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Weekly / Daily



To demonstrate how the power of words can contribute to positive and creative ideas and conversations, as opposed to limiting or shutting down inspirational thinking

  • Divide the class in small teams of three to five students.
  • With little explanations, ask teams to plan a holiday party. Each time someone suggests an idea, ask students to follow up with their answer starting with “Yes… but…”
  • Provide three minutes.
  • Once the allocated time has passed, ask these same teams to plan a summer party. After every new idea, ask students to answer starting with “Yes… and…”
  • Provide three minutes.
  • Discuss as a class:
    • Which party they would prefer to attend? Why?
    • What was the difference between these two planning sessions?
  • The idea is to reinforce the importance of building on others’ ideas, rather than limiting them.

Could be practiced before brainstorming sessions.

Active listening helps listeners better understand others’ perspectives and helps speakers feel more understood and less threatened, which is a technique that prevents miscommunication and spares hurt feelings on both sides (Weger, 2014). By improving communication and preventing arguments from escalating, active listening can increase relationship satisfaction and longevity (Bodie et al., 2015). Practising active listening with someone close to you can also help you to listen better when interacting with other people in your life, such as friends, family members, acquaintances, roommates, co-workers, etc (Gearhart & Bodie, 2011).

Bodie, G.D., Vickery, A.J., Cannava, K. & Jones, S.M. (2015) The Role of “Active Listening” in Informal Helping Conversations: Impact on Perceptions of Listener Helpfulness, Sensitivity, and Supportiveness and Disclosure Emotional Improvement, Western Journal of Communication, 79:2, 151-173. doi: 10.1080/10570314.2014.943429

Gearhart, C. & Bodie, G.D. (2011). Active-Empathic Listening as a General Social Skill: Evidence from Bivariate and Canonical Correlations. Communication Reports, 24, 86-98. 10.1080/08934215.2011.610731.

Weger, H., Castle Bell, G., Minei, E.M., & Robinson, M.C. (2014) The Relative Effectiveness of Active Listening in Initial Interactions, International Journal of Listening, 28:1, 13-31,doi: 10.1080/10904018.2013.813234