Choose the Right Environment 
When the subject matter is weighty and emotionally charged, find a place where you won't be distracted and can devote yourself entirely to talking and listening.

Pick Your Battles
People's willingness to listen goes down dramatically after the first criticism in a conversation. with each successive criticism, their defensiveness goes up and their receptivity goes down. By the third criticism, you might as well be talking to yourself. don't wander into saying, "And it also really bothers me that..." If there's something you need to address, stick with that point and deal with other issues another time.

Beware of Undoing
People will ratchet up their courage to say something extremely important, then sabotage their own communication by waffling. "You know, I think you're really mean and hurtful...and I know I probably bring that out in you." No; don't apologize for your real feelings. Deliver your message. Own it. then stay with it.

Make Use of "Minimal Encouragers" to Let Your Partner Know He Is Being Heard
Minimal encouragers are the very least you must express to make sure the speaker knows you're listening to him. They are very simple: Make eye contact, nod your head, say things like, "Uh-huh; right; gotcha." what that says to the other person is "All right, I hear you. Keep going." Let him know that he's not speaking Greek to you.

Don't Disguise Your Feelings in a Question
"Are you going out with your buddies this Friday—again?" Really, what you're trying to say is that you want to spend more time with your partner. When your message is true, the response will be, too.

Communication Breakthroughs
How to say the hard things
3-step plan to take the fear out of confrontation
Starting to sound like a broken record?


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