Description: This activity invites your group to experience different communication styles through an interactive game.

Instructions: Even if there are no linguistic barriers, clear communication can be complicated by differences in social and cultural etiquette, personal body language, past experiences, and more. To explore this phenomenon, have one member of the group pass out a Communication Style slip (included below) to each group member.

Style A
Follow these directions:
● Avoid eye contact when speaking
● Do not show any emotion or react when another group member is speaking
● Speak more softly than you normally would

Style B
Follow these directions:
● Sit or stand a few inches closer to the person next to you than usual
● Gesture often when speaking

Style C
Follow these directions:
● Speak louder than you normally would
● Frequently interrupt other group members when they are speaking
● Initiate conversation by asking a lot of questions (including fairly personal ones)

Style
Follow these directions:
● Do not interrupt other group members when they are speaking
● Silently count to six before responding to another group member
● Do not initiate conversation or ask questions

1. Make sure to hand out a different Communication Style to each group member if possible.
2. Without sharing the instructions on their slip with the rest of the group, each member should review their Communication Style.
3. Once each group member has reviewed their instructions, begin a conversation. You may wish to choose a conversation topic beforehand, or a conversation topic may emerge naturally.
4. When it seems like the conversation is dying down, ask a volunteer from Style A to read the instructions for their Communication Style out to the group.
5. When the volunteer from Style A has finished speaking, ask the group what they noticed about their reactions to the Style A type of communication. What did you find challenging? What did you notice about your reactions?
6. Repeat for each of the Communication Styles.
7. When everyone has had a chance to share, discuss how differences in communication styles can create challenges for effective support.