Social Psychology

Tutorial 4:
Communication & Relationships

Last updated:
25 Aug 2005


  • The goal of this tutorial is to participate in some introductory communication and relationship training exercises.
  • Ideally, conduct this tutorial outdoors, etc. near a picnic table and grassy area.

Icebreaker (20 mins)

  • Use Name Tags (optional)
    • Continue to model using and asking people's names
  • 2 Truths & a Lie

Communication Activity (30 mins)

Active Listening Skills (25 mins)

  • The key to quality relationships is quality communication.  Not all communications are of "equal" quality.
  • What levels of communication are there?
    • Clichés
    • Facts
    • Ideas & Judgements
    • Feelings
  • What channels of communication (1-on-1) are there?  What percentage of a message's meaning is communicated through each channel? (should add to 100):
    • words used (7%)
    • tone of voice (38%)
    • body language (55%)
      • eye contact (illustrate this by having people in pairs stare into each other's eyes for ~60 secs)
      • proximity (illustrate this by having people in pairs stand a comfortable distance apart, then move closer, then move further apart)
      • stance
      • touch (illustrate this by having people hold hands and stare into each other's eyes for ~60 secs)
  • What are indicators of active listening? (i.e., when someone is really listening to you)
    • main criteria is a feedback cycle to help ensure real understanding is occuring, not just the following of scripts or low-level distracted-type communication, e.g., paraphrasing what someone has said and asking them to comment on whether this was the meaning they intended.
    • Use "I statements" e.g., "I feel" vs. "You should") (More information)
    • Use specific, situational, unstable attributions instead of global, dispositional, stable attributions
      (e.g., "You always take more than your fair share" vs. "I felt annoyed that you finished all the milk this morning and that there was none left for my coffee.")
  • Suggested links:

Pairs Essay Outline Feedback Exercise (30 mins)

  • Read over each other's essay outlines
  • Ask questions in order to better understand the intend of the essay - use the approach of appreciative inquiry, which is to joyfully try to discover latent understanding (as opposed to using judgement and evaluation)
  • Offer comments and feedback
  • Where students have not brought an essay outline, they should still be quizzed and facilitated by their partner to use this opportunity to get down a structure for their essay.