a variety of answers. Give positive responses to those who participate. Tell participants that most of their responses are on target—but remember it’s all about sharing ideas and getting them comfortable talking with each other, which is another way of communicating.
- Watch the “Communicating Well” video on the NYLT DVD or on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44tEko0YYbE) just for fun before the presentation is made. Show it if you like, (but remember it takes 13 minutes) or act it out yourselves.
- If you act it out use these or other tips you talked about in Bishop’s Youth Council (BYC)
Tell participants: My ears and eyes tell me that I have talked enough for the moment, and it is time for you to become active partners in this communication. Turn over the presentation to your Priests and Laurels so that you can break out into teams and practice these communication skills yourselves. Move on to objective 3.
3. See, discuss, and practice some of the basic skills of communicating effectively using built-in tools—eyes, ears, mouth, feet, and hands.
Choose from these activities:
- Priests and Laurels help break the other classes and quorums for this exercise.
The Priests and Laurels explain that participants will take turns practicing effective communication skills by making a short presentation to their group. The content of the presentation is not important for this exercise—in fact, they will simply recite the alphabet. What matters is using as many communication skills as possible.
Priests and Laurels begin the exercise by standing in front of the group. They’ll demonstrate effective communication skills, reciting the alphabet using body language and voice inflection to make different points. Next, they ask several other youth to stand in front of the group and repeat the exercise, concentrating on using effective communication skills.
- Other activity options can be designated by the BYC.
Invite to Act
Each leadership skill should be followed with a reflection. All you have to do is remember this: reflection is simply the process of youth talking about their experiences immediately after an exercise or activity with some wise moderation.
Reflecting on an activity or lesson only needs to take a few minutes. Get the youth to contribute by asking them to find the values that lie beneath the surface of what they just did. Can they assign spiritual “likening” to the activity? We can make any experience more meaningful and effective if we reflect upon it.
Ask the youth how they will use what they learned about communication to change their actions in the future. What will they do differently today, tomorrow, this week, and this year? Have them write down their ideas.
Discuss with the youth what their next skill application challenge will be. Ask them to consider how what they’ve learned about team development applies to the challenge. Encourage them to apply their new skills and ideas about team development to the activity.
This series was adapted from National Youth Leader Training to help leaders teach LDS youth leadership skills so that those leaders can confidently “Let Them Lead.”
Authors: Maria Milligan and Darryl Alder | LDS NYLT writing team; at Utah National Parks Council Maria is Chief of Staff and Darryl is Strategic Initiatives Director. Together they help LDS Stakes meet their camping and training needs a customized basis.