Day 13 – Communication Techniques for HELPERS continued…

In Day 12, three communication techniques for those of us in helping professions were explained… Are you a teacher? A medical professional? A counselor? A parent? If so, pay attention to these next few important tips as well!

Ask open-ended questions

Sometimes people need to be drawn out. (Kinda obvious right)? But even for the most extroverted, chatty person, when it comes to talking feelings it’s natural to shut down. Some people simply aren’t comfortable with it. Open-ended questions are useful because they don’t call for yes/no answers and they don’t call for quick, factual details. Rather, they elicit more thoughtful responses. For example, you could say to someone, “Talk to me about what you were feeling in that moment.” (Although it’s not framed as a question, you are asking the person what they were feeling at the time. You are also asking them to “talk about it” not just give you a one-word feeling response).

Make observations

Observations are huge! A lot of times, we have no idea how we are perceived by other people. We may be fidgity and therefore come across as nervous. Or we may neglect to make eye contact with people which makes us seem like we aren’t being truthful. A lot of times, the non-verbals we aren’t even aware of can lead to important discoveries. For example, when I was a kid I used to have a baby blanket. I chewed the four corners until they were no longer smooth. At some point, I got in this weird habit of rubbing the four corners of the blanket between my fingers. To this day, I still find myself mimicing that movement with my fingers and it happens most when I am feeling nervous or uncomfortable. I guess subconsciuosly I associate that movement with my old security blanket and am comforted by the motion… as bizarre as that may be! Learning these tidbits about ourselves is important and can reveal interesting information about what we are experiencing internally.

Confrontation

One of the hardest parts for many people in the helping profession is having to confront people. It’s uncomfortable for the confronter and it’s uncomfortable for the confrontee. However, when else can you get confronted in a safe space? We need to know when we’re being inconsistent in terms of our behaviors, words, attitudes etc. so that we can begin to understand why and eliminate any internal chaos we may feel as a result. Confront in a gentle way and remember, you may be the only person to speak truth into the life of this individual. It’s an honor and with kindness, can make a huge impact on someone’s life!

Speak Your Mind

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