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Improving Communication Skills

Paying Attention & Listening to Others

Download the PDF Forms:

Purpose:  To help individuals with communication and social skill deficits to identify four important behaviors related to listening and understand the purpose for those behaviors.

Real Life Examples

During circle time or classroom instruction


During lecture or group discussion


During employment training


  • Brainstorm on a piece of paper some important reasons for “listening” to other people when they are talking.
  • Present the four important behaviors for being a good listening from the “Listening to Others” T-Chart.
  • Cut out the “purpose” column answer squares from one hand out and have your student/child glue them into the correct space on the addition blank T-Chart.
  • Model each of the four skills from the T-Chart for your student/child.  Have him/her determine which skill you are modeling and state the purpose for the behavior.
  • Have your student/child model the behavior to get a “feel” for how it should be done.
  • Videotape their “performance” and let them watch it back and critique themselves to improve for next time.
Role playing can feel very awkward for both the teacher and student.  If this is not comfortable, start out by going out in the community and “people watching”.  Pretend this is a “social behavior investigation” and have your student/child be a detective.  Watch and determine if the people you are observing are using the four skills highlighted in the activity.  Also, work on “guessing” how people are feeling based on their body language.  If this can’t be done in the community, watch a show on television with the volume off so that you and your student can focus on the non-verbal communicative behaviors.