How to Effectively Communicate with Clients

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Human Services

    Course : Practicum in Human Services

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (2) The student uses oral and written communication skills and solves problems using critical-thinking skills. The student is expected to:
      • (B) practice effective verbal, nonverbal, written and electronic communication skills
      • (C) use communication skills such as ability to empathize, motivate, listen attentively, speak courteously and respectfully, defuse client’s anger or skepticism, resolve conflicting interests and respond to client objections or complaints to the client’s satisfaction
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • demonstrate effective verbal, nonverbal, written and electronic communication skills
    • define the purpose of high-quality communication
    • distinguish techniques for defusing negative situations with clients
  • Rationale

    Script:

    Good communication skills are essential. Nearly all careers in the Human Services Career Cluster® require interaction with other individuals, whether they are co-workers, supervisors or clients. When you work in an industry that focuses on serving others, begin by building relationships through open communication and two-way conversations in order to respond to client questions/problems appropriately.

  • Duration of Lesson

    Four 45 minute class periods

  • Word Wall

    Client: A person who pays a professional person or organization for services

    Communication: The process by which ideas, feelings and information are shared; involves the skills of listening, speaking and writing

    Customer experience: Assistance and advice provided by a company to people who purchase or use its products or services

    Customer loyalty: People choose to use a particular shop or buy one particular product

    Customer service: The total customer experience with that business

    Defuse: Reduce the danger or tension in (a difficult situation)

    Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another

    Grammar: The syntactic (the way in which words are put together to form sentences) and inflectional rules of a language

    Nonverbal communication: Body language, eye contact, appearance and facial expressions

    Quality service: Service that meets or exceeds customer satisfaction

    Skepticism: A skeptical attitude; doubt as to the truth of something

    Verbal communication: Voice and tone

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed

    Equipment:

    • computer with projector for PowerPoint™ presentation
    • computers with Internet access (be sure to follow district guidelines)

    Note: If individual equipment is not available, teacher can teach the assignments as a class from a projected copy as long as students can see the screen.

    Materials:

    Items individuals may use in the field of Human Services:

    • bank brochure
    • child care brochure
    • consumer items such as:
      • clothing
      • electronic device
      • purse
      • shoes
    • financial institution information
    • name tag
    • play money
    • uniform from a fast-food restaurant or other Human Services occupation

    Supplies:

    • cardstock
    • container
    • dice (one die per group)
    • dry eraser markers and erasers
    • scissors

    Other appropriate lessons

    The Importance of Customer Service Skills
    Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
    http://cte.sfasu.edu/lesson-plans/the-importance-of-customer-service-skills/

    The Importance of Effective Communication
    Introduction to Cosmetology
    http://cte.sfasu.edu/lesson-plans/introduction-to-cosmetology/

    Say What? The Communication Process
    Interpersonal Studies
    http://cte.sfasu.edu/lesson-plans/say-what-the-communication-process/

    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)
  • Anticipatory Set

    Prior to class:

    Display as many of the lesson-related supplies (see Materials or Specialized Equipment Needed) that you have available on a table in the room.

    Script:

    Look at the items on the table. Have you ever purchased or used one or more of the items? Did the employee at the store where you purchased the item(s) provide good or poor service? What examples can you share to describe a good customer service experience? A poor customer service experience? Allow time for class discussion.

    Distribute the Anticipation Guide – How to Effectively Communicate With Clients (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout prior to viewing the PowerPoint™. Prior to the start of this lesson, the students will read each statement and place a check mark by each statement they THINK is true. After they have answered each statement, students are to put the handout away for later use during Lesson Closure.

    Possible questions for discussion:

    • Have you ever witnessed a client/customer angry at an employee? How did the employee handle the situation?
    • If you were the employee in that situation, how would you have handled the angry customer?
    • Why is it important to resolve conflicts with clients?
    • What is customer service and why is it important?
    • Why is it important to always use a client’s name when addressing them?
  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Note to teacher: Prior to beginning this lesson, please review, preview and select the appropriate multimedia for your classes.

    Introduce lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Distribute the Note-taking How to Effectively Communicate With Clients (see All Lessons Attachment tab) handout. Teacher will determine the notes to be recorded by students. Inform students that they will be expected to take notes and participate in discussions while viewing the slide presentation.

    Introduce and discuss the PowerPoint™ How to Effectively Communicate With Clients (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Allow time for questions and class discussion.

    Use the appropriate notes from Presentation Notes for How to Effectively Communicate With Clients (see All Lesson Attachments tab) for discussion.

    After the slide presentation, on the back of the Note-taking handout, instruct students to write a summary of the topic which reflect the information from the lesson:

    • Discuss the topic
    • Write down your thoughts
    • Make a real-world connection to the lesson
    • How is this going to help you in the future?

    Video included in the slide presentation:

    • Dealing With Difficult Customers
      Keeping customers is as important as getting them. This training video demonstrates a simple method for dealing effectively with angry customers. First, deal with the person; then, deal with the problem.
      http://youtu.be/a1nrWFCys6A
    • Top Six Ways to Get An Angry Customer to Back Down
      Six quick tips to help you diffuse anger and create calm with unhappy customers. This video is part of the “Golden Method” e-learning course for handling difficult customers.
      https://youtu.be/ACKbkmO9rLg
    • VideoBlog Keys to Working with Difficult Clients
      Sarah Bonkrude board certified music therapist and licensed professional counselor talks about how to deal with difficult clients.
      http://youtu.be/GYVHZAiKlxg

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • providing students with a copy of the notes or a fill-in-the-blank note sheet to follow along with instruction
    • pairing up students with elbow partners who can assist them with verbal and written responses to the lesson

  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Distribute Communication Skills Every Employee Needs (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout. Individually, students will complete the handout by listing and describing six communication skills every employee needs to resolve conflicting interests and respond to client objections or complaints to the client’s satisfaction. They will include the advantages of having good communication skills as an employer, an employee and a client.

    Check for understanding.

    Allow time for questions and discussion.

    Completion of this handout can be assessed as a daily grade.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • allowing extra time for assignments
    • providing positive feedback
    • providing copies of the slide presentation

  • Independent Practice/Laboratory Experience with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Prior to activity:

    Print the Communicating with Clients Cards (see All Lesson Attachments tab) on cardstock and cut apart so that the students can draw one for the project. Blank cards are available to add more scenarios. Place cards in a container for use at the appropriate time in lesson.

    Teacher note: Inform the students that their selected card will focus on one of the following Human Services career pathways:

    • Consumer Services
    • Early Childhood Development and Services
    • Counseling and Mental Health Services
    • Family and Community Services
    • Personal Care Services

    Sub-divide students into groups of three.

    Read the following scenario:

    Scenario: Your director of Human Resources is presenting a mandatory training session on communicating with clients to a group of new employees. The first exercise consists of each group developing a role-play/skit how to defuse a potentially negative work-related experience.

    Instruct one student from each group to draw a card from the container.

    Inform the students that the content of their selected card will be used to develop their role-play/skit. Instruct the students to develop a situation and role-play/skit to focus on defusing client’s anger or skepticism. Students will determine ways to resolve conflicting interests and respond to client objections or complaints to the client’s satisfaction. For example:

    • Write the Human Services career pathways:
      • Cosmetologists are in the area of Personal Care Services
    • Situation:
      • You are working at a salon. Prices for services must be explained to and understood by customers prior to any services being rendered. It has been a very busy afternoon and you forget to inform your customer of the prices. As the client is paying for her haircut and style, she is upset about the cost of your services.

    How could you resolve and respond to the client’s objections/complaints?

    Inform the students their role-play or skit will be presented during Summative/End of Lesson Assessment.

    Distribute and review Rubric for Role-play or Skit (see All Lesson Attachments tab) so that students may understand what is expected.

    Students will be provided with time to create role-play or skits.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • not grading for spelling
    • checking for understanding

  • Lesson Closure

    Review terms, definitions and lesson objectives.

    Teacher note: Print the Roll and Review with Dice handout on cardstock. You may opt to laminate for future use. For the Lesson Closure activity, students will be in the same groups they were in during Independent Practice.

    Distribute Roll and Review with Dice (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout and dice to each group. If the handouts are laminated, distribute dry erase markers/eraser. On the handout, instruct each group will write six lesson-based questions in the section next to the dice number.

    After the questions have been written, each group will then pass their handout to another group. Sharing each other’s handout will provide students with a broader range of questions. Groups will roll the dice and answer the lesson-based question that corresponds with the number rolled. Each member will take turns rolling the dice and answering a question. If a member does not know the answer to their question, group members can offer assistance.

    Option: If time permits, an additional handout may be rotated among the groups.

    Monitor the review session. You may opt to set a timer for the activity.

    Re-distribute the graphic organizer Anticipation Guide for How to Effectively Communicate With Clients (see All Lesson Attachments tab) used in the Anticipatory Set and allow students to revisit each statement. Students are to respond to the statements again in the after (right hand) column by placing a check mark by the statements they now know to be true on the right side column. (Key) Anticipation Guide – How to Effectively Communicate With Clients (see All Lesson Attachments tab) has been provided for your use. As class, compare the two sets of answers.

    Allow for questions and class discussion. Check for understanding.

  • Summative/End of Lesson Assessment with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Students will present client scenarios to the class as a role-play/skit.

    Teachers and students will provide feedback and other possible scenario solutions.

    Role-play/skit will be assessed with Rubric for Role-play or Skit.

    Optional:
    Students are to write a one-page paper on the importance of practicing effective verbal, nonverbal, written and electronic communication skills. Their paper must include a personal reflection on what they learned from this lesson and how they plan to use the information now and in the future.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • providing extra time for assignments
    • providing copies of the slide presentation for study

  • References/Resources

    Images:

    • Photos obtained through a license with Shutterstock.com™.

    Textbooks:

    • Newberry, Betsy. Life skills for the 21st century: building a foundation for success. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

    Websites:

    YouTube™:

    • Dealing With Difficult Customers
      Keeping customers is as important as getting them. This training video demonstrates a simple method for dealing effectively with angry customers. First, deal with the person; then, deal with the problem.
      http://youtu.be/a1nrWFCys6A
    • Top Six Ways to Get An Angry Customer to Back Down
      Six quick tips to help you diffuse anger and create calm with unhappy customers. This video is part of the “Golden Method” e-learning course for handling difficult customers.
      https://youtu.be/ACKbkmO9rLg
    • VideoBlog Keys to Working with Difficult Clients
      Sarah Bonkrude board certified music therapist and licensed professional counselor talks about how to deal with difficult clients.
      http://youtu.be/GYVHZAiKlxg
  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • Practice newly acquired vocabulary, using it verbally and in writing during the exercises of this lesson plan.
    • Use various partners in pair-share opportunities so that ELL’s learn to speak and listen to various dialects within the classroom.
    • Use pre-reading supports such as graphic organizers, illustrations, and pre-taught topic-related vocabulary and other pre-reading activities to enhance comprehension of written text.
  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website http://www.achievetexas.org/index.html provide Texas teachers with a direct connection between their CTE course TEKS and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Cross-Disciplinary integration are the focus of the CCRS. These college and career readiness standards are essential in the planning and delivery of CTE lessons. The extent to which the integration occurs is determined by the methods and strategies utilized by each teacher.

    Career Cluster Crosswalks for Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, and Human Services Career Clusters can be found at:
    http://www.achievetexas.org/Career%20Cluster%20Crosswalks.htm

  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    • Understanding individual values and personal qualities will help students communicate in a professional environment. Explain the differences between what a person values and qualities of an individual. Then have students write a statement of their own values and qualities.

    TED Talk:

    TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.

    The video below is related to this lesson. Allow students to view the video and lead a discussion concerning the TED Talk.

    Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work
    We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity. (Filmed at TEDxBloomington.)
    https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work

  • Family/Community Connection

    • Invite professional business individuals from the community in the areas of consumer services, early childhood development and services, counseling and mental health services, family and community services or personal care services to talk about the importance of effective communication skills with clients.
  • CTSO connection

    Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)
    hppt://texasfccla.org

    STAR Events:

    • Advocacy
      An individual or team event, recognizes participants who demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities to actively identify a local, state, national or global concern, research the topic, identify a target audience and potential partnerships, form an action plan and advocate for the issue in an effort to positively affect a policy or law. Participants must prepare a portfolio, an oral presentation and complete a case study.
    • Illustrated Talk – An individual or team event – recognizes participants who make an oral presentation about issues concerning Family and Consumer Sciences and/or related occupations. Participants use visuals to illustrate content of the presentation.
    • Interpersonal Communications
      An individual or team event – recognizes participants who use Family and Consumer Sciences and/or related occupations skills and apply communication techniques to develop a project designed to strengthen communication.
  • Service Learning Projects

    Successful service learning project ideas originate from student concerns and needs. Allow students to brainstorm about service projects pertaining to the lesson. For additional information on service learning see
    http://www.ysa.org

    Plan a Career Fair and invite local businesses to participate. Highlight communication skills, customer service and promoting a positive business atmosphere.

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