Basics of Good Communication


Communication is the exchange of information between two or more people. There are several basic concepts to keep in mind when communicating with others. These things will help ensure your message is received in the manner in which you intended.

  1. Source Responsibility – make it clear that the thought or idea you are presenting is coming from you. This is typically done through use of an “I” Statement. These statements keep the person receiving your message from feeling blamed or attacked.
  1. Directness – When speaking, it is important to be clear as to who you are addressing. It is also important that your message be specific so any confusion about your intent is minimized.
    1. It can be helpful to ask the recipient if he/she has any questions after you have expressed yourself.
  1. Brevity – Studies have shown that many listeners only hear the first 5-10 words of what a person says. Therefore, it is important that you keep your message concise/brief.
  1. Behavior Specificity/Concreteness – It is important to be specific about the behaviors you are addressing at any time. Try to avoid speaking in general terms when addressing the behaviors you wish to address.
  1. Congruence – Make sure your tone, facial expressions, body language, and other non-verbal cues match the topic you are trying to present.
  1. Presenting Alternatives – typically, listeners are going to respond better when presented with alternatives/options/choices than they will to demands/directions.
  1. Active Listening – it is important to pay close attention to what is being said. Active listening is not just about hearing what a person is saying, it’s about understanding it as well.
    1. IF there is any confusion, questions are a good way of clarifying information that has been received. 



Age Gender, History/Upbringing, Mental Capacity,

Tone, Vocabulary, Facial Expressions, Technology

Mood, Body Language, Volume Audience

Details, Distractions, Knowledge Listening (or lack of)

If you are considering counseling to improve your/your family’s communication skills, or if you need additional information, please reach out to one of our mental health professionals by clicking on the Find A Therapist tab at the top of this page.

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