June 18, 2024

If you have read my previous article on the ‘Elements of Communication’ you know that it consists of words (7{43188a7dd839b6435400250daa1cfd1f7fa6a9f2f74b5d47d7c17eef7596ad2a}), tonality (38{43188a7dd839b6435400250daa1cfd1f7fa6a9f2f74b5d47d7c17eef7596ad2a}) and body language (55{43188a7dd839b6435400250daa1cfd1f7fa6a9f2f74b5d47d7c17eef7596ad2a}). In the following article we will look specifically at the elements of effective communication and how they will ensure a successful and satisfying interaction.

Attention – Intention

Given that we are not just communicating with words we need to be attentive beyond our active listening skills. Our focused attention must include all the aspects, from what is clearly spoken and the emotion with which the person is speaking up to what is left unsaid or alluded to.

If you are still daydreaming or thinking about your shopping or to do list, while someone else is communicating with you, then you may still want to practice your attention skills.

Intent is as important as attention. You and your partner need to have the same or a similar intent as the basis of your communication if you want to make it successful and satisfying. Otherwise you feel like you are talking about two different things altogether.


A seemingly simple word, yet powerful beyond means. To clarify, feedback does not just mean ‘repeating word by word what the other person has said’! To become skillful at feedback needs some practice. The purpose of feedback is to make sure you really understood the message the way the communicator meant it and not how you interpreted it. Feedback is also about asking clarifying questions that help the person to clarify their message even more.

When feedback is used properly the communicator feels totally heard, understood and validated. In communicating about an issue it has been found that once it has been shared in a way that was supported by skillful feedback, most of the problem has already been solved.

Trust, openness and honesty

When trust is present in a communication, openness and honesty will be there too. Honesty is needed, for example, to say clearly when you are not able to listen to your partner with the attention they deserve. When openness is present, supported by trust, the communication usually goes much deeper and becomes more meaningful.

Openness and honesty does not necessarily mean that you have to say all and everything that crosses your mind. Tactfulness and diplomacy are essential for trust not to be broken. Some revelations therefore need to be skillfully balanced between being honest and overwhelming the relationship.


For a communication to be freely flowing it needs to be happening in the right environment. Depending on the content of the communication you need to be aware of the implications of your surroundings. If, for example, you want to discuss parenting issues with your partner a loud and crowded restaurant with your neighbors sitting right next to you might not be a concussive environment.

As part of the environment also remember to allow the appropriate amount of time so you do not have to break the flow of connection halfway.

Communication is a two-way street, so even if you have ticked all the boxes of elements of effective communication, it might not work out if the other person has a different agenda.