Use positive language and request feedback when expressing your needs


  1. Use clear and positive language when expressing your needs
    For example, if your spouse is spending more time working than with the family, you can tell them “I would like you to spend the weekends at home with the children and me.” This is more specific and positive than “I don’t want you to spend so much time at work.”

  2. Ask the listener to reflect back what you’ve said
    You’re a teacher addressing a student: “John, I’m concerned about this assignment that you submitted. Can you stop by my office after school?” John mumbles something and turns away. To confirm he understood the message, you can say “John, can you tell me what you just heard me say?” If he reflects back the message incorrectly, you can say “Thank you for telling me what you heard. It seems I didn’t make myself clear, so let me try again.” This ensures that there is no miscommunication.

  3. Request honest feedback to gauge the listener’s thoughts and feelings
    You’ve just told your mentor about a business proposal and would like feedback. You can say, “I’d like you to tell me if you feel my proposal would be successful, and if not, what you think would prevent its success.”  You’re likely to receive an appraisal that can help you improve your proposal.


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