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6 communication skills you must have in your relationships

Updated on January 19, 2012

Plan What You're Going To Say

Communication skills are essential if you want great relationships

Your whole life consists of relationships....

The way to measure how effective your communication skills are is to look at the results you get. Then compare them to the results that you wanted.

Most people don't plan out what they are going to say and then wonder why they get results, they didn't plan on getting. In the diagram below there is a guideline for planning out your communication.

Now, don't go and become a machine that plans out every last syllable. This is for those important conversations where you need precision.

The Acronym is SPECIFY. It stands for

S = sensory specific- what are you going to say and what will be the result of that ? What will you see, hear and feel ?

P = Positively stated - Say what you do want NOT what you don't want.

E = Ecological _ What are all of the potential consequences of what you say ?

C = Choice increasing - Does this communication increase your choices or diminish them ?

I = Initiated by Self - You are the one who is responsible for the outcomes andyou're ready for it.

F = First steps identified- What will be the first thing that you say, and then what and then what next ?

Y = Your resources identified- This means not only your physical resources but also personal internal resources such as courage or strength, determination and patience. All the qualities that you have.

This tool is normally used for goalsetting but it can be applied across lots of different planning exercises. Please feel free to use it for planning vacations wedings or whatever you want.


Communication Skills-Rapport

The next skill I'm going to share is Rapport.

This term is often bandied about without really being properly understood. Rapport is that space where your conversations last forever but time flies in an instant. Where you feel totally at one with the other person. It's the way you feel when you are "in" love.

Rapport is the space where magic happens because you both feel understood.

So here's a few tips on rapport. Rapport can be created by mirroring the other person. That is to say when sitting or standing with some one you would behave as if you are their mirror image. They lift their left hand, you lift your right hand. You can also mirror their breathing, body posture, tone of voice, speed of speech, pitch of voice...the list goes on and on. The really cool thing about rapport is that with a bit of practise you can achieve it almost instantly with almost anyone.

** One word of caution here ** Exercise some common sense before you go off getting into rapport with just anyone. It's the space where magic happens.

Rapport Skills

Rapport is easier to achieve when all the sensory systems are used
Rapport is easier to achieve when all the sensory systems are used

Communication Skills-Reflective Listening

Another really effective way of creating that state of rapport is through the use of reflective listening. Some folks also refer to it as active listening.

Reflective listening is a technique where you repeat back to the other person the basic meaning of what they have just said to you. What this does is it lets them know that you have heard what they have said AND it gives then the chance to clarify what they said to you. It is a really cool way to totally understand what some one is trying to tell you.

Other benefits of reflective listening are that you position yourself as being caring and interested. And if you do this genuinely you will be caring and interested because you now UNDERSTAND their perspective.

Another human being is going to really GET the fact that you GET THEM.

Communication Skills-problem ownership. who is responsible ?

The next thing I'm going to share with you is problem ownership.

Who exactly owns the problem ? Most folks get this one wrong.

An example : You come into your place of work and a young guy is spray painting the walls with graffiti. He's merrily singing away and dancing about happily. He doesn't have a problem. He's happy.

You, on the other hand may be less than ecstatic. You may be really peeved.

Guess what ? You own the problem..! Problem ownership can be defined as "who is not happy, here ?"

Sure, by the time you've finished with the young man he probably won't be happy either but that's not the point.

I guess the point I'm making is that we are all responsible for our own emotions and reactions. And yes it is often difficult not to react when our buttons are pressed.

In future hubs i'm going to give you more tips and strategies to improve not just your communication but also how you think, react and operate as a human being.

Problem Ownership

Who Owns The Problem
Who Owns The Problem

Communication Skills-The Aim Of Transforming Communication

Increasing The Area Where There Is No Problem
Increasing The Area Where There Is No Problem

Communication Skills-Anchoring

This is the last tip for today. You may have heard of anchoring before and may even understand it.

Here's what it is and here's a way that you can use it.

Anchoring is using a state that you have previously been in ( eg: really calm and confident ) and being able to use that same state in a different time or place. At will.

Sound useful ?

Now there's lots of different types of anchoring techniques. Today you're going to learn about resource anchors and how to set them. A resource anchor is exactly that. It allows you to reproduce a state in which you were resourceful at sometime in the past.

So, Think of a time when you were confident and relaxed. As you think of that time, remember what your surroundings were. Remember the colour of the walls or of the sky, See the textures and contours of that place where you were confident and relaxed. And when you are fully in that state of relaxation, press your thumb and forefinger together on your left hand. ( If you're left handed you may prefer to use you right hand to set the anchor on ). As you press your thumb and forefinger together say to your self " relaxed and confident "

As you relax more become aware of the sounds that were going on around you as you relaxed. Hear the sounds of the city or of nature, as you remember that time. And when you are ready the same thumb and forefinger together. and repeat to yourself "relaxed and confident"

And now as you relax again, I'd like you to become aware of the sensations that you felt at that time. The seat beneath you and how your body felt so realaxed. And as you remember those physical sensations of being relaxed press your thumb and forefinger together again while saying to yourself, "relaxed and confident "

That's right.

What I'd like you to do now is to stand up and stretch, take a deep breath and look around you. See what is going on in the world around you.

Now sit back down.... and press your that same thumb and forefinger together. Feel the relaxation flooding back over you.

The best thing about this exercise is that the more you do it the easier it gets. I use it when i am going to sleep at night as that is a time when I'm relaxed anyway.

So where would you use your resource anchor ? Well basically anywhere that you need or want to feel relaxed and confident. Eg before that difficult conversation you planned to have.

you can set anchors for any state. For example: happiness, concentration or studying and anything else you can think of.

By the way, when setting anchors there are four things you must remember.

1/ That you feel the state that you want to anchor, strongly. That is to say if you can't feel it clearly, the anchor won't be as strong'

2/ Precisely time when you set the anchor. You can do this by being sure that you really are feeling, whatever it is you want to anchor, at the time you set the anchor.

3/ Use a unique gesture to set your anchor. That is why you set your anchor on the non-dominant hand so there are no contradictory things that you might use the hand for.

4/ Make whatever gesture you use for setting your anchors easy to do again.

One final word. Whenever you want to experience the state that you have anchored, simply press that thumb and forefinger together and you'll go there.

Please practise all of these skills and as you do they'll become easier for you.

What You Need, To Set An Anchor

Michael Noone - the author


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    • movearoundus profile image


      8 years ago from Miami, FL

      SPECIFY - lovely attribute, very logical and convincing, one of the most authentic post i have came to know. Communication gap makes us deaf and dumb, and keeps us really behind the bar. we have to learn the art of commutation through intense learning and self-practice, otherwise we can't grow ourselves

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you Mishu,

      your comment is appreciated.

      I look forward to providing you with more insider tips and tricks...

      All the best,


    • mishuexpert profile image


      9 years ago

      What can i say, this the most detailed and informative page i ever visited about communication. And i think, you rightly point out that in maximum time we don't plan what we are going to say.

      Wonderful hub.


    • profile image

      Michael Noone 

      9 years ago

      Yes I agree that vocabulary is important. It is also important to know when and how to use apppropriate words because communication skill go so much further than what you say...

      There are all sorts of subtle things you can do that involve "subliminal " communication skills...

      More on this later maybe...there are ethics issues involved because these skills are so powerful..

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think good vocabulary also plays an important role in better communication.

    • Michael Noone profile imageAUTHOR

      Michael Noone 

      10 years ago from Thailand

      One of the biggest problems currently facing humanity is our reluctance to listen. Our resistance to understanding the other viewpoint and our desire to always be right will always hold us back.

      Here in Thailand all of the above is compounded by a conflict of values between the royalists and the socialist majority. If they would sit down together and agree their common highest values they would then be better placed to listen to and hear each other...

    • profile image

      Joshua U 

      10 years ago

      I'm glad you mentioned reflective listening. I believe it's possibly the best communication skill someone can learn. Reflective listening seems to get hidden in the shadow with NLP as things like anchoring get the spotlight. While anchoring, etc. is helpful, reflective listening is a skill that will rapidly improve any relationship, heal marriages, and build friendships.


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