Do's and Dont's of Effective Communication


Communicating effectively

Being constantly close to others in a confined environment over long periods of time can be stressful. It can also mean more time, and closer times, with family and loved ones. It’s a great time to solidify and strengthen your relationship or get to know someone better!

What does it mean to communicate effectively?

Effective communication involves giving and getting respect, asking for fairness, and leaving room for compromise when the rights and needs of two people are in conflict.

You have a right to express your own wants, needs, and ideas. Respect that others also have a right to respond with their own wants, needs, and ideas. and might refuse to accept your suggestions.

You can assert your needs without being aggressive! Build clear communication channels. Remove the guesswork and mind-reading!

Aim to communicate your needs, not to hurt another person physically or emotionally.

Do’s and Dont's to communicate your needs more effectively to others

Do's - 

  • Focus on maintaining equality and equity in the relationship.
  • Use “I” statements. Using “I” statements lets others know what you’re thinking without sounding accusatory. “I would like”, “I feel”, “I would appreciate”, “I want”.
  • Focus on how you are impacted.
  • Focus on the specific behavior change that you would like to see happen.
  • State the problem clearly. 
  • If you anticipate the conversation being lengthy, invite them to participate at a time that works for both of you.
  • Be direct and keep it brief.
  • Negotiate, and be honest.
  • Be flexible. Allow the other person to describe any problems that they may have so that you can brainstorm solutions together.
  • Decide in advance how you would handle refusal to change. 
  • Get the other person’s commitment to change.

Dont's - 

  • Focus on “winning the battle”.
  • Provide a lengthy list of wrongdoing all at once. 
  • Be overly general. Don’t say “We need to communicate better”.
  • Make assumptions or criticisms about the person.
  • Use accusatory statements such as “You are always like this” or “You need to get better at …”.
  • Use extreme statements such as “You never…” or “You always…”.
  • Focus on what the person did wrong or how the person had wronged you in the past or present. 
  • You do not need to explain or provide a lengthy list of evidence to show that something is a problem for you.
  • Apologize and provide numerous explanations for what you need. 

For more resources on supporting your mental and emotional well being during COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 Resources page. 

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Published: Thursday, April 16, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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