Communication Skills

Using communication skills effectively includes the use of listening skills when you are communicating by talking with another person.

Here's an example: I, a white-skinned person, asked a brown-skinned stranger in southern California to move his ladder away from an office door. I spoke to him in English and he responded by looking puzzled and saying nothing. Then, in fractured Spanish, I asked him if he understood me. He shook his head to communicate "no." I responded with gestures and more fractured Spanish. He finally understood that I wanted him to move his ladder, which he did.

This fragment of an interaction illustrates that listening skills includes "listening to" nonverbal communication.

The fragment also illustrates another point about the communication skill of listening--the importance of assessing whether your messsage is being received.

If I, Lawrence J. Bookbinder, Ph.D., had continued talking to the stranger without checking if he understood me, I might not, of course, have communicated my message to him.

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When I am talking to someone and her eyes glaze over, I sometimes will say to myself:

  • "Maybe she's not interested in listening to the subject I am talking about"
  • "Maybe she doesn't understand what I am saying and is hesitant to ask for clarification."
If her nonverbal cues suggest she is not interested, I might, for example:
  • pause so as to give her an opportunity to speak about a subject in which she is interested.
  • say "What do you think?"
  • say "What's been happening with you lately?"
  • say "Shall we change the subject?"
MORE INFO: For more information about the use of communication skills in conversations and their contribution to good relationships and emotional intimacy, visit my other websites by clicking on the links below.

If you liked this site, e-mailing me your thanks will reward me for creating it and help sustain my motivation to continue it for future visitors.


My Other Websites Related to Communication Skills

Empathy, Listening Skills, and Relationships is a six-page website which includes more information about the use of communication skills in conversations.

Empathy, Listening Skills, and Intimacy is an expanded version of the six-page website.

Listening Skills and Relationships is a discussion board on communication skills which includes messages from me and my responses to messages from others. To read or post messages, you do not have to register. Visit the board to read questions and answers, ask or answer questions, share experiences, etc.

Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 by Lawrence J. Bookbinder, Ph.D. and last revised on September 12, 2006. I also have websites on prostate cancer and on the noncancerous enlarged prostate (BPH).

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