Effective Communication: Getting the Message Across

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The way you communicate has a big impact on your ability to get along with people and get the things that you want. Good communication skills can help you avoid conflict and to solve problems. Open and honest communication is also important for making friends and having healthy relationships.

Styles of communication

Aggressive communication is expressed in a forceful and hostile manner, and usually involves alienating messages such as you-statements (blaming the other person and accusing them of being wrong or at fault) and labeling (calling a person a name).

Passive communication involves putting your needs last. When you communicate passively, you don’t express your thoughts or feelings or ask for what you want.

Assertive communication involves clearly expressing what you think, how you feel and what you want, without demanding that you must have things your way. Say “no” to requests from others when you want to, without feeling guilty.

Let’s have a look at some of the errors that led to this angry outburst.

Error 1: Mind-reading. An important aspect of good communication is to tell others what we think and want and not assume that they already know. Also, don’t assume what others may be thinking.

Error 2: Avoiding communication. Communication problems often arise because we don’t say how we feel, what we think or what we want.

Error 3: Labeling. When we label another person, it can feel like we are attacking them, and that person’s first reaction is usually to attack back.

TIP: If you find it difficult to say it directly to the person, write it down your whole message paper first. This can help you to clarify what you want to say and how you can say it.



Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 


Special Thanks:
Rebekka Meyer, Project Director at FirstPic, Inc., has 13 years of program and administrative experience in youth development, education, and government programs. She has served Boys & Girls Clubs of America affiliates as an employee in Pine Ridge, SD and Lower Brule, SD, as a National Training Associate, and as a nationwide onsite training and technical assistance provider. Additionally, through a partnership with the National Congress of American Indians, she wrote and piloted the T.R.A.I.L. Diabetes Prevention program curriculum for Native American youth. Rebekka is an alumnus of AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. She holds Bachelors in Political Science from Truman State University in Missouri and a Masters in International Business from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.
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