Communication Skills

No matter who you are talking to, good communication skills are important. How you say something can sometimes be as important as what you actually say. Everyone has different styles of communicating. Here are some hints that might help you make sure other people understand what you are really saying.

Good ideas

  • Really listening
  • Making eye contact
  • Stating your feelings
  • Using statements that start with “I” to show that you’re talking for yourself
  • Trying to understand the other person
  • Offering possible solutions to a problem
  • Giving positive nonverbal messages (try smiling or touching a person gently)
  • Asking for clarification

Not So Good Ideas

  • Not listening
  • Yelling
  • Blaming
  • Criticizing
  • Name calling
  • Making the person feel guilty
  • Giving negative nonverbal messages (like frowning or scowling)
  • Interrupting
Communicating about sexual feelings or desires can be uncomfortable, but it is very important.

Conversations about sex often involve negotiation – a way to compromise without using anger, guilt, or intimidation. People in sexual relationships may have to negotiate to set limits on sexual behaviors, decide what birth control methods they will use, and figure out how to protect themselves from STDs.

To negotiate well, you have to decide what compromises you are willing to make and what choices you can’t live with. It can help to identify all possible options and to imagine yourself in the other person’s position.

When they are negotiating, people’s styles usually fall into one of three categories: aggressive, passive, or assertive. These styles can be the difference between being mean, giving in, or being strong.

When someone is aggressive, they try to get what they want without really thinking about what the other person might want or need. This often ends in hurting someone.

When someone is passive, they go along with other people even when they don’t want to.

When someone is assertive, they express what they want and feel without hurting over overpowering anyone else.

You have the right to express how you feel, to disagree with others, to ask for what you want, to refuse someone else’s request, and to expect to be treated fairly without being intimidated. Being assertive can help you do this. Some tips on being assertive include:

  • Be honest
  • Be direct
  • Say what you feel when you feel it rather than waiting
  • Use strong body language
  • Speak for yourself
  • Take responsibility for your own needs and feelings

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