How to communicate better with your family

Author Rachel Kelly’s guide to healing rifts through constructive, meaningful dialogue


How to communicate better with your family

2 minute read

Loving family 101: communication

Meet face to face

Keep emails and texts for less significant exchanges. Face the person you’re talking to, stand with confidence and an open posture and speak slowly. Our voice jumps in volume and pitch when we’re feeling out of control but a steady, deliberate voice conveys confidence during more difficult conversations.

Speak softly

The 13th-century Persian poet Rumi wrote: ‘Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.’ It seems basic but being shrill raises hackles!

Say what you feel

Use the first person ‘I’; it apportions less blame. Be truthful about your emotions but don’t dwell on negative feelings.

Use thoughtful language

State calmly what you would like the other person to do. Professor of social interaction Elizabeth Stokoe analysed thousands of hours of recorded calls – from customer services to 999 calls – and found the word ‘willing’ has a magical effect on people. If they’re not willing to do what you ask, pause while you work out what will be acceptable to you both.

Find out more about Rachel Kelly here

Image: Getty

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