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Building Communication Skills for Students

Listening Skills Activities and Communication Skills Exercises

Communication is both a necessary and vital element of our daily lives. Strong communication and listening skills are tools that teens and students alike will need to be successful in the future. Building communication skills through the use active listening activities for students and teens can help them enhance their ability to interact with their peers. We have created these free, useful activities to develop communications skills and better listening skills in young adults.

Each of the communication skills activities listed below is designed to improve the ability to listen and communicate by placing your child or student in a situation where those skills will be vital for completing the task at hand. These resources for building communication skills are part of our collection of 52 Leadership Ideas. To view more activities like these, we invite you to click the link below and download the complete 52 Leadership Ideas PDF.

Writing Contests

Check with your local schools to see if there are any writing contests for young people to enter. The next time there’s a contest, challenge your young person to enter it. Have them write on something they really care about—but encourage them to do it with excellence. Talk through the writing process with them and help them to get their point across in the most colorful and effective way possible.

Once the contest is over, talk about what they learned from it. Ask them what they understand about making a point clear and compelling.


Sit down with your young person and read the editorial section of the newspaper. Talk about why newspapers include this section each day. After reading a couple of them, have your young person choose an issue they are interested in, and write an editorial of their own. They can keep it simple and short, but work with them to make it compelling. This may get them reading the editorials in the following days to see if theirs gets published!

During the process, talk about the power of words. An old proverb says that death and life are in the power of the tongue! That’s quite a statement. What do you suppose that means?


Backyard Book Club

During the spring or summer, host a Backyard Book Club at your house. This will not only give you an opportunity to teach to kids, but to allow your young person to help lead it. Teach books that reinforce positive values or leadership skills- William Bennett’s The Children’s Book of Virtues is a great place to start.

Ask your young person to teach the younger kids, or to read the story each day. Give them a chance to communicate with others, and accomplish something in the process. After the week is over, talk about what they learned, from helping to lead it. Discuss how those who teach have a greater responsibility, and a greater impact on others.


Role Reversal

This one is fun when you have two generations present. It is ideal for the family. Take some time one evening and play a game called: Role Reversal. This is where the adults and the young people switch roles—and learn some revealing lessons in the process.

Have the young people become parents, and deal with a young person who had just lied to them, or perhaps came home late one night. Encourage everyone to really step into the parts. This may take a little time, but try to get past the laughter and consider what both generations are experiencing. Come up with at least three tough situations you might experience in real life, and play the role reversal game. Afterward, take the time to discuss what each person felt. How did communication take on new forms, when the roles were changed?


Adult Interaction

Learning to communicate is inseparable from good leadership. The better we communicate, the better our chances are of becoming an effective leader. What’s great about it is that young people can learn communication in some of the simplest situations.

For instance, the next time you host a party in your home, ask your young person to help you serve the guests. Give them a job where they will have to interact with adults—such as overseeing the punch bowl, or taking coats, or passing out snack plates. Having a job will make conversation less awkward for them, yet it will get them mixing socially with adults.

Another idea to reach the same goal can take place the next time your young person is due to for an appointment. When it’s time, have your kids call to set up their appointments to see the dentist, or to get a haircut, or to see the orthodontist. This will be easy for some temperaments, but challenging for others. However, anytime we have to communicate in order to accomplish a goal—it is good for us.