9 Steps to Developing Effective Communication Skills

In our last post we discussed the role of good communication in building relationships and resolving conflict. In this post we expand on ways to improve our communication skills.

As IFPS staff we know how to use effective communication skills. The following suggestions are a reminder to pause and recall what we know.

1. Think about the problem prior to taking action.
What is the situation? What are your assumptions? What do you hope to accomplish?

2. Reach out to others with sincerity by engaging and listening to them.

3. Try to see the other person’s viewpoint.
They have specific reasons for what they are doing which we can’t know until they tell us.

4. Contribute to open communication by staying present.
If you are thinking about what you’re going to say next you can’t fully listen to the person now.

5. Seek to understand the situation and avoid personalizing it.
Focusing on the other person and your relationship with that person keeps it from being all about you.

6. Ask for clarification as needed.
Don’t assume you know what the person is thinking or feeling or all aspects of the situation.

7. Maintain good self-control.
It may feel good to lash out, especially if you are angry, but it won’t help you reach your communication goals.

8. Find opportunities to help the other person.
With their permission you can clarify or problem-solve with them.

9. Remember that every interaction builds or erodes the relationship.
Maintaining and building a relationship is easier and more pleasant than trying to repair it.


Posted by Moneefah D. Jackson and Peg Marckworth