BE PATIENT--Under Construction

Carmen Pineiro, LMHC

  Better Pathways


Are You Communicating Effectively?

Posted by on July 1, 2016 at 11:05 AM

When you speak to others, do you think before you speak or do you blur out the first thing that comes to mind? Do you allow you others to express their feelings and values without judging or imposing your own? Ineffective types of communication such as, assuming, judging, blaming and ignoring can affect all types of relationships. It contributes to misunderstanding and conflict. Ineffective communication keeps those we love the most distanced from us.


Developing communication skills improves the quality of the relationship making it meaningful and satisfying.

What follows are 4 simple techniques to improve communication in any relationship. Using these techniques could help transform and deepen the connection amongst those in any type relationship whether it's intimate, friendship, family or work related.


1. Mindful listening. The first step to effective communication is listening. Don’t talk, just listen. When others talk, we often focus on what to say next or get distracted by other thoughts. Listen mindfully and pay attention to what is said without judging, giving advice or trying to fix the situation. Make sure you:


• Give your full attention

• make eye contact

• nod your head


2. Reflecting. When one is done talking or explaining, acknowledge what was said by reflecting or paraphrasing. Restate their point of view and feelings without adding your own ideas or questions. Be genuine and respectful, avoid making sarcastic remarks or emphasizing specific words.


• I heard you say....

• So what you're saying is....

• Let me make sure I’m understanding correctly...

• Is that right?

• Is there anything I missed?


3. Empathize. Try to identify and make sense of how the other person feels. Try to imagine and understand others feelings and put yourself in their shoes. Keep in mind feelings are single words and range in intensity; finding the correct emotion is important.


• I imagine that must make you feel....

• I can see that you feel....


4. Validation. Validating is not agreeing but seeing things from others point of view. You can validate thoughts and feelings even if you don't agree with them. This shows respect for what others think or feel.


• I can see how you would see it that way.....

• It makes sense that....

• I can understand that.

• That makes sense to me because....


Like any new skill, communication requires practice. You cannot learn to play a guitar by watching videos or reading about it. You must play it and practice often before getting good at it. Initially, new communication skills may feel strange or awkward when practiced. The more you practice, the better at it you will become. In no time, it will come natural and become habit.


Daily practice will strengthen the connection between the two people in turn making the relationship, whether intimate, social or work-related stronger and meaningful.


Categories: Communication, Skills, Relationships

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