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10 Ways to Make Conversation Easier

image of the words just say something

People with speech and language impairments must often find ways to communicate more efficiently with their peers and co-workers. They are instructed by speech therapists to practice often, and we thought it would be helpful to share a list used by someone with a communication impairment to provide a better understanding of what they go through in order to communicate more effectively.

    1. Make sure all necessary information is provided so that a partner in speech understands what I am speaking about.
      Example: If I am talking about “House of Cards” I need to make sure the listener knows that’s a TV show.
    2. Check my language partner’s facial cues to see how they are feeling and then take action on that information. As an example, if I notice a partner in speech looks confused, rather than labeling, ask clarifying questions.
    3. Think about how I am talking to a partner in speech and what reaction I would usually get. As an example, think about the tone of my voice and what feeling that tone engenders.
    4. Reflect on how my body language makes me feel, how I am feeling and if it’s wrong, modify it to show how I am feeling.
      Example: Think about the meaning of body language and what message I am sending and other behaviors.
    5. Think about how I am acting through an unbiased observer. This is a combination of # 3 and 4. Remember this includes oral communication, body language, and other behaviors.
    6. Remember that I don’t know everything. This can make someone seem superior and cocky. So superior + cocky + communication impairment concerns make a person hard to like.
    7. Consider both my perspective and the other’s perspective to make a better decision. Both parties need to participate equally in a conversation.
    8. Keep a person’s background in mind, how a person’s background can affect a person’s perspective on life. Example, make sure not to speak about politics and religion because there can be personal emotional opinions.
    9. Keep in mind that things that happen to me are farther away from me and not as important as things/people that are close to me.
      Example: make sure I am focused on the conversation and not on the background or things that can be distracting.
    10. Think about whether a person would be feeling if talking about something that they do not understand or care about and use that as a gauge for the length of a conversation.

When you read through this list you realize all of the things a person with a communication impairment must think about while talking. Obviously, someone with a speech and language disorder must work hard to communicate more clearly. We can help them by having a better understanding of how they must approach a conversation with us.

Photo credit: Russ Allison Loar Please Say Something via photopin (license).

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Jill Willcox
Jill Willcox has worked in various human resources positions over the past 16 years including as HR Manager, Benefits Consultant at Aon Hewitt and as a Health Service Representative, working with people who had catastrophic work injuries. She is the mother of two children who are talented and contribute to society in a very meaningful way.
Jill Willcox

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