Employee Assistance Program
Wellness Tips » Effective Communication
According to Dale Carnegie, Effective Conversationalists have the following characteristics:
- They have quality information that others value. To obtain this they may read the newspaper each day, read news magazines once a week, watch TV documentaries or news specials, or interview people with expert information.
- They enjoy both give and take in informal discussions; they contribute to both the talking and the listening.
- They ask good questions, which draws the other person into the conversation.
- They listen to the other person's ideas so that the conversation is not a one-way broadcast of their own information.
- They are willing to try!
Obviously there needs to be a "sender" and a "receiver" for effective communication to take place. Here are a few tips to help you in both of these roles.
- Use "I" statements regarding your thoughts and feelings. For example "I am feeling uncomfortable about this situation" or "I think that there needs to be welfare reform".
- Attach feelings to specific events so that it is more clear what you are talking about. For example "When you throw your clothes on the floor of the bedroom I feel frustrated because it seems like all I ever do is clean" instead of "I'm so frustrated with you."
- Avoid the use of "you" statements, they tend to be blaming and foster defensiveness. For example change "You never take out the garbage" to "I would appreciate it if you would take out the garbage today."
- Pay attention to your nonverbals when you deliver messages. Your tone of voice and body language can negate any positives you may be trying to convey.
- Paraphrase or repeat what you hear the other person trying to say. This will help you make sure that the message you heard was what the sender intended.
- Empathize (try to understand what the other person feels as if you were in their shoes).
- Remember that everyone has a right to his or her feelings (good or bad)
- Remember that trying to understand the person talking does not mean that you agree with them, but trying to understand where they are coming from is essential.