Communication: The Do's and Dont's

Portable Mentor Module 22

Improving Communication

In order to improve communication, principals should implement improved day-to-day and person-to person communication rather than enacting a complete overhaul of the current communication system. By implementing more daily communication structures. staff will notice a marked difference in communication.

Own your Feelings and Thoughts

Use "I" statements rather than "you" statements when confronting co-workers. "I" statements confirm personal feelings and perceptions rather than blaming. The 3 steps to creating "I" messages:

1. Make a non-blaming, non-judgmental description of the perceived problem

2. A description of the tangible or concrete effect that the perceived problem has on me

3. A description of the specific feelings generated within the person who perceives the problem

Communicating with E-mail

E-mail is a method of communication that fails to convey the nuances of face-to-face communication. As a principal, it is important to decide whether or not it is appropriate to use e-mail for each type of communication. When using e-mail, it is important to communicate meaning whenever possible. For example, if you make a joke in your e-mail, be sure to clarify by including a smiley face or "haha."

Active Listening

Active listeners utilize non-verbal responses in order to show others that they are listening. Non-verbal responses include making eye contact, and nodding or tilting your head. Another way to display active listening is to restate the other person's comments to confirm understanding. Some ways to do this include:

  • It sounds like you are saying...
  • In other words you believe...
  • Then what you're telling me is...

A Quote to Communicate by

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place"

- George Bernard Shaw