Communication Skills: Back To Basics


Communication Skills: Back To Basics
How to hear and be heard regardless of the emotional static we all live with every day

Reinforce and reward. Let the other person know ahead of time that the positive outcome of meeting your need will be for them. This may be as simple as, “If you are able to meet my need of letting me know when you will home, I will be able to provide you with a hot dinner.” Be aware of what their motives are not just yours.

Stay on task. Try not to get distracted from your goal, which will only lead to dissatisfaction. Instead, gently return discussions back to your goal when tangents occur. Ignore attempts to change the subject, threaten etc.


Be confident. Voice tone and physical manner communicate how confident we are. Avoid stammering, whispering, staring at the floor or making statements like “I’m not sure.” Remember we are looking for clarity in your communication and when you act without confidence it is more likely that you won’t really say what you mean.

Give and take. Be willing to compromise. Know what you are willing to give in order to get. Be solution-focused, not emotionally reactive. There will be times when you need to give a little more and in a balanced relationship there will also be times when the other person will give a little more.

Treat others as you would like to be treated. Refrain from attacking, threatening, judging, manipulating or moralizing. All of these things lead to defensiveness, which makes it difficult for the other person to be open to hearing what you have to say. Try to be objective and think how you would react if someone spoke to you like that.

Listen. We all want to be heard and if you show another person the courtesy of listening to them, they may be more able/willing to listen to you. This is part of slowing down. Be willing to listen and respond to what you have heard, instead of reacting defensively before hearing what someone else has to say.

Validate. Express your acknowledgment of how others appear to be feeling, what they want, what they are struggling with, etc. Just having someone notice that you are sad and not trying to fix it, can have a profound effect. It can make you feel less alone, more important and even more able to face what you are feeling.

Ask questions. When you aren’t sure of how someone else is feeling go ahead and ask them. You can even take a guess and ask if you have gotten it right. The most important thing is to avoid assuming. By asking you get the real story, not the one you have made up in your head.

Be honest. This includes not only what you say to someone else, but also how you act. Choose what you say to someone and make that be truthful. Be who you are rather than trying to pretend to be someone or something that just isn’t you. As soon as we begin to lie to ourselves or others we create something unreal and all that creates is confused communication and often hurt and resentment.

Article contributed by
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Kate Evans


In my practice I help women rediscover their inner strength and overcome the fears and sadness that can come with forgetting to care for youself in addition to everyone else.

I'm looking forward to helping you. Give me a call for a free 30-minute phone consultation.

Location: St Charles, IL
Credentials: LCPC
Specialties: Divorce/Divorce Prevention, Empowering Women, Sexuality
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