How can we encourage communication?

Let’s brainstorm. How can we encourage spontaneous language and communication in music therapy and in life? Take a look at the 5 ideas listed below. Most therapists, teachers, parents, and others spending time with individuals who have communication deficits probably feel as if they do all these things. But, just speaking for myself, I realize I often need to be more purposeful about allowing/encouraging others to join in the conversation, even friends in music therapy who are unable to speak words. So I make a point of implementing these steps during every single MT session:
1. Set the occasion for spontaneous interaction through pleasant, interesting music experiences.
2. Create a need to communicate by providing choices.
3. Create a need to communicate by decreasing directives.
4. Encourage initiated language through active listening.
5. Use prompts or cues as needed to facilitate communication.
What purposeful steps do you take to encourage people to interact and communicate with you and others around them?
Want more ideas? Take a look at our popular self-study e-course, Let’s Talk, for a ton of field-tested strategies related to language and communication in music therapy and beyond.