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Communication: Think Before You Speak

Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind? Is it positive? Is it necessary?

Before you speak, ask yourself: would you say it if those same words showed up on your skin? Does what you have to say add substance to a conversation? In any situation, the words we speak have power. Our words have the ability to positively or negatively impact someone's thoughts, actions and emotions. It's imperative we choose wisely.

Communication Skills

  • Ask the right question

  • Acknowledge the speaker's emotions

  • Effective compromises

  • Apologize correctly

  • Express gratitude

1, Ask the right questions

If you want someone to elaborate on a topic, ask an open ended question. This will invite and prolong a conversation. It will make the speaker think you're interested in what they have to say, their emotions and ultimately them.

  • Start the question with a "why", :what are your feelings about...", "tell me more about ... ", "how" or "what".

If you want someone to give you a quick yes or no answer, ask a close ended question. Give two option for them to choose from or a "yes or no" question. This will get you what you want to know quickly.

  • Start with "Do you prefer --- or ---." "Do you like -- or ---." "Are you good at ---".

If you want a specific answer from someone, ask a leading question. Preface what you want to hear. Unless if someone has strong emotions disputing the fact, they will agree.

  • Here's an example: "I love the way the group completed the assignment, don't you agree?"

2. Acknowledge the speaker's emotions

Let them know you are listening and that you feel the energy they are giving off. Let the other person know what emotions they are feeling. This will help them know you understand them.

  • "I sense you feel ... about ..."

3. Effective compromise

I particularly love the following phrases:

  • "How do you want this resolved"

  • "Let's talk."

  • A lot of the times, it has nothing to do with you. Remember, everyone is doing the best that they can.

  • "Tell me more..."

4. Apologize correctly

I particularly love the following phrases:

  • "I apologize for my part in ---"

  • "I make no excuses for my (behavior or word)..., "

  • "I'm sorry you feel that way about..."

  • "My intentions are to open the line of communication about ---"

5. Express gratitude

Some things are hard to share and talk about. It helps to validate the idea that you appreciate them confiding in you, This is as simple as saying one of the following :

  • "Thank you for sharing that with me"

  • "Thank you for being transparent with me"

  • "Thank you for trusting me with this information"

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