In this life, we need each other. Communication styles can nurture or harm the connections we are trying to forge. Is your communication style working for you or against you? Take the effective communication quiz to find out.
The Role of Feelings in Communication
True or False?
- If you are not so good at dealing with your own feelings, this will negatively effect your communication style with others.
- Tolerating other people’s feelings is part of being a good listener.
- An assertive communication style respects the feelings of both the speaker and the listener.
The Function of Feelings and Communication
True or False?
- Understanding the function of feelings is the first step in being able to communicate effectively.
- Feelings give us energy to solve problems.
- When you suppress feelings they don’t go away, they simply remain unexpressed.
- Suppressed feelings may cause sickness.
- When you “dump” your feelings full force onto someone you want to stay emotionally connected with, even if your feelings are totally justified, an apology is usually in order.
- All healthy people experience all human emotions, including the “negative” ones.
- It’s not fair to judge people on their feelings, rather, their actions are what matters most.
- Feelings sometimes speak in “code” and require interpretation.
True or False?
- If you suppress, argue with or deny your own feelings, your are compromising your ability to listen well to others.
- Learning to listen to yourself is the first step in improving your listening skills with others.
- Good listeners don’t argue with, judge fix or try to talk the other person out of the feelings they are expressing.
- The goal of listening is to understand, not judge, though you don’t have to agree.
- Good listeners offer suggestions only when the other person seems open to suggestions.
- Good listeners do not allow others to dump their problems on them, or to vent their problems endlessly as a substitute for solving them.
- Good listeners know when to stop listening.
- Good listeners acknowledge what the person is saying and ask questions to help better understand.
Assertive Communication Skills
True of False?
- Assertive communicators do not attack or belittle others.
- Assertive communication is the most problem-free way for people to get their needs met.
- Assertive communicators understand and validate the message conveyed to them by the other person.
- Assertive communicators are clear about how they feel and what they want.
- Assertive communicators open their hearts to the other person.
- Assertive communicators validate the feelings of the other person as well as their own feelings.
- Assertive communicators are clear and effective. They are not aggressive or wishy-washy.
You probably guessed by now that the answers to all of the questions are true. Use this information as a reminder of what you are aiming for, when you attempt to improve your communication skills. Being consciously aware of the principles of good communication, of how you communicate, and practicing new skills over and over can result in better relationships. Like any other skill, you can improve your communication style with good practice.
Getting Your Needs Met Through Better Communication
Even when you communicate as well as humanly possible, often people do not see eye to eye. Others may not change or compromise no matter how clearly and effectively you have communicated your needs. Generally speaking you can expect to have your needs met about 50% of the time. This is not a hard and fast rule, it’s just a reminder that others aren’t born to serve us, nor are we here to sacrifice ourselves endlessly. Achieving an appropriate balance is the goal.
We can’t change other people, all we can do is give them a chance by communicating clearly about ourselves. If you need help, seek out counseling or courses in assertive communication.
©Lisa C. DeLuca, all rights reserved. It is a violation of copyright law to reproduce this work on the web for any reason, or in print for business use without permission from the author. This article was originally published on the web December 19, 2008. Please contact the author with your reprint request.
This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for personal medical or mental health advice. If you are experiencing troubling symptoms or serious relationship difficulties please seek the advice of a medical or mental health professional in person.