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Week 3: Communication

Week 3: Communication


"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we percieve the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others"

-Tony Robins


This week, choose 2 of the 3 challenges you wish to complete.

Challenge #1: Active Listening

Active listening means making a conscious effort to not just hear the words that another person is saying but try to understand the complete message being sent. Oftentimes in a conversation, we find ourselves distracted or already thinking about our own response, rather than fully listening.

Active listening is a technique in which one paraphrases what the other person has said to make sure that they fully understand. Use this in your life to become a better communicator, have better relationships, and avoid misunderstandings!

To practice active listening, participate in a conversation by doing the following:

  1. Paraphrasing what the person has said (this has many benefits, including avoiding miscommunications and false assumptions)
  2. Clarify, meaning ask questions until you fully understand the other person’s point of view.
  3. Give feedback which allows you to share your thoughts and feelings in a nonjudgmental way.
  4. Use I statements (send messages that reflect your own thoughts, feelings, and beliefts) ex: "I feel disrespected when dishes are left unwashed." instead of "You never wash your dishes."


Now that you have the basics, your challenge is to try these techniques out the next time you’re having a conversation with a friend!

Challenge #2: Assertive Communication

Have a conversation with someone in an assertive manner.

Assertiveness is the middle point between being passive and being aggressive. It's thinking and acting in ways that demonstrate self-respect while still showing respect for others.

How to communicate assertively:

  1. Speak with facts rather than opinion or judgment. For example, "I see that you have not been eating lunch or dinner" instead of "Why are you starving yourself?"
  2. Use "I statements"
  3. Try to be as honest as possible while still maintaining respect for the other person
  4. Avoid generalizations, advice giving, criticizing, blaming, indirect statements, etc.

Remember: being assertive requires practice so don't be too hard on yourself if you fall into a more passive or aggressive category sometimes!


Challenge #3: What do you like about yourself?

Close your eyes and ask yourself "What things do I say to myself that are put-downs?"

Take a few moments to listen to the voices in your head that attack your own self-esteem. Next, take a piece of paper and divide the page vertically, creating 2 columns. Label one side "self put-downs" and write down all the put-downs you tell yourself send yourself at this particular time in your life. Write them down from the second person point of view. Read over the column and let your feelings come out by answering back in the empty column.


Self put-down: You spend too much time procrasinating on schoolwork.

Response: Nobody is perfect and I've been working on managing my time better.

By pinpointing and dealing with attacks on your self-esteem coming from within you, you are training yourself to deal with put-downs from others.


References & Resources

McKay, Matthew, Martha Davis, and Patrick Fanning. Messages: The Communication Skills Book. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 1995. 18-20. Print.

Active Listening

Active Listening in Mentoring

Video: How to Be More Confident