Start main page content


Good communication infographic

Good communication is at the core of strong relationships, and the main goal is to exchange information accurately. It takes a balance of listening and speaking to communicate in a relationship (with a partner, friend or family member), and it takes practice to get it right. Read on for more communication tips.

Tips for good communication

Genuinely listen
  • Don’t plan what to say next while you’re trying to listen
  • Listen to the emotional message along with the words
  • Avoid interrupting and avoid judging
  • Show your interest in what’s being said.
  • Provide feedback - “It sounds like you’re saying…”
  • What you are listening, use open and relaxed body language
Hear the emotional message.

Listen with your ears and your heart. Sometimes people have emotional messages to share and weave it into their words or the way they say something. Body language can often provide a big clue to the emotional message being communicated.

Pay attention to body language.

Body language can tell you as much about what someone is trying to say as words do. Pay attention to:

  • Facial expressions
  • Body movements
  • Gestures
  • Posture
  • Voice
  • Eye contact (note that eye contact be different across cultures)
Ask questions.

Asking questions is a good way to show your interest.

  • Ask if you think you may have missed the point. 
  • Ask friendly (and appropriate!) questions. 
  • Ask for opinions. 
Share information.

Be generous in sharing about yourself, but don’t overwhelm others with too much too soon.

Make one point clearly.

Make one point clearly when you’re sharing information. Check to see if the other person has understood what you’re actually trying to say. 

Be present.

Take the time. Really be there.

Getting angry?

If you find yourself getting angry when you’re trying to communicate, use the steps below to help you get back on track.

Stop - Take a step back and prevent things from getting worse.

Think - When you’re less angry, think about what happened. Why did you get so angry?

Talk - Talk to the other person about what happened and what you’ve figured out after thinking things through. 

Listen - Take the time to listen to the other person’s perspective.

For more information on what to do when communication tends to turn into an argument, take a look at Fighting Fair and Conflict Management.

Wits Student Crisis Line  0800 111 331 (24/7/365)