NDSU Extension - Dickey County

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Adulting 101

Aimee Ellinger, 4-H/Youth Development & FCW Agent


AdultingSpring is my favorite time of year, all around us we see new life, from the leaves budding on the trees to the spunky newborn calves in the pasture. There is also new life in our schools, as graduating seniors branch out and start on a new journey. I have had the opportunity to provide Adulting 101 lessons for upperclassmen in Oakes and Ellendale this year. Despite the funny name, the topic is important, in the adulting 101 classes I cover topics such as laundry and cleaning, cooking for one, finances and effective communication. NDSU Extension on the NDSU campus have created a new program called #adulting, Agents work with college students to teach basic life skills that students may not have necessary learned until they lived on their own. If you would like to learn more about the # adulting program check it out here- https://sites.google.com/ndsu.edu/ndsuadulting

Through activities this year we have learned how to cook meat properly, covered  the importance of sorting cloths, practiced how to remove stains and learned  what type of cleaners to use on your bathroom floors. These are all amazing skills to master and important for effectively taking that next step to becoming an adult, however these where not the most important lessons learned. Can you guess what topic we covered was the most valuable? In my opinion the most valuable lesson was effective communication. This is not just a concept that should be taught to graduating high school seniors, I feel that everyone can use a refresher course on this from time to time. We are so connected and have so many options as to how to communicate, why would this even be an adult 101 lesson? Effective communication is so much more than knowing how to text or tweet or email.  Being an effective communicator actually has nothing to do with communicating at all, or at least in the tradition sense. To be an effective communicator you must first be an active listener! This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, the complete message being communicated.

These tips will help you with your active listening skills. Take notes and practice often. Improve your communication and even your relationships overall.

     -Pay Attention: Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message.

     -Show That You're Listening: Use your own body language and gestures to show that you are engaged

     -Provide Feedback: As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect on what
      is being said and to ask questions.

     -Defer Judgment:  Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message

     -Respond Appropriately: Active listening is designed to encourage respect and understanding. You are gaining
      information and perspective

It takes a lot of determination and dedication to become a better active listener, however like most things, the more work you put into it the more you appreciate it. This week challenge yourself to listen more and talk less, your communication skills will thank you and so will the person you are listening to.

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