One Idea Group Session from How To Do Motivational Interviewing by Bill Matulich

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INTRODUCTION–GROUP SESSION

This resource will help you facilitate a short group session to learn from the One Idea Summary on Communicating Effectively With OARS previously posted (here).

SESSION OBJECTIVES

  • Be able to describe the OARS communication skills.
  • Be able to use an example to illustrate each communication skill in OARS.

PREPARATION

Send a copy of the One Idea Summary on Communicating Effectively With OARS  to the session’s participants one week before the session. They are to read it before the session.

THE SESSION

Introduce the session

Introduce the session by sharing the learning objectives with them.

Review the OARS skills

Put them into pairs and give each pair flipchart paper and pens.

Tell each pair to review what they read about communicating with OARS and write down a summary of their understanding. Give them 10-minutes.

After 10-minutes stop them. Allow each pair to feedback their summaries.

Next move on to explore how each OARS communication skill may be used in practice.

An example of OARS in practice

Tell them that, having reviewed the OARS skills, you are going to share with them an example of how OARS may be used in reality. You can either print out the example for them, write it on flipchart paper, email it to them or put it on a WhatsApp chat group they can access. Here it is:

  • Sally: Hi Benjy, what do you want to discuss with me?
  • Benjy: I am having issues preparing for next month’s presentation.
  • Sally: What issues are you having?
  • Benjy: I don’t know where to get the information I need for the presentation?
  • Sally: So, you are struggling to get information for the presentation right (reflection)?
  • Benjy: Yes, I am.
  • Sally: Tell me a bit more so I can understand the challenges you are having (open question)?
  • Benjy: For the presentation I need to look at our processes and benchmark them with the processes of other companies doing something similar. While I am okay with our processes, I am struggling to get information about other companies.
  • Sally: To be clear, for the presentation you need to look at our processes and benchmark them with processes of other companies doing similar things. You are okay with our processes but struggling to get information about other companies. Is that right (summary)?
  • Benjy: Yes, that’s correct.
  • Sally: I do like the fact that you’ve openly come to tell me about this three weeks before the presentation. Thanks for doing that. Let’s talk about the best way to approach this (affirmation).

Clarify that they can see where OARS is being used in the example and then move on to the last activity where they practice using OARS.

Using OARS in practice

Split them into pairs and give them these instructions:

  • Each person should think of something they want to talk about with enough information to answer questions.
  • The person practising should start off the conversation with Hello, what do you want to talk about today.
  • After that the person should then proceed to try and use the OARS skills in response to the other person’s answers.
  • Each person should take turns practising and after they finish reflect on how well they did on each skill and be ready to give feedback to the group with examples.
  • Give them 15-minutes, 5 for each person to practice and 5 to reflect afterwards.

As they practise walk around the groups to see how they are doing. After 15-minutes stop them and ask each pair for feedback and listen to every pair.

After you finish listening to them, check if they have any more questions or comments and respond appropriately if they have any.

Then move on to conclude the session.

REVIEW AND CONCLUDE

To review and close, tell them that:

During this short session you reviewed the four OARS skills, saw an example of them being used and had the opportunity to practice using them yourselves. These skills can be used in our everyday conversations and will make our communication much more effective. Therefore, look for opportunities to practice them frequently when you speak to people. You can also use them in electronic communication such as email and chats.

Close the session.

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