Communicating EffectivelyLearning how to communicate with others starts as soon as we are born. As babies, crying worked. But when you’re grown, the world expects words, not tantrums! Knowing how to use words effectively makes a difference in every aspect of your life – from your relationships to your job.
Use ‘I’ statements. An “I” statement is a way of communicating about a problem to another person without blaming that person for the problem.
Clearly express how you feel, what you think and what you want. Assuming that others know what you want can create all sorts of problems.
Do it now. If there is an issue you need to raise or a situation that needs to be resolved, try to deal with it as soon as possible.
Ask for clarification. Just as people can’t always read your mind, sometimes it is difficult to interpret what someone else is thinking or feeling.
Express your discomfort in raising an issue. If you feel uncomfortable raising a particular issue, it can be helpful to let the other person know this.
Be aware of your body language. The way you speak—including the volume and tone of your voice, your physical gestures and your facial expressions—all have an important impact on how your message will be received.
Communicate positive feelings. Developing good relationships means being able to express positive feelings, too.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.
Special Thanks: Rebekka Meyer, Project Director at FirstPic, Inc., has 13 years of program and administrative experience in youth development, education, and government programs. She has served Boys & Girls Clubs of America affiliates as an employee in Pine Ridge, SD and Lower Brule, SD, as a National Training Associate, and as a nationwide onsite training and technical assistance provider. Additionally, through a partnership with the National Congress of American Indians, she wrote and piloted the T.R.A.I.L. Diabetes Prevention program curriculum for Native American youth. Rebekka is an alumnus of AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. She holds Bachelors in Political Science from Truman State University in Missouri and a Masters in International Business from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Many articles in this section were adapted from WeRNative.org, a website for Native Youth by Native Youth