L1 Communication

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Aim: To become effective communicators in one-to-one situations and to an audience. This should run over several weeks. Taken from the BB Seniors Challenge Plus Pro Pack Life Skills Project L-1


Taster 1
• Copies of the “Assertiveness Quiz” template
• Paper
• Pens

Taster 2
• Paper
• Pens

Taster 3
• Ideally you should use bells, buzzers or similar for the individuals playing. Alternatively, players adopt a “sound” they make when challenging the speaker.
• A list of subjects to talk about
• Stopwatch

Taster 4
• Laptops
• Digital cameras
• Projector
• Screen

Christian Faith

• Video Camera
• Projector
• Screen
• Props as needed


Taster 1 - How assertive are you (1) ?

Aim: To look at the differences between being “assertive”, “passive” and “aggressive” and how these communication styles can help or hinder you in your relationships and in life.

Hand out a pen and a copy of the Assertiveness Quiz” template to everyone in the group. If you know that some group members will struggle with this, suggest doing it in pairs. There are a series of situations and possible responses shown on the page. Tick the response that you feel would be closest to your own reaction in a similar circumstance. Most people are familiar with quizzes such as this, and so will need minimum support.

Once everyone has finished come together. Read out the questions and the answers how many “a”, “b” and “c’s” they have ticked. Stress that no one needs to share encourage feedback.

Think about:

• Which letter have they ticked the most?
• Do they agree with the statement about themselves?
• Do they agree with the quiz?
• How easy is it to say what you want?
• How can you be more assertive without becoming aggressive?

Make sure that you understand the idea of assertive communication yourself so you can get involved in the discussions. Go to www.supportline.org.uk/problems/assertiveness.php and
www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/assertiveness.asp for more information.

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
Be sensitive to the possibility that group members may have experienced bullying or harassment and, for them, this subject will have added significance.

Taster 2 - How assertive are you (2)

Aim: To look at situations where we want to be more assertive.

In pairs get everyone to make a list of situations where they would like to be more assertive, e.g. taking faulty goods hack to a shop, telling cold-callers (phone or doorstep) that you don’t want whatever they’re
selling, being bullied, standing up to a friend who’s very demanding. Be honest and give an example for situations in which you would like to be more assertive.

In pairs, think about how you can achieve this. Remember that assertiveness is midway between being passive and always giving in to others, and being aggressive. It’s not always about getting what you want,
but it is about being clear and feeling better about yourself.

You could rehearse” what you want to say or do, and maybe swap places so you can feel what it is like to listen to someone being assertive, but not aggressive.

Summarise by asking people to share (if they wish to) what they have decided to change in their lives. Wish them luck and say that they can review their progress next week if appropriate.

Familiarise yourself with the following assertiveness techniques:

1. “I” messages
If you are unhappy about someone’s behaviour is it best to say how you feel rather than attacking the other person. This means using the word “I” in what you say. Suppose you had cooked a meal several evenings on the run for your flatmate and each time he or she had arrived late and the dinner had been spoiled. A suitable “I” message might be “I get very upset when you arrive late for dinner because I put a lot of energy into making it and I feel it’s a waste if the food is cold or overdone.”

This tells the other person how you feel and paves the way for a helpful discussion of the situation. This is different from “you” messages which attack the other person, e.g. “You’re always late for dinner. You’re selfish and inconsiderate. You can make your own dinner from now on.”

2. The Scratched Record
This can be useful with strangers when you have a specific task e.g. when taking goods back to the shops. It consists simply of repeating your point several times no matter how the other person tries to divert you:

Customer: “Hello, I’d like to return these trousers because they’ve got a mark on them”

Shopkeeper: “Hmm...well, it’s only a small mark. It will probably wash off”.

Customer: “I’d still like them changed please”.

Shopkeeper: “We don’t have any more of that size in stock”.

Customer: “I would like a replacement pair”.

Shopkeeper: “OK. We’ll re-order them and they should be in by the end of the week’

Safety Issues I Risk Assessment:
Be sensitive to the possibility that group members may have experienced bullying or harassment and, for them, this subject will have added significance.

Taster 3 - Just A Minute

Aim: To have fun while thinking on your feet!

The object of the game is for participants to talk for “just a minute” on a given subject, “without repetition, hesitation or deviation”. To speak for the full minute without being challenged can be very difficult!

• Elect a “Chairperson” who gives out the subjects and decides if the challenges are valid.
• The first player is given a subject from the list and as they start to speak, the clock starts.
• If the first speaker hesitates, repeats a word (any word, even “the’ or “and”) or has deviated too far from the subject then another player can challenge by sounding their buzzer.
• Whilst the challenge is being made the stopwatch stops.
• The “Chair’ then rules whether or not the challenge is valid, at which point the successful challenger takes up the subject, but from the point where the clock stopped.
• The winner is the person talking when the minute is up.

- Make a long list of subjects — some easy, some difficult and some downright bizarre!

Tips I Advice:
• Keep it rolling at a fast pace, encourage everyone to get involved and make sure the Chair is assertive!
• Take turns at being the Chair.

Taster 4 - Death by Powerpoint

Aim: To create a Powerpoint presentation using only 5 words.

Most people will have heard the expression ‘death by PowerPoint” and even more will have felt the mind-numbing effects of sitting through long boring presentations with slides consisting of little more than bullet point lists! Furthermore, it is true to say that many people using PowerPoint fail to use their own personalities and skills as the audience will be focussed on a screen and not on the presenter. This taster challenges the group members to come up with a truly powerful PowerPoint by giving a presentation where they are the star of the show, and the slides add impact rather than draining energy from the audience.

Using the following guidelines, give a presentation (using one, two or three presenters — whatever people prefer) where the PowerPoint slides feature only images. You are allowed just S words to use as a title! If you can, try and make the presentation a “real” one, i,e. for church, or at a display night or for recruiting new members at school etc. If this is not possible, then have a list of subjects available for people to choose from. These can range from the serious, e.g. poverty, child labour, racism, homelessness etc, to the more random and light-hearted, e,g. their favourite band, best holiday destination, worst ever N programme, why school should be abolished, the joy of socks, stupidest hobby, etc. Whatever the subject, the aim is to “wow” the audience and generate an emotional reaction.

• Tell your audience a story.
• The first 5 slides are the most important.
• If your audience don’t like you they won’t listen, so sell yourself.
• A picture is worth a thousand words.
• Go for an emotional impact — happiness, sadness, drama, laughter, nostalgia, empathy, warmth, uplifting, injustice, shock etc. For example, if you are talking about conservation or the environment, find an image that makes the audience sit up — dead fish floating in a river, supermarket trolleys abandoned in parks, litter in hedgerows.
• Have your main points written on cue cards — not on your slides.
• Are you “telling” or “selling”? Do you want the audience to commit to a course of action afterwards? For example, donate to a charity, sign a petition, join the SB, start a campaign. Make it clear in your summary what you want them to do or remember.
• Keep it simple, short and go for maximum impact.

If the presentation is to be given at a future date, suggest a time for rehearsal. If it is just in the group, ask for volunteers to give their presentations and give constructive feedback.

Tips / Advice:
Here are some examples of using a minimum number of words for maximum impact:
— “Make films from the heart.” A Film School
— “Blog your photos — save trees.” PENTAX Photo Gallery
— “Games are good for you.” Discovery Channel
— “Design is changing the world.” A design business
— “Encourage kids to be creative.” Company promoting drama in schools
— “Don’t take your organs to heaven.” Organ donation campaign
Constructive feedback is essential and means telling people what went well, and giving positive messages. Get the presenter to say what they would do differently next time.

Christian Faith - Stories

Aim: To see how Jesus communicated a message to people.

Project Description:
Give each member of the group one minute to entertain and engage the group, however they can. If a member of the group gets bored make the sound of a buzzer.

Jesus often engaged people with his first action whether it was a question, story, strange statement or action. He grabbed their attention and then used this to guide the discussion so that it developed into a meaningful conversation about a life changing topic He met people where they were at whether they were drawing water from a well (John 4:1-42), fishing (Matthew 4:18-22). or collecting taxes (Luke 9:1-10). In John 3:1-21 Jesus’ first words to Nicodemus, a religious scholar, were a puzzle that left him searching.

Think about these stories:
• What initially engaged the characters in the story?
• What message did Jesus put across?
• What impact did it have?
• What stories or parts of The Bible stick in your mind the most?
• Why do you remember them?
• Why was Jesus a good communicator?
• Why does telling a story get a point across better than just telling someone what to do or think?
• What was Jesus trying to communicate?

The gospels are filled with stones of people who encountered Jesus and consequently their personal stories were forever changed!

Think about:
• Do you have a story about Gods impact on your life?
• How can your story impact others?

Tips / Advice
• Be Prepared to share your story with the group.
• The Art of Connecting is an excellent resource to equip young people sharing their faith. It runs over 7 weeks, will excite and encourage young people to examine their own story and journey with Jesus, to connect genuinely with their friends and their stories,’ and throughout — to go deeper in their knowledge of God’s story. Go to w.yfc.co.uk for more information.

Project - 3 Minute Wonder!

Aim: To make a 3 minute video to be entered into an annual national competition.

It’s time to get creative by making a 3 minute film on the subject of your choice. It can be animated, a short drama, a News at Ten” style piece, a documentary, a comedy etc. However it must be used to communicate a message. The winning film makers will receive £100 worth of cinema vouchers. Films will need to be emailed or sent to BBHQ by 30th June every year, and the winning film will be premiered at Brigade Council.

Think about:
• What groups will you work in? Between 3 and 5 people in a group is ideal, but if someone wanted to work alone this is also ok.
• What different roles will need to be fulfilled? Advise the groups to think about their roles — technical, script writers, direction, acting/presenting, make-up and costume etc.
• What deadline are you working to? Get an agreement on when the films need to be ready by.
• What idea is your film based around?
• What message are you trying to communicate?
• at are you going to shoot?
• What equipment and props do you need?

Tips / Advice:
• Make sure you have enough video cameras to go round.
• Most phones or digital cameras have the capability of recording a 3 minute video which can be edited on a PC.
• Plan the video with storyboards and research it before you shoot.
• You may wish to have a Cannes Film Festival" night at the company, when people vote for their favourite film. Have a prize ready for the winner, and make the Cannes evening as realistic as you like, e.g. red carpet, seats in rows, wearing bow ties or evening dress, popcorn etc.

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
The usual safety and supervision guidelines should be adhered to if people are going off-site to make their films.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award:
Skills: Public Speaking & Debating


  • challenge Plus
  • communication
  • communication skills
  • Debate
  • film making
  • Life skills
  • seniors
  • video making

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