Fifteen Steps for Effective Communication

“Heat and animosity, contest and conflict, may sharpen the wits, although they rarely do; they never strengthen the understanding, clear the perspicacity, guide the judgment, or improve the heart.”

~ Walter Savage Landor

Fifteen Steps for Effective Communication

By Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith

  1. Let go of your own ideas, role, and agenda and try to understand what the other person is saying.
  2. Become curious about what makes them tick.
  3. Before you speak, draw out the other person’s ideas.
  4. Search behind the words for the other person’s meaning.  Especially if he or she disagrees with you.
  5. Discover and manage your listener’s unspoken expectations.
  6. Respond respectfully and nondefensively acknowledging and addressing the other person’s concerns first.
  7. Choose an appropriate form of communicating.
  8. Speak respectfully, empathically, and responsively.
  9. Demonstrate that you heard the other person’s deeper needs and feelings.
  10. Anticipate objections and address them before they are raised.
  11. Clarify and emphasize your agreements.
  12. Acknowledge differences and restate issues positively.
  13. State your interests instead of your positions.
  14. Ask for feedback.
  15. Compliment the other person for listening (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p. 51-54).

From:  Cloke, K. & Goldsmith, J. (2011).  Resolving conflicts at work: ten strategies for everyone on the job (3rd Ed).  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Reprinted with permission from the OSU Leadership Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, (614) 292-3114,

Coaching Call To Action

When you feel your blood pressure rising and want to raise your voice to go along with it, what do you do to minimize conflict and regain your (and their) cool?  Please share below.