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Effective Communication Skills. Introduction. Thank-you for being a member of this program Please take with you the information that is valuable to you from this program Respect that others are here to do the same Feel free to ask questions at any time. Day 1:.

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Effective Communication Skills

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Effective communication skills






  • Thank-you for being a member of this program

  • Please take with you the information that is valuable to you from this program

  • Respect that others are here to do the same

  • Feel free to ask questions at any time

Day 1

Day 1:

Self Disclosure, Boundaries, & Trust

~ Whenever you are ready to stop telling your emotions what they should be, they will tell you what they really are.~

- John Powell

Effective communication

Effective communication

  • When a person interprets a message in the way that the sender intended it

Why is this important

Why is this important?

  • Our ability to communicate impacts every relationship in our lives (e.g. With spouses, children, friends, etc)

  • It also impacts our understanding of ourselves

    - We learn about ourselves through our relationships with others

Self advocacy

Self advocacy

  • To stand up for oneself

  • Expressing opinions according to personal thoughts

Self disclosure

Self disclosure

  • Revealing information about your thoughts, feelings, or life experiences to another person

  • Essential for healthy relationships

    - Allows others to get to know you and you to get to know others

    - Allows you to identify common goals, needs, interests, activities, and values with others

Effective self disclosures

Effective self disclosures

  • Are more about feelings than facts

  • Have breadth (number of topics) and depth (amount revealed on a topic)

  • Focus on the present

  • Must be reciprocal

Benefits of self disclosures

Benefits of self disclosures

  • Validate our own ideas about the world

  • Increase our self-awareness

  • Help us manage stress and adversity

  • Feels good to be known intimately

Finding the balance

Finding the balance

  • If someone has been untrustworthy, it would be foolish to continue to disclose to that person

  • Go slowly, allow time to build trust

  • Give people less critical information first and see how they handle it, then work up to bigger disclosures accordingly

Trust your instincts

Trust your instincts

  • Everyone has a choice about how much of themselves to reveal to other people

  • Increased awareness of feelings and context help in determining how much information to give



  • Limits or rules that define you as separate from others

    • Promote integrity

    • Help to define self

  • Can be divided into categories:

    • Emotional

    • Social

    • Physical

    • Sexual

  • Boundaries depend on context

    Boundaries depend on context

    • Context includes 3 things:

      • Your thoughts and feelings

      • Who you are with

      • Where you are

  • Behavior that is appropriate in one context may be unhealthy or harmful in another

  • Thoughts and feelings

    Thoughts and feelings

    • Give us valuable information about boundaries

    • Allow you to consider how others treat you, and how much to trust them

    • We are sometimes taught to ignore them

    Who you are speaking with

    Who you are speaking with

    • What is the relationship?

    • What is the culture?

      • We learn about boundaries by the ways that we are treated as children

  • What have you taught the person so far about your boundaries?

    • We teach people where our boundaries are by the way we let them treat us

  • Has this person been respectful of your boundaries in the past?

    • With some people, we need to be more active in protecting our boundaries

  • Where you are

    Where you are

    • What is the environment like?

    • Are you familiar with this place?

    • What resources are available?

    • Is there privacy from other people?

    Emotional boundaries

    Emotional boundaries

    • How do you identify and express your feelings and emotions to others?

      • (e.g.. What personal information will you give out?)

  • How do you respond to the feelings of others?

  • How do you allow others to treat you?

    • (e.g.. What can people say to you?)

  • What relationships do you keep, and what relationships do you back away from?

  • Social boundaries

    Social boundaries

    • How do you interact with other people?

    • When do you interact with other people?

    • What are your rules about privacy?

    • How close or distant should people be?

    Physical boundaries

    Physical boundaries

    • How close is your body is from other people’s bodies?

    • How do you share physical space?

    • Who, how and when do you touch or allow touch?

      • Context

    Sexual boundaries

    Sexual boundaries

    • What is ok for you, in terms of any sexual acts or expression of sexuality?

    • Are interconnected with elements from physical, emotional, and social boundaries

    • If sexual intimacy is not grounded in respect for boundaries, it can lead to problems in the relationship (e.g. Pain, rejection)

    Boundary violations

    Boundary violations

    • When someone knowingly or unknowingly crosses the emotional, physical, spiritual, or sexual limits of another

    • Two types of boundary violations:

      • Intrusion

      • Distance

    Intrusion and distance

    Intrusion and Distance

    • Intrusion

      • When a physical or emotional boundary is breached

  • Distance

    • When intimacy is less than appropriate to the relationship

  • How to build boundaries

    How to build boundaries

    • Increase self awareness

    • Identify childhood violations and the offenders, become aware of resulting feelings, and get care for that damage

    • Examine the state of your boundaries in current relationships, clean them up!

    Defending boundaries

    Defending boundaries

    • Our ability to protect ourselves is related to the strength of our boundaries

    • If we don’t develop clear boundaries, we are more likely to be violated

    • Weak boundaries lead to a weak self-image

    • If we don’t defend our boundaries, we tell our minds and bodies that they are not important



    • Openness and sharing with others

      - Being willing to make yourself vulnerable in hopes of gaining something positive

    • Constantly changes in relationships

    Disrupting trust

    Disrupting Trust

    • Rejection, ridicule, or disrespect to openness

    • Lack of reciprocation to openness

    • Refusal to disclose thoughts and feelings after the other person has been accepting, supportive, and cooperative

    Strengthening trust

    Strengthening trust

    • Support for personal process

    • Acceptance of differences

    • Enhancement of our uniqueness

    • Permission for expression

    • Respect for feelings

    • The right to say “no”

    • The freedom to say “yes”



    • Regardless of what has happened to you in the past, you have the right to defend your boundaries from now on

    • It is never too late to build healthy boundaries

    • When you protect yourself, you empower yourself

    Day 2 listening skills

    Day 2: Listening skills

    ~ The beginning of wisdom is silence. The second stage is listening.~

    Listening skills

    Listening skills

    • Attending

    • Following

    • Reflecting



    • A posture of involvement

      • Lean in, look attentive

  • Appropriate body movement

  • Eye contact

  • Non-distracting environment

  • Body language

    Body language:

    • Posture

    • Eye contact

    • Gestures

    • Facial expressions

    • Tone of voice

    • Breathing



    • Welcome the conversation

    • Give little encourages (yes, go on, really?)

    • Ask some questions

    • Be silent!

    • Protect other person from your attacks!



    • Paraphrase – Repeat in your own words

    • Briefly say what you think the feelings are

    • Briefly say what you think the meaning is

    • Briefly say your understanding of the main themes



    • High risk ways of responding to others

    • Include:

      • Judging

      • Solution Sending

      • Avoiding concerns

    Active listening

    Active Listening

    • Concentrating on reflecting the feelings that we hear and don't hear

    • Requires reading between the lines

    • Creates free and open space without judgment

    Active listening1

    Active Listening

    • Shows that you care and understand the other person

      • People will enjoy talking to you and will open up more

    • If you have misunderstood, the talker can immediately correct your impressions

      • You learn more about people.

    • Usually directs the conversation towards important emotional topics

    Active listening2

    Active Listening

    • Elicits acceptance and welcomes more intimate, personal topics

    • Makes it safe to talk about "deep" subjects, so the talker can relax and more accurately express him or her self

    • Reduces our irritation with others because we understand

      • To understand is to forgive

    Active listening3

    Active Listening

    • May reduce prejudice or negative assumptions about others

      • Discover everyone is "understandable."

    • Fosters more meaningful, helpful, and closer friendships

    • Empathy is one of the more important skills you will ever acquire

      • Few people do it well



    • We often assume things about people, despite having little or no information

    • Everyone is trying to do the best they can with what they know and feel at that moment

    • Try to become persuaded by the other person’s position

    Day 3 behavior styles

    Day 3: Behavior styles

    ~We must be the change we wish to see in the world.~

    - Mahatma Ghandi

    Behavior styles

    Behavior styles

    • Passiveness - Not advocating for personal rights

    • Aggressiveness - Threatening or violating the rights of others

    • Assertiveness - Standing up for your rights while acknowledging the rights of others

    Choose for yourself

    Choose for yourself!

    • Assertive behavior is the most effective in most situations

    • However, it can be wise to be submissive or aggressive in some situations

    • In general, being assertive helps people develop the power of choice over their actions

    Six steps for assertion

    Six steps for assertion

    • Prepare yourself

    • Send the message

    • Be silent

    • Listen reflectively (expect defensiveness)

    • Recycle steps 2-4 as necessary

    • Focus on finding a solution

    Preparing yourself

    Preparing yourself

    • Write your message down

    • Practice sending it and responding to defensiveness

      • Do not begin with small talk

  • Make an appointment with the person

  • Before asserting ask yourself

    Before asserting, ask yourself:

    • Is this appropriate?

    • Am I invading the other person’s rights?

    • Is there a base of trust?

    • Is this a persistent concern?

    • Am I likely to get my needs met?

    How do i assert myself

    How do I assert myself?






    (Then stop talking!)

    Stating the behavior

    Stating the behavior

    • Be specific

    • Only refer to behaviors

    • Be objective, not judgmental

    • Be brief

    • Assert about real issues

    • Assert to the right person

    Disclosing your feelings

    Disclosing your feelings

    • Give your true feelings

      • What was the first feeling?

  • Express intensity of feeling accurately

  • Avoid using judgmental words

  • Listen to your body

  • Listen to your emotions

  • Clarify the effect

    Clarify the effect

    • Be concrete

    • Avoid imposing your values on others

    • Only speak about the effect on you

    • Talk about the real effect, not something that seems more acceptable

    After asserting yourself

    After asserting yourself:

    • Be silent

    • Practice reflective listening, try to reduce the defensiveness

    • Answer any questions with reflective listening

    • Reassert your message when necessary

    • Persist – It usually takes 3-10 repetitions

    How the other person responds

    How the other person responds

    • Acknowledge emotional responses, offer to reconvene later

    • If the person withdraws (won’t say anything), reflect their behavior and reassert yourself

    • If the person continues to withdraw, suggest a solution and say that you would like to meet in a week to discuss how well it worked



    • Often occurs when people are told that they are causing a negative effect

    • Breeds more defensiveness

    • Often blocks constructive communication

    • Respond to it with reflective listening and when necessary, repeating your message

    Use body language that says

    Use body language that says:

    • I know what I want

    • I expect to have my needs met

    • I respect you

    When someone becomes hostile

    When someone becomes hostile

    • Attempt to stop the hostile behavior

    • Avoid becoming emotionally involved

    • Accept other person’s feelings

    • (Perhaps) suggest an alternate way of resolving the conflict

    Day 4 conflict management and problem solving

    Day 4: Conflict Management and Problem Solving

    ~A problem well defined is half solved.~



    • Unavoidable

    • Can be disruptive and/ or destructive

    • Can cause positive change

    • Helps us understand ourselves better

    • Best to try to solve as early as possible

    Two types of conflict

    Two types of conflict:

    • Realistic

      • Opposing needs, goals, means, values or interests

  • Nonrealistic

    • From ignorance, error, historical tradition, prejudice, dysfunctional organizational structure, hostility, win/ lose competition

  • Preventing nonrealistic conflict

    Preventing nonrealistic conflict

    • Use fewer roadblocks

    • Reflective listening

    • Assertion skills

    • Awareness

    • Emotional support

    • Tolerance and acceptance of others

    • Weighing out “costs” and “consequences”

    • Protecting others from attack (no harsh words or put downs!)

    Preparing for conflict

    Preparing for conflict

    • Location – neutral ground, no distractions

    • Only those involved should be there

    • Contributing circumstances (e.g. Emotional pain from grief, etc.)

    • Set a time with other(s)

      • No surprise attacks!

    Strong emotions

    Strong emotions

    • Focus on emotions first!

    • Blood supply to the problem solving part of the brain is decreased during emotional arousal

    • Try reflective listening until the strong emotions recede

    • This sends the message “How you feel matters to me”

    Conflict resolution

    Conflict resolution

    • Treat the other person with respect

    • Listen until you “experience the other side”

      • Feelings

      • Content

      • Meaning

  • State your views, needs, and feelings

  • Demonstrate respect by

    Demonstrate respect by:

    • Listening

    • Maintaining eye contact

    • Tone of voice

    • Word selection

    • Type of reasoning

      Being respectful is a true challenge!



    • What is the other person saying?

    • What do they mean?

    • How do they feel?

      Try to become persuaded by their position

    Keep listening

    Keep listening

    • Repeat back what you have understood about meaning and feelings when the other person is finished talking

    • Do not defend yourself against verbal remarks

    • Do not say “I know how you feel”

    • You do not have to agree to listen

    State your views feelings or needs

    State your views, feelings, or needs

    • Only after the other person feels heard

    • Be brief

    • Mean what you say – don’t over or under exaggerate

    • Avoid loaded words (i.e. that imply judgment, etc.)

    Evaluate the conflict

    Evaluate the conflict

    • What was learned?

    • Was anyone hurt?

    • How useful was the fight in terms of developing the relationship?

    • How well did I use the techniques?

    • How could I improve?

    Potential outcomes to conflict

    Potential outcomes to conflict

    • Emotional connectedness

    • Personal growth

    • Other person may change

    • Creative problem solving

    • Deeper relationships

    Problem solving

    Problem Solving

    Win lose problem solving

    Win/lose problem solving

    • Denial

    • Avoidance Passive behavior

    • Giving in

    • Dominance -Aggressive behavior

    Collaborative problem solving

    Collaborative problem solving

    • Define the problem

    • Brainstorm solutions

    • Select a solution

    • Make a plan

    • Act out the plan

    • Evaluate

    Define the problem

    Define the problem

    • According to needs

    • Distinguish between means and ends

    • Why does each person want their proposed solution?

    • What are the absolute needs of each person?



    • Go for quantity, not quality

    • Do not clarify or evaluate yet

    • Be open to “crazy ideas”

    • Expand on each others ideas

    • List all ideas

    Select a solution

    Select a solution

    • Ask other person/ people which solutions they would prefer

    • Say what you would prefer

    • Check for matches

    • Jointly choose the solutions to the problem together

      • Called a consensus

    Make an action plan

    Make an action plan

    • Write out the agreement

    • Have each person state what they plan to do

    • Arrange a time to meet again to discuss how well the solution is working

    Act out the plan

    Act out the plan

    • Do what you said you would

    • If other person doesn’t come through, assertion and reflective listening may be needed



    • Meet a few days or a week later

    • Discuss how well the solution is working

    • If necessary, brainstorm additional solutions and create a new and improved action plan

    Important reminders

    Important reminders:

    • Address emotions first

    • Define problems according to needs

    • Do not evaluate or clarify solutions when brainstorming

    • Work out the details

    • Follow to ensure everyone’s satisfaction with solution

    • Try to discover any underlying problems

    The end

    ~ The End ~

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