The Checklist for Effective Communication

This is a guest post written by Beth Banning

Techniques For Effective Communication – The Checklist

Most of us lack effective Communication skills. We don’t learn these skills in school, and we don’t learn these skills at home. This is unfortunate because, understanding these techniques for effective communication can be vital for having successful relationships in life.

Preparation for Effective Conversations

We figured it would make life a lot easier if there was a formula for having a more satisfying outcome when it came to these difficult conversations. So, we’ve developed the following checklist to help you have successful conversation and learn more effective negotiation skills.

Regardless of the situation, whenever you are faced with having a very important conversation, we promise it will go much more smoothly if you follow the tips in this checklist.

The Crucial Conversations Checklist

___ Create a Conscious Intention

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all have intentions when it comes to having important conversations. It’s difficult to disguise your intentions and others are often able to sense them, even if they are unspoken. This can affect the foundation of your conversations.

Before beginning an important conversation, decide what your intention truly is. Create a clear understanding of what’s important you, and try to determine what values are represented by your intention.

Ahead of the conversation, take a moment to remind yourself about your intention. This will help you stay focused on the true importance of the conversation and ultimately make the talk more satisfying for all parties.

___ Core Concerns

Reflect on any concerns you may hold about having the conversation. You may be worried that the other person is unwilling to have this discussion, or making things worse by bringing up these issues. It is important to really examine your own underlying concerns.

If your discussion is about conflict surrounding parenting styles, managing money, or decisions about where you will live, these can be difficult topics that need to be addressed honestly but carefully.

Many times, your fear can be interpreted as anger or irritation by the other person. When you begin the conversation by talk about your fears and underlying apprehension, you can put the other person at ease by assuring they understand what your real concerns are. This can make the other person more willing to have these difficult discussions.

___ Get on the Same Page

At the very start of any important conversation, identify the underlying reason for the conversation. Outlining the specific outcomes you hope for can help keep the conversation on track and make it easier to resolve whatever issues you are addressing.

Speak about actual events, rather than hypothetical situations or generalizations This is essential for effective communication.

Both parties should always avoid judging the other person, name calling, or using negative labels to describe the other person.

___ Only as Many Words as You Need

During any conversation, it is critical to use enough words to be clear, but not so many words that they blur the lines and complicates the issues. Try to stick to one subject, or one aspect of the situation at a time until you’re able to get some resolution. Only then is it time to move on to the next item.

Offer the other person a sketch rather than an oil painting. Let them ask you for more details as they need them. Too much talking can result in getting off-track and may prevent anything from getting accomplished.

___ More Intention

Somewhere early on in your conversation tell the other person the actual intention you identified by doing the item at the beginning of the checklist. This can help to clarify the issues and speed resolution.

Remind the other person about your intention anytime that the conversation isn’t going the way you’d like or anyone starts feeling tense.

___Establish Understanding

Ask the other person what is important to them and what outcomes they hope for as a result of the discussion. Helping them to identify their own intentions will help make your conversation more effective and more successful.

Be sure to not push your own opinions into theirs, instead keep exploring what’s important to them and tell you can truly identify their intentions.


Once the issues have been thoroughly discussed and you’re confident you know each other’s intention and desired outcomes, only then is it time to brainstorm ideas that will help you both find resolution in the situation.

Consider all points of view, and make sure that both parties have reached an agreement about solutions that won’t give anyone feeling resentful later on.

___Agreement Making

when you reach this point in the conversation, both parties need to decide who is prepared to take the specific actions needed to implement the strategies you have identified as solutions.

Both parties need to be satisfied with the conclusions you’ve reached, the actions that need to be taken, and that the overall strategy will in fact provide and satisfactory solution to the issues at hand. Your agreements need to include a specific time frame about when the actions will be completed and who will complete them.

___Follow Up

Arrange a future time to follow up on the discussion. Make sure that you both check in to see how things are progressing.

Wait until there is a problem and you’ve waited too long. When you check in with each other, be sure to make any adjustments needed to keep your previous agreements on track.

More Applications for Using the Conversation Checklist

At the end of any crucial conversation, make sure you take some time to reflect on how things went. If things went well, then relax and sit back, and celebrate your new communication skills.

If things did not go so well, then this is the perfect time to identify what went wrong and what could be changed next time to eliminate the remaining barriers to effective communication.

This is the perfect time to use this checklist for this review. Did you include each item on the lists in your conversation? Think about any points you may have missed, or those points that perhaps could have used some more attention.

Please understand, effective communication is as much art as it is science. Practice makes perfect, and everyone could stand to use a little more practice at improving their communication skills.

If you practice using the Crucial Conversations Checklist before each of your important conversations, we guarantee you’ll experience greater success in creating the results you want.

Understanding how to have satisfying conversations is only one part of having healthy relationships. If you are ready to address other areas of your relationship and discover more tips for tackling difficult topics and developing happy healthy relationships in all areas of your life, subscribe to the thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series at

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How to Become a Great Communicator and Be More Successful

This is a guest post written by Richard Krawczyk.

Reach Your Personal Development Objectives By Utilizing Good Communication Skills

How would you like to use your personal development objectives to become a great communicator? Imagine the shock your family, friends and co-workers will feel when you suddenly turn into someone who actually listens and cares about what they are saying instead of making every conversation “all about you.”

Just stop talking and “tune in” to what others are saying. Now if you’re listening to a speaker on a teleconference or live presentation, I’d recommend you take detailed notes. Research has proven that the average person only recalls 25-50% of what they heard in a presentation or conversation.

This is why if someone asks you to explain something, say a business opportunity or details about this or that, ask them to make notes because you’re actually wasting your valuable time and theirs by even talking about something they’ll forget within hours. In a week or two, they will probably not remember one word of what you said.

It’s very important to develop listening skills so you can understand and respond intelligently.

Quality communication creates and builds rapport in any relationship, avoids any confusion down the road and leads to a higher degree of understanding of the expectations of those you deal with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the average person has a short attention span and doesn’t listen as well as they should. This fact alone can create lots of challenges.

If All Else Fails, Pay Attention!

Isn’t it irritating to be in the middle of a conversation, only to look at the person you’re talking to in time to see them gazing off into the sunset, daydreaming of who knows what. In any case, they’re not listening to you. Not only is it rude on their part but it can cause you to feel unimportant and dismissed.

If you’re one of those people who can’t pay attention when others are speaking and your body language is screaming; “You don’t matter to me and I’m bored as hell.” Instead of texting someone on your iPhone or BlackBerry, staring out the window at the wind blowing in the trees or continually checking the time on your watch, try some techniques to keep your attention so you won’t be known as a poor listener.

Watch the person who is speaking and do everything you can to keep eye contact with them. Don’t fidget. Sit still and focus your attention. See if you can concentrate on the speakers’ movements, gestures, facial expressions and what they add to their presentation. Besides, you may learn something that can serve you well in the future.

Sit up straight and lean toward the speaker ever so slightly. Engage in the conversation or presentation by nodding in approval at something they say. Pay no attention to noise, the temperature in the room or other potential distractions. And for goodness sake don’t start chatting up the person sitting next to you. You’re not in High School anymore and you don’t need to distract the speaker.

Never Pre-Judge

First of all, do not interrupt a speaker or someone you’re conversing with. Allow them and/or the speaker to finish their sentence. Do your best not to allow bias and prejudice you may have toward someone just because they are different from you, perhaps in race or accent.

Of course, you may have an inner emotional response but do not allow anger, fear or negative emotions cloud the situation and put up a roadblock to understanding the message they are trying to convey.

Wait until they are finished speaking before you begin to formulate a response. Perhaps you won’t even feel the need to say anything once you hear their whole message. If you’re in a constant state of thinking of something in rebuttal to what they are saying you will miss much of what they’re discussing and rush to making a judgment call that upon later reflection wasn’t even necessary.

Humans think at approximately four times the pace of the speaker’s. Just relax and listen to what they are saying and give yourself the time to absorb and understand what’s being said.

Providing Feedback

If you have questions, by all means ask but try not to dominate the discussion with more than one or two questions. Never diminish or embarrass the speaker or come off as a know it all. Give someone else a chance to ask a question. Everyone would like to have others admire their intelligence or wit, but don’t appreciate arrogance.

Repeat back to the speaker what you’d like them to clarify in order to make certain your understanding is correct. Keep an open mind and be honest in your response and be respectful. You may well be up on a stage one day giving a presentation and I’m sure you’d like the same respect given you by others.

Make Yourself An Expert at Listening

Many people have the same complaint about friends, family, co-workers, spouses or partners. “They never listen to me when I’m talking to them.” That’s an expression as old as time. I’m sure it’s a centuries old complaint.

Obviously if you have someone in your life that absolutely drives you crazy because no matter what you ask or tell them, they forget it within minutes. You can tell them something and ask ten minutes later what you said to them and they may say they don’t remember. This can be the result of many things.

Perhaps you’re “nagging” at them constantly about the same thing and they have made the decision to tune you out. Or they are so self-absorbed they don’t care what you said. Either way, it’s an issue that needs to be looked at to be properly resolved.

If you’re the culprit and just zone out when people are talking to you then it’s your job to begin to have some compassion and work on your own listening skills.

A good listener is also a good communicator because they take the time to engage others in meaningful conversation, listen, understand what is being said, the message being conveyed then they take action.

The Best Communicator

Communication skills are one of the most important tools you can have whether for business or in your personal life. No one can be successful if they don’t know how to communicate. You can have the best product or service but if you don’t have a clue how to get your message across properly no one will listen or “get it.”

Naturally, if you lack communication skills there are an endless resource of classes or CDs, DVDs, books and online webinars or teleseminars you can sign up for and attend. There are free webinars on any subject you can imagine being given online every day. Go to Facebook or other Social Network sites and look for “free webinars” and sign up to attend as many as you can.

By hearing various speakers present their offers, you can determine who is the best at presenting and relaying their message in a cohesive and clear manner. If you have the urge to purchase their book, training system or product after hearing their presentation you can be sure they got their message across.

You may want to attend as many of their free webinars as possible and model the way they communicate. You can make huge improvements in the way you talk and communicate with everyone around you and you’ve done it at no out-of-pocket cost to you. Be creative and make a project out of your personal development objectives.

About The Author

Richard M. Krawczyk is a human potential expert, best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker and strategist. For more information about personal development objectives, go to This article may be reprinted if sent in its entirety and with the author and contact information attached.

Article Source: Reach Your Personal Development Objectives By Utilizing Good Communication Skills