Communication: How to be Effective in Getting What You Need

Are you struggling to communicate your needs with others? Many people use ineffective communication styles because they don’t know how to be assertive with others.

Since others can’t always anticipate our needs, we must express them clearly through words. Here are some tips on being assertive.

  1. Think about the time and place of your conversation – pick a time and place where the other person is most likely to alert, calm, and receptive to your conversation.
  2. Avoid distractions while you are communicating something important. In other words – turn off the TV and don’t look at your phone!
  3. Use a neutral tone of voice, don’t shout and don’t whisper.
  4. Do NOT apologize before making your needs known. Avoid “I’m sorry, but I would like you to…”
  5. Be concise. Try to sum it up in as few words as possible. 1-3 sentences is best.
  6. Avoid bringing other issues into the conversation, stick to your main point and communicate clearly before moving on to another topic.
  7. Clearly state what behavior you are looking for from the other person. For example, instead of saying “I would like you to help out around the house”, say “I need you to do the kids laundry every weekend”
  8. Stop talking and listen. After communicating your needs, listen carefully to the response. If the other person says “OK, I can do that” you can say “thank you” and move on. If the other person doesn’t seem to be listening, tell them “I need you to listen to what I have to say for the next 5 minutes” and try again!
  9. No need to be aggressive. If you are starting to get emotional and close to having an angry outburst, it may be best to step away and try again later.

Live Mentally Healthy,
Dr. Jennie Byrne

Dr. Jennie Byrne, M.D., PhD. With over 15 years of medical expertise, Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD, is a board-certified psychiatrist with experience treating mental health conditions in adults, including dementia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and depression. After practicing in New York City for 12 years, Dr. Byrne relocated to North Carolina in 2008; she currently cares for patients in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill. Dr. Byrne earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She then received her doctorate from New York University Department of Neurophysiology. She also has a doctorate of medicine from New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Byrne went on to complete a psychiatry residency at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. In addition to her work as a psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne has performed extensive research on attention, memory, and depression. As a board-certified adult psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne focuses on the needs of each patient to pro

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