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Crisis Centre

Module 2: Communication

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  1. Active listening
  2. Face-to-face meetings (body language)
  3. Telephone conversations
  4. Email etiquette
  5. Mentors: Preparation and icebreaking tips

Active listening

Mentors and mentees participating in StAMP will communicate multiple times throughout the four-month relationship and are encouraged to exercise active listening.

What is active listening?

It is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding.

Active listening requires the listener to think and consider what the speaker is saying and to confirm the meaning of this information by re-stating or paraphrasing what he or she has heard.

Face-to-face meetings (body language) (1)

Words are only a small part of face-to-face communication – body language has the most impact on how your message is received. Being aware of your facial expressions, gestures and other non-verbal cues can make you a better communicator. For example:

  • Establish eye contact with the other person.
  • Maintain a relaxed and open body stance.
  • Minimize tense gestures like crossing your arms.
  • Face the other person.
  • Incline your body toward the other person but leave room for personal space.

Telephone conversations (2)

  • When answering the phone, always identify yourself ("Hello, this is John Doe.") Don't answer with "yeah" or "yes."
  • When placing a call, always state your name. "Hello, my name is John Doe. May I please speak with Ms. Jane Smith?"
  • Be sensitive to the tone of your voice. Avoid sounding anxious, aggressive or pushy. Aim for authority and confidence in your tone.
  • When leaving a voice messages, speak clearly and slowly. Mention your name, state the reason for the call and leave your number. Repeat your phone number at the end of your message.
  • During conversations, avoid interruptions and distractions. The person on the telephone should have your undivided attention. If you must interrupt the conversation, say to the person you are speaking with, "Please excuse me for a moment. I’ll be right back." Return as quickly as possible to the conversation and say, "Thank you for holding."

Email etiquette (3)

  • Watch your words. Avoid the use of strong, negative or offensive language.
  • Be careful with tone. Aim for respectful and avoid curt, demanding, humorous or sarcastic.
  • Consider others' privacy. Ask for permission if you want to forward someone's email messages to another person. Keep in mind that all private email is considered copyrighted by the original author.
  • Brevity is best. Get to your point as quickly as possible.
  • Reread before you hit send. Check spelling, grammar and the email address of the recipient.

Mentors: Preparation and icebreaking tips (4)

  • Facilitate a friendly and respectful climate for learning.
  • Assist the mentee in clarifying and setting realistic goals.
  • Encourage your mentee to be inspired and motivated.
  • Communicate through active listening and positive body language.
  • Manage conflict by engaging the mentee in solving any problems that may arise.

(1) New College – University of Toronto. (2012). Career Mentorship Program: Mentee Guide.
(2) Syndi Seid's Advanced Etiquette
(3) Madison Area Technical College
(4) Wong, A.T. & Premkumar, K. (2007). Introduction to Mentoring Principles, Processes and Strategies for Facilitating Mentoring Relationships at a Distance.

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