How to: Consciously Communicate


Improving your communication skills can improve all aspects of your life, whether it's at school, or home. It can help deepen the connections you already have with your friends, partners, roommates and colleagues while helping with conflict resolution too. Most importantly, it will deepen your relationship with yourself. Being able to communicate effectively allows you to take ownership of your experience, get your needs met, and set healthy boundaries without projecting your experience onto another.

Here are some simple guidelines to get you started.


Step 1: Use "I" Statements

  • DO:

  • I need help with...

  • I would like to talk...

  • DON'T

  • We should talk...

  • You need to help me!

Consider what the need is behind your statement.


Examples:

Why did you go out to dinner without me?!

vs. When you went to dinner without me, I felt hurt and left out.



Step 2: Co-Listening

  • DO:

  • Set a timer to listen first

  • Hold space with non-judgmental awareness

  • Redirect your attention back to their voice when you're distracted

  • Switch roles

  • DON'T

  • Fix or try to solve problems

  • Interrupt

  • Nod in agreement or respond

Step 3: Reflective Listening

  • DO:

  • Start by co-listening (same concepts apply)

  • Hold space

  • Summarize what you heard when they're finished using "I statements"

  • Make eye contact

  • Confirm what you reflected back was accurate

  • Follow-up with "Did I miss anything?"

  • Switch roles

Step 4: Acknowledgement / Empowering Feedback

  • DO:

  • Use what you learned above and acknowledge the other persons feelings and experience

  • Hold space with non-judgmental awareness

  • State what you needed, felt or appreciated using I statements

  • When you...

  • I experienced...

  • I felt like...

  • I appreciated...

Example:

You're always interrupting me! vs. When you interrupt me while I'm speaking it makes me feel like you don't respect my opinion or that your idea is more important than mine. What I needed was for you to listen before responding. I would love to hear your ideas when I'm done.


If you continue to interrupt, I will wait to have a conversation with you when you're ready. (setting healthy boundary)


Where can you start using this today?

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© 2020 by Kristin Damstetter

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