Becoming a Clear Communicator

Communication

Becoming a Clear Communicator

Becoming a clear communicator means effectively conveying your thoughts, ideas, needs and wants. Communicating clearly helps you manage your time and your life, to feel good about yourself, and to build trustworthy relationships with others.

Know what you want to say

  • Ask yourself what it is you want: Gaining a full understanding of what you want to say will help you deliver your message.
  • Practice what you are going to say in advance: Say it out loud to yourself or someone else. Don’t be afraid to change your message in the process.
  • Stay focused: Don’t bring up things that happened in the past.

Listen

  • Show that you are listening: Make eye contact; don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask the other person to repeat what he or she has said.
  • Be polite: Don’t interrupt; take turns talking.
  • Be respectful: Respect what the other person is feeling and/or thinking.
  • Keep an open mind: Don’t be afraid to change your mind about what you first thought when you started the conversation

Say what you mean

  • Be direct and give examples: Help the other person understand what you’re trying to say.
  • Be Honest: Show how you really feel.
  • Use “I” statements: Talking in “I” statements helps you clearly explain what you need and how your feel, without placing blame on the other person. Example: “ I feel frustrated when you’re late. I want you to be on time.”
  • Pay attention to you body language: The way you move your body and hands speak just as much as what you say.
  • Don’t be afraid to say that you are sorry if you say something that is hurtful or wrong.

Make sure you understand

  • What do you both want: Ask the other person what he or she needs, and be clear about your needs.
  • If you don’t understand, ask: Don’t be afraid to ask the other person how he or she is thinking and feeling. Don’t try to guess on your own.
  • Repeat what the other person says: A great way to make sure that you understand someone is to repeat what the person has just said, in your own words, e.g., “What I hear you saying is...”

Action and closure

  • Before the conversation ends, make sure you both understand what the other has said.
  • Summarize: Restate what each of you has said, to make sure that there are no misunderstandings.
  • What will happen next: Make an agreement about what will happen next as a result of your conversation.
  • Closure: You may not both agree with one another, but make sure you are both satisfied with the conversation. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation again, at a later time, if necessary.

Additional Resources

  • If you want to talk to someone about enhancing your communication skills, you can make an appointment with a Wellness Educator/Counselor