From Dr. Jane's Notebook
The Art and Craft of Communication
The key to a great relationship is accurate and genuine communication. However, it is
rare that the art of communication is ever learned. We tend to regard it an elusive
phenomena that either does or does not occur between people.
When meaningful communication does occur, relationships tend to grow and become more
important. So, it is useful to set forth some "how tos" of making good
communication happen. Indeed, this is the art of establishing rapport...a feeling of being
in communication, on the same wavelength, of understanding, and of being understood.
- Establish the right amount of distance between people. That distance is
physical, visual, auditory, and emotional. To communicate effectively, get close enough
physically to be able to touch and speak at a comfortable volume.
- Adjust your body position so that you are at the same eye level (both
standing or both sitting), as the person with whom you are communicating, and make eye
- Ask questions and give feedback to be certain that you understand what
the other person is trying to communicate. Avoid being critical or judgemental; these are
- Notice the "sensory channel" (sight, hearing, feelings,
smell, or taste) that the other person is using and attempt to use that one too. For
example, if someone is describing something visual, try to visualize it; if one person is
trying to express a feeling, the other should try to feel it too. In effect, stand in each
other's shoes in the effort to accurately understand what is being communicated.
- Pay attention to the other person. Even if you have known them for
years, people change daily and they are sharing their current experiences with you.
- Avoid interruptions. Things such as the phone, the TV or jumping up-and-down are likely
to "break rapport".
- Clothes are important too. Dressing at a similar level of formality or
casuality helps people match their moods and manners. Be aware of how your clothing
affects your personality and relationship with the other person.
When you begin to feel that you are genuinely paying attention to the other person, and
they are paying attention to you, you are in rapport.
Rapport is the essential ingredient in communication. It can be applied with one's
spouse, children, boss, friends, strangers, and countless others who will afterwards
remember you well.
ęCopyright 1986, 1995 by Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All Rights Reserved.
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Last Updated October 18, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon,