The Evidence Portal

Building communication skills

Flexible activity

This activity aims to build the communication and social skills required to positively interact with prosocial peers and community members. This can include learning about listening and active listening, non-verbal cues and communication, managing stress and emotions, conveying empathy and respect, and being personable and confident.

Communication skills are critical for developing and maintaining healthy relationships, and for the capacity to confidently interact with prosocial peers and community members.

How can it be implemented?

Communication skills are best practiced in-person. Program facilitators can guide participants through various aspects of effective communication including active listening, non-verbal cues, and stress and emotion management. Participants can then practice their learned skills via roleplaying or scenario-based learning, peer learning or via games and interactive activities.

Who is the target group?

This flexible activity has been implemented with a number of different target groups. Key characteristics include:

  • 10th grade girls from rural, low-income high schools
  • Grade 9 high school students
  • Young adults aged 18-19
  • Students enrolled in continuation high schools
  • School students in schools that serve primarily racial or ethnic minority students from low socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Adolescent girls aged 13-17 at high-risk for pregnancy
  • 18-24 year-olds who identify as African American
  • 11-12 year-olds

What programs conduct this activity?

  • In HEART (Health Education and Relationship Training), participants learn and practice sexual communication skills and the importance of competent interpersonal skills. Communication self-efficacy skills are emphasised through the program.
  • Similarly, in Media Aware – High School, students learn skills needed to have effective sexual health conversations with trusted adults, romantic partners and medical professionals.
  • In Media Aware (Sexual Health Program for Young Adults), students practice communicating with a virtual medical professional about sexual health using scenario-based activities online.
  • In Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND), students discuss the importance of being active listeners and learn listening and communication skills.
  • In the Resilience Builder Program, participants practice initiating and maintaining conversations.
  • Prime Time uses a standardised 15-session curriculum addressing communication skills as well as expectations and skills for healthy relationships.
  • In Color it Real, participants engage in games, exercises and roleplaying to promote positive attitudes and build effective communication.
  • In D.A.R.E’s The Elementary keepin’ it REAL (EkiR), ten 45-minute lessons teach five core social emotional learning skills including relationship and communication skills and understanding and helping others.

Further resources

Last updated:

24 Nov 2022

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