Open Mindedness

TRAINING MODULES

Social & Communication Skills 4/4: 

Open Mindedness

   

Prepared by Dialogue Diversity

March 2020

 

Preface

NESET NEETs’ Empowerment for Sustainable Employment in the Tourism sector, is a 3-year project, funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment which aims at supporting on a large-scale transnational basis the sustainability of youth integration in the tourism labour market in the NESET beneficiary countries (BCs), by creating conditions for NEETs’ employment and entrepreneurship in various forms of tourism, incl. alternative tourism.

The NESET beneficiary countries are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Romania, whereas Iceland is involved in the project’s implementation as an expertise country.

The Project’s approved Proposal stipulates, among others, that a number of training Modules will be produced to support a Training course addressed to trainees with NEET characteristics in the partner countries. The Modules produced, deal with various types of skills considered to be associated with efforts aiming at strengthening young persons’ skills and upgrading their performance while working in tourism related jobs. One of these Skills’ Groups is “Social and Communication Skills”, while two more Groups, i.e. “Employability Skills” and “Tourism related Entrepreneurship Skills” are also included in the NESET range of training topics.

Four Social and Communication Skills Modules have been produced by DIALOGUE DIVERSITY, for individual skills in that Group i.e. Respect (1/4), Empathy (2/4), Active Listening (3/4) and Open Mindedness (4/4).

Dialogue Diversity would like to acknowledge their staff for their contribution in the Preparation of these Modules.

DIALOGUE DIVERSITY

March 2020

AUTHORS’ DECLARATION

The present Module has been prepared solely for training purposes. Its text does not necessarily claim originality, as, besides the authors’ own contribution, it is also based on material from various other sources considered to be relevant, useful for training purposes and transferable. This is dully acknowledged in the text in various ways. The authors however accept responsibility for any failure to fully record all such instances in the text.

Table of contents

I – Skill´s Group

Skills’ Group: Social and Communication Skills

Final words

Videos

II – The Specific Skill *

Open mindedness 4/4

Learning objectives:

Videos

III – SECTION 3 – GROUP ACTIVITIES AND ROLEPLAYS

Title: Minefield

Title: Build a Bridge

Role-playing: Eating Out at the Freaky Fast Food Joint

IV – SELF-ASSESSEMENT PROCEDURES & FORMS

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR EX-ANTE SELF ASSESSMENT OF TRAINING PARTICIPANTS’ SKILLS

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR EX-POST SELF ASSESSMENT OF TRAINING PARTICIPANTS’ SKILLS

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ASSESSMENT OF SPECIFIC TRAINING MODULE

V – ANNEXES

VI – REFERENCES:

I – Skill´s Group

Skills’ Group: Social and Communication Skills

What are communication skills? Do we really need to work on communicating if it seems like we are pretty good at it already? The answer is a resounding yes! As Stephen R. Covey states: The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are. And if our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques rather than from our own inner core, others will sense that duplicity. We simply won’t be able to create and sustain the foundation necessary for effective interdependence.

This really shows how vital communication is and how important is the way we communicate and interact with others. This is particularly important in the tourism sector. As it noted, communication is the foundation of all of our relationships, forming the basis of our interactions and feelings about one another.

There are many definitions of communication. Basically, communication means little more than ‘to share’. But where the sharing of a chocolate, a house, or other physical objects involves that the one sharing will keep a lesser portion of these objects to him/herself, sharing through communication does not leave the one sharing with ‘less’ than he had before he/she shared his/her thoughts, feelings, ideas, values, perspectives, viewpoints or ideologies. Communication not only involves exchange (transmission, encoding and decoding) of information, but has the possibility to generate new, more informed meanings and understandings for all parties involved. Accordingly, communication is not only about giving or sending information, it is about sharing information and by doing so, accumulating, creating and advancing knowledge. However, many definitions of Communication forget this meaning of sharing and value creation. For example, Wikipedia presents communication as predominantly unidirectional when pointing to it as “the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another”. Merrian Webstar dictionary defines communication as ‘a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior’. And when we communicate, our purpose is also that our message is well understood by our listener(s).

In relation to Social skills, it is also evident their importance in the Tourism sector. What are social skills? Can we improve them? And the answer, again, is a sounded YES.

According to Wikipedia, Social Skill is any competence facilitating interaction and communication with others where social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning these skills is called socialization. For socialization, interpersonal skills are essential to relate to one another. Interpersonal skills are the ability to communicate, or interact well with the other people, i.e., are the behaviour and tactics a person uses to interact with others effectively. Positive interpersonal skills include persuasion, active listening, delegation and stewardship, among others.

So, it is important to acquire good communication and social skills also because:

  • Effective communication shows respect and valueof the other person.
  • It helps us to better understand each other; not all communication is about understanding—some are intended to fight, dismiss, invalidate, undermine, etc.—but it should be!
  • It makes us feel more comfortable with each other and encourages even better and effective communication

Communication and social skills can be developed and improved. Specially, if we daily deal with people, personal or professionally speaking. In the tourism sector, this is even more evident and important.

Some tips can help guide us toward better communication with people in general. According to Australia’s Better Health Channel, the following tips (among others) can improve your communication process and be more successful in achieving your objectives:

  •  

    Set aside time to talk without interruption from other people or distractions like phones, computers or television

  • Think about what you want to say
  • Be clear about what you want to communicate
  • Make your message clear, so that the listener hears it accurately and understands what you mean
  •  

    Listen to the part / ‘partner’. Put aside your own thoughts for sometimes and try to understand their intentions, feelings, needs and wants (this is called empathy)

  • Be aware of your tone of voice
  • Remember that you don’t have to be right all the time. If the issue you are having is not that important, sometimes let the issue go, or agree to disagree
  • Don’t jump to conclusions. Find out all the facts rather than guessing at motives.
  • Discuss what actually happened. Don’t judge

Communication skills can be generally categorized as the oral, written and body language skills (Fatimawati et al, 2005; Jackson, 1999; Shamsudin Abd. Rahman, 1997). If tourist workers are able to master these skills and leave a good impression, then every country, and Portugal, in particular, may unfold further steps to further boost the tourism industry.

Tourism workers provide one of the first impressions on tourists in relation to the country. In this sector, when interacting with tourists, qualities such as professionalism, integrity, punctuality and politeness are indicators to lead to satisfaction. Having tourist workers with good generic, social and communication skills is more likely to build good tourist relationships.

So, we should ask:

  1. Does good communication skills contribute to the development of the tourism sector?
  2. What are the main aspects of communication skills that are important for the development of the tourism sector?

Several of the important features in communication and social skills are:

  1. Proficiency in languages such as English and other foreign languages
  2. Oral skills, written and body language
  3. Dress and attire
  4. Appearance and visual communication
  5. Manner of communication
  6. Knowledge of the respective country and common courtesy
  7. General knowledge and professional ethique
  8. Proficiency in formal and informal protocol
  9. Skills of delivery or relaying information to tourists
  10. Study of work ethics, such as honesty, willingness to help without conditions, etc.

Multilingual workers are needed to cater for various foreign nationalities that visit each country. Thus, many tourists without well-trained and experienced tourist guides may give a negative image to the hosting country.

Other aspects that need to be looked into seriously is professionalism of the tourism workers in which human qualities and dispositions are not to be neglected. Some of these qualities, as reflected in the survey done by NESET partnership are: personal character, good personality, i.e., friendliness, patience, and emphatic communication. Another important skill, although not reflected in the survey is appearance. These are virtues that go a long way in pampering tourists to stay longer and spend more. On the other hand, continuous learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills leads to better customer service. Work ethics such as honesty, self-conscience and competency in serving tourists are the foundation of excellence in tourism. These skills are, this way, also important in the Tourism business.

So, companies also communicate through how their employees look (e.g. what they wear), but most important is how employees behave when interacting with customers. The literature on emotional labor (and research indicating how more and more employees need to manage feelings and expressions to fulfil the emotional requirements of their jobs as we continue to move from a manufacturing towards a service- or experience-based economy) is quite extensive and in recent years, much has been written about issues such as complaint management.

Thus, these skills should be learned and obtained. Some of the benefits of obtaining communication skills are as follows:

  1. a) able to communicate information to visitors effectively
  2. b) able to identify an individual’s attitudes closely
  3. c) able to strengthen the relationship with tourists and can attract them to visit again
  4. d) able to solve complex problems and
  5. e) able to build network of relationships with foreign tourists.

Therefore, communication and social skills are essential in creating a good atmosphere in the workplace and ensuring understanding and strong links between “tourist worker” and tourists who visit each country.

We should have in mind teaching social skills with fostering social problems solving skills. However, the social skills taught are individualized to the needs of the students in the group.

The general categories of skills include:

  • emotion regulation
  • dealing with bullying and peer pressure
  • expressing feelings
  • social communication
  • negotiation and conflict resolution
  • conveying empathy
  • self-advocacy
  • age-appropriate behaviour, and
  • planning and organization.

Another very important area is complaints handling with a focus on the opportunity to create loyalty. Service is not defined by not making mistakes, but much rather how these are handled.

 

To finalize, the following 10 commandments of hospitality offer a good base for developing a professional and positive conduct in client presence:

  1. smile and be positive;
  2. greet all you meet: ‘good morning/afternoon/evening’, ‘you are welcome’, ‘my

pleasure’, ‘excuse me’, etc.;

  1. the answer is ‘yes’, never ‘no’;
  2. a guest’s concern is your concern;
  3. an absolute level of cleanliness and security is each one’s responsibility;
  4. escort guests, do not point;
  5. assist your colleagues;
  6. do not eat, drink, smoke or chat with colleagues in guest areas;
  7. enjoy your work, treating guests and colleagues with respect and dignity;
  8. act as an ambassador of your hotel inside and outside.

Final words:

Good communication is a skill that serves people in every area of life. Even the best communicators make mistakes, let alone those of us still learning how to improve. Imagine a world where everyone knew the emotion behind their message and tried to communicate with assertive kindness. So, think before you speak!

Equipping individuals with effective communication skills results in higher levels of emotional intelligence, higher test scores, lowering incidents of bullying, and improvements in overall mental well-being. There is so much to gain from practicing these skills.

With the omnipresence of technological advances, young individuals need to practice these face-to-face skills more than ever.

Building these skills in all age groups builds a society for empathy and emotional resilience. The more practice kids get in school and at home, the better these skills will become. Adults and kids alike have endless opportunities to change how they speak and address their shared needs.

Videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPRUNGGORDo&t=195s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twSumTncoPQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj-hdQMa3uA : the magical science of storytelling | David JP Phillips | TEDxStockholm

II – The Specific Skill *

According to the survey results done by NESET partnership [regarding the need requirements in terms of needs vs already existing skills, available support and demographics of young people, as well as their perceptions, regarding the existing labour market-related challenges and opportunities from a tourism sector perspective], the following 4 specific skills were appointed as most important for a worker in the Tourist business: Respect, Confidence, Empathy and Open Mindedness and Active Listening. Below, the reasons we have found for the importance of Open Mindedness Skills in the same sector.

Open mindedness 4/4

Learning objectives:

  • Define ‘Open Mindedness’ in tourism context
  • Give several examples of how to show ‘Open Mindedness’ to others, themselves, and their environment in the tourism context
  • Understand why it is important to show ‘Open Mindedness’ in the tourism context.

Open Mindedness – the quality of being willing to consider ideas and opinions that are new or different to your own (Cambridge Dictionary)

Working in hospitality and tourism, a customer-driven industry, requires excellent customer service skills, communication skills and interpersonal skills.

They must also be resilient and adaptable to keep up with the ever-changing trends of the hospitality and tourism industry.

Other key traits are cultural awareness and open-mindedness. As the industry involves travel across different countries and continents, those working in this sector will often have to deal and communicate with people from all walks of life.

To become a leader and thrive in the hospitality and tourism industry, students must have a good grasp of these skills, as well as the relevant knowledge and experience.

Being open minded means the quality of being willing to consider ideas and opinions that are new or different to your own and so, it is very connected with Respect, in what Social and Communication skills are concerned.

In everyday use, the term open-minded is often used as a synonym for being non-prejudiced or tolerant. From a psychological perspective, the term is used to describe how willing people are to consider other perspectives or to try out new experiences. Open-mindedness can also involve asking questions and being active about searching for information that challenges your beliefs. It also encompasses the belief that other people should be free to express their beliefs and arguments, even if you do not necessarily agree with those views.

The opposite of open-minded is closed-minded or dogmatic. People who are more closed-minded are usually only willing to consider their own viewpoints and are not receptive to other ideas.

Even if you consider yourself a fairly open-minded person, there are probably certain topics on which you take a much harder stance. Things that you are passionate about or social issues, for example. Having convictions can be a great thing, but strong belief does not negate an open-mind. Being open-minded means having the ability to consider other perspectives and trying to be empathetic to other people, even when you disagree with them.

Of course, open-mindedness has its limits. It does not imply that you must sympathize with every ideology. But making an effort to understand the factors that might have led to those ideas can be helpful in finding ways to persuade people to change their minds.

To have an open mind means to be willing to consider or receive new and different ideas. It means being flexible and adaptive to new experiences and ideas. Cultivating an open mind is another valuable outcome of critical thinking and reasoning.

Now more than ever we live in a world that is constantly changing.

In order to keep up, we must be open to new experiences and new ways of looking at things. If we do not stay current we will miss out on the wonderful new technologies such as the Internet, cell phones, digital photography, ipods, etc. that are making our lives easier and more interesting every day.

People who are open-minded are willing to change their views when presented with new facts and evidence. Those who are not, and are resistant to change and will find life less rewarding and satisfying, not to mention dull.

If we limit ourselves to what we knew and were more comfortable with in the past, we will become more and more frustrated.

Open-mindedness is a characteristic that involves being receptive to a wide variety of ideas, arguments, and information. Being open-minded is generally considered a positive quality. It is a necessary ability in order to think critically and rationally.

If you are not open to other ideas and perspectives, it is difficult to see all of the factors that contribute to problems or come up with effective solutions. In an increasingly polarized world, being able to step outside your comfort zone and consider other perspectives and ideas is important.

This doesn’t mean that being open-minded is necessarily easy. Being open to new ideas and experiences can sometimes lead to confusion and cognitive dissonance when we learn new things that conflict with existing beliefs. However, being able to change and revise outdated or incorrect beliefs is an important part of learning and personal growth.

Society as a whole has become more liberal, and circumstances that were not acceptable years ago are accepted now.

If we choose to approach life in the same way day after day, as well as becoming bored and uninspired, we will reduce our intellectual aptitude.

If, on the other hand, we seek new ways of doing and looking at things, we will expand our intellectual capability, find life more exciting, and broaden our experiences.

Being open-minded also helps us with problem solving. First, it helps us look at more than one way to approach a problem; then we find more expansive, ways of solving it. When we give ourselves more options, better solutions are undoubtedly more available to us.

Ultimately, having an open mind helps us expand our horizons and be more diverse and interesting persons.

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2Qrm9UB7qY  (Principles for Success “Be Radically Open-Minded” | Episode 7 with Portuguese subtitles)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-6F3U0_lDw  (IB Trait: Open Minded)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2Y3cVblRgg (Have an Open Mind)

III – SECTION 3 – GROUP ACTIVITIES AND ROLEPLAYS

The resources in this section include tips, techniques, exercises, games, and other activities that give the opportunity to learn more about effective communication, help guide interactions with others, and improve communication and social skills. All the activities have a common goal: they will help anybody become a better, more effective, and more positive communicator. The selected activities take into consideration the tourism sector. The following activities also develop or enhance Open Mindedness skills.

Title: Minefield

Nº of participants: limited to the physical conditions you have, especially for young ones.

Objectives: To develop team work and communication skills; increase trust and communication among participants.

Procedures and material:

  1. Divide the group in pairs; you will need a blindfold for one participant in each pair, some space to navigate, and some objects with which you can create a minefield or obstacle course. Once the course is ready to go, blindfold one partner in each pair and bring them into the room.
  2. The challenge here is for the non-blindfolded partner to guide the blindfolded partner through the obstacle course using only verbal communication. The couple will only succeed if the blindfolded partner has trust in their partner and the non-blindfolded partner is an effective verbal communicator. Feelings of frustration are common in this game, but it can be a great way to highlight issues in communication or, alternately, highlight the couple’s communication strengths.

This activity’s aim is to see if the participant giving instructions can help the blindfolded member get through the maze without bumping into the furniture, walls, or string. This means that not only must the speaking member communicate clear and detailed instructions, but the blindfolded member must also use their active listening skills to receive the instructions and implement them effectively.

Use these discussion questions to debrief and maximize this learning opportunity:

  • Why was clear detailed communication necessary for this exercise?
  • How important was it to listen carefully to the one giving instructions? Why?
  • What were some of the difficulties associated with helping an individual complete this exercise?
  • Using some of the ideas from this exercise, how can you, as an individual, improve your communication skills?

If you want more from this activity, try this follow-up:

Draw a simple picture or pattern on a piece of paper. Without letting the other participants see the diagram, tell them what they need to do to make a copy of your picture that matches as closely as possible. After giving detailed instructions, see how accurately the pictures match up.

Duration: 30 m

Title: Build a Bridge

Nº of participants: Enough people for at least two teams of three. If you have a larger group, you can create several teams – just make sure that you have an even number and enough space and tarpaulin to give each team a secluded area to work in.

Objectives: To develop and strength communication skills; improve group problem solving, creative thinking and leadership skills.

Materials: can include toy bricks, pieces of wood, tape, glue, pipes, canvas, paper, or straws. Notepads and pencils for drawing. Tape measures. Tarpaulins or sheets to section off the room, giving each team a private area to build its bridge in.

Procedures:

Two teams must work together to build a bridge using materials that you supply. They each build half of the bridge and then “connect” the two pieces to make a complete one, made up of two similar designs.

The activity is challenging because the room is divided: no team is able to see how the other constructs its bridge. Teams have to communicate verbally through a sheet or tarpaulin that divides the room, as they work.

  1. Before participants arrive, arrange the tarpaulins or sheets throughout the room so that teams won’t be able to see one another’s work.
  2. Divide participants into two (or four or six) teams. Team size doesn’t matter; however, teams of four or fewer might be most effective.
  3. Give each group a bag of materials. Each bag should contain the same number and type of materials. Each team should also get a notepad and pencils, and a tape measure.
  4. Give everyone 10 minutes to draw their ideas. Remind teams to communicate with their “partner group” on the other side of the tarpaulin to make sure that they come up with similar designs. Remember, each half of the bridge must be able to “join” at the end of the building phase.

Each team then gets up to 40 minutes to construct its half of the bridge. While the teams build, walk around to ensure that each team communicates with the other through the tarpaulin.

  1. When time is up, remove the tarpaulin to see how close each group came to matching their partner team’s bridge.

 

Advice for the Facilitator

When you finish the activity, use the questions below to start a discussion:

  • What was most challenging about this activity?
  • Who was responsible for communicating instructions between teams? If a number of people issued instructions through the tarpaulin, would it have been easier to appoint just one person on each team to do this job?
  • Were there any miscommunications? If so, what happened?
  • If a team appointed a leader, how well did this person lead the group? What were the leader’s strengths and weaknesses?

Duration: 45 minutes to one hour.

Role-playing[1]: Eating Out at the Freaky Fast Food Joint

Objectives:

Enhance open mindedness; acceptance of differences;

Scenario: A fast food restaurant that happens to serve truly unusual and somewhat disgusting food.

Nº of participants:  Divide the group in Pairs

Personalities: Because the place and the food is so weird, the people can actually be pretty normal:

A couple of friends on vacation to an exotic country

A native presenting a foreign guest to local cuisine

Owners of a competing freaky fast food restaurant checking out the fare

….

Roles / Situations: The situation is reacting to food that isn’t familiar. This shouldn’t be hard, as many learners may find a foreign country’s food to be somewhat weird. Role play situations can be:

Reading the menu together and reacting, trying to decide

Asking the waiter to describe dishes that have ambiguous names

Sending plates back to the kitchen

Preparation: Set up a table as in a restaurant, or maybe an order counter as in a burger place. Your learners can create odd menus, based upon bizarre foods you’ve introduced earlier, or they can use their imaginations and create entirely made-up food options. Have one member of the pair being open-minded and the other narrow-minded. Have them role play the dialogues, one at a time so that everybody can watch and take notes.

Language Used: Besides usual restaurant language (ordering, paying, complaining), you could have learners practice:

Descriptive language (Describing foods that are disgusting in an attractive manner)

Persuasive language (Convincing clients to try something that might seem unappealing at first)

Expression of surprise/disgust language (Oh my gosh, that’s really nasty! What on earth is that supposed to be? You don’t expect me to eat that, do you?)

First, the Trainer/Facilitator explains the tasks; during the role plays, both the trainer and the learners observing the situation take notes; after all role plays have been done, the notes are presented, discussed and conclusions are achieved. The trainer lists the conclusions.

Duration of the Activity: 3-5 minutes each role-play

 

IV – SELF-ASSESSEMENT PROCEDURES & FORMS

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR EX-ANTE SELF ASSESSMENT OF TRAINING PARTICIPANTS’ SKILLS

For the Skills’ Group: Social and Communication Skills, which the series of sessions you are going to participate aims to upgrade and for which specific Learning Objectives have been set, HOW would you rate your existing knowledge?

 My knowledge is practically non-existing

 

 

I know very little

I consider my knowledge to be moderateI consider my knowledge to be rather adequateI claim to have a very good knowledge
12345
MODULE 4/4: [OPEN MINDEDNESS]
I understand the meaning of ‘Open Mindedness’ in tourism context     
I can give examples of how to show ‘Open Mindedness’ to others, themselves, and their environment in the tourism context     
I Understand why it is important to show ‘Open Mindedness’ in the tourism context     

 

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR EX-POST SELF ASSESSMENT OF TRAINING PARTICIPANTS’ SKILLS

For the Skills’ Group: Social and Communication Skills, which the series of sessions that you have attended aimed to upgrade and for which specific Learning Objectives had been set, HOW do you now rate your knowledge?

 My knowledge is practically non-existing

 

 

I know very little

I consider my knowledge to be moderateI consider my knowledge to be rather adequateI claim to have a very good knowledge
12345
MODULE 4/4: [OPEN MINDEDNESS]
I understand the meaning of ‘Open Mindedness’ in tourism context     
I can give examples of how to show ‘Open Mindedness’ to others, themselves, and their environment in the tourism context     
I Understand why it is important to show ‘Open Mindedness’ in the tourism context     

 

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ASSESSMENT OF SPECIFIC TRAINING MODULE

Having attended training sessions aiming at helping you upgrade your OPEN MINDEDNESS, how do you rate the various elements of your training?

 Very Poor

Rather

Poor

AcceptableVery satisfactoryExcellent
12345
Training Material
·         Training Handouts distributed     
·         Multimedia presented     
·         Other resources suggested     
Training Methods Used
·         Face-to-Face lectures     
·         Group Activities & Discussions     
·         Customised Learning Platform     
Trainers involved
·         Knowledge of the subject     
·         Level of preparedness     
·         Effectiveness in knowledge transfer