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Improving Communication Skills

Waiting Your Turn to Speak

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To help individuals that have communication issues understand the reciprocity needed to have a conversation with another person.

Real Life Examples

During circle time or show and tell


During a classroom discussion


At break time during work


  • Read the top portion aloud (“When people have a conversation, it is like playing a game of tennis”).
  • Pretend to hit an imaginary tennis ball back and forth to each other to get a “feel” for the process.
  • Brainstorm ideas for the section (“It is important to wait your turn to speak so that you can…”).  Write three appropriate responses into the first chart.
  • Brainstorm ideas for the section (“If you talk while another person is talking, the following things may happen…”. Write three appropriate responses into the second chart.
It is important to understand that individuals with communication issues have a difficult time understanding the need to both give and receive information.  This process takes time and practice.  Set time aside to “practice” having conversations and following the rules for waiting turns to speak.  It can be helpful to “watch” others either in person by role play or in video clips having conversations.  By providing opportunities to see how people wait their turn to speak or in some cases don’t wait their turn to speak, you give your “learner” a more concrete, visual way to identify the reciprocity process.

Sample Form: