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What conversations do you need to have?

What comes to mind when you hear “effective communication”?

I used to believe I was a great communicator! I said what was on my mind and the person I’m communicating with will completely understand (if it were only that easy!).

I’ve come a verrrrrrrry long way from that belief! After almost 14 years of marriage, why is communication still a thing? Shouldn’t we be experts by now?


Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, whether it be personal or professional. Communication leads us to a better understanding of each other, creates a path to empathy, and promotes collaboration and problem solving. Healthy communication isn't just about talking, it's also listening, understanding, and responding with care.

So, what are some of the building blocks of effective, healthy communication?

Active Listening

Active listening is one of the main building blocks of communication. When someone is speaking, focus on what they're saying without interrupting (this can be so difficult, especially when we want to prove a point, disagree, or get our point across).

By showing engagement, we are telling the other person that we are present, that we are listening and we hear them. Part of being present may be making eye contact, nodding, and offering verbal affirmations.

If we are really listening, we will be able to paraphrase what we've heard to see if that’s what the other person is trying to convey to us. This not only helps the other person feel valued, but also helps alleviate misunderstandings.

Open and Honest Expression

Healthy communication means being able to express our thoughts, feelings, and needs honestly and respectfully. Being open and honest encourages trust and vulnerability in our relationships, although it may be difficult at times.  

By using "I" statements to express feelings, we avoid making the other person feel blamed, accused or attacked. For example, say "I feel hurt when..." instead of "You always make me feel hurt when...". This may be a challenge at first, but try it! You may be surprised at how the conversation progresses.


Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment and has a significant impact on communication. When we're mindful, we are less likely to react impulsively or defensively.

When things seem to be going south, take a breath before responding, especially in challenging conversations. This gives us an opportunity to respond differently, to really think about what was said and how we can respond thoughtfully rather than reactively.


Empathy is the ability to share the feelings of another. We will never fully understand what the other person is going through, but by acknowledging their emotions we can be a great listening ear for them.

An empathetic response can be something like,  "I don’t fully understand how you feel, but I’m here for you" or "I'm here for you" can go a long way in building trust, connection, and helping the other person feel “heard”.

Nonverbal Communication

Communication is not just about words, nonverbal cues play a significant role as well.

By paying attention to our body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions, we can convey emotions and intentions just as much as words.

Practice, Practice...and more Practice!

Improving our communication skills requires an awareness of how we currently communicate and a desire to shift to better communication. It is definitely a skill to practice!

By seeking opportunities to engage in conversations–with family (especially children!), friends, colleagues–that challenge our ability to listen, express ourselves, and practice empathy, you can become one of the best communicators ever!

How do you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (10 being best communicator)?

What part of your communication style could you improve on?

How can you apply these building blocks to create effective communication in your relationships?

As always, however you are feeling today, I want you to know that you are never alone. I encourage you to reach out—if not to me, then to someone! 

Give me a call or text at 951.523.7959, send me an email, or click here to schedule a chat.

I believe in you,


P.S. How helpful was this? If you think of someone who may benefit, please do not hesitate to forward this information. Thank you!

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