Communication Skills Skilled thoughtful communication is the foundation for satisfying relationships. We teach effective, assertive communication skills along with conflict resolution and negotiation to individuals, couples and families.
HEALTHY COMMUNICATION IN CONFLICT
Healthy communication is based on the assumption that we all have the right to have feelings—and to express these feelings in ways that show respect for others and ourselves. Personal relationships become more authentic and satisfying when we share our honest reactions with others and allow them to do the same.
Below are some helpful hints to assist you in dealing openly and effectively with natural emotions, such as anger:
1. Use “I” statements. For example, use the statement “I am angry with you” rather than “You make me angry.” This increases the likelihood that your message will be heard rather than reacted to in a defensive manner.
2. Make statements that are descriptive rather than evaluative. By describing your own reaction, it leaves the other person free to use it or not to use it as he/she sees fit. By avoiding evaluative statements, you reduce the need for the other person to respond defensively. Evaluative statements are based on judgment not observations. They can come across as critical or even contemptuous or belittling.
3. Statements need to be specific rather than general. If you are told that you are “dominating,” it will probably not be as useful as to be told, “Just now, when we were deciding the issue, you did not listen to what others said, and I felt forced to accept your arguments or face an attack from you.”
4. Make statements based on observations rather than on inferences. They need to be made on what you can see or hear in the behavior of another person, no on interpretation and conclusions.
5. Take into account the needs of both the receiver and giver of feedback. Feedback can be destructive when it serves only your own needs and fails to consider the needs of the person on the receiving end.
6. Direct statements toward behavior about which the receiver can do something. Frustration is only increased when you remind someone of some shortcoming over which he/she has no control.
7. Make well-timed statements. In general, feedback is most useful when spoken at the earliest opportunity after the given behavior, depending, of course, on the person’s readiness to hear it, support available from others, etc.
8. Check to insure clear communication. One way of doing this is to have the receiver try to rephrase the feedback he/she has received to see if it corresponds to what you, the sender, had in mind.
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