• Communication Skills

Communication Skills

Effective communication is key in building strong relationships and navigating challenges in life. Learn how to navigate your emotions, express your needs, set boundaries and foster a healthy connection with others. Develop the skills to unleash the power of language and strengthen the foundations of your personal and professional interactions.  

Building effective communication skills

Building effective communication skills

Communication takes many forms: written, spoken, sung, or through art, body language and facial expressions. As the cornerstone of our relationships, communication skills are one of the most important skills to develop, but it can also be incredibly difficult to navigate the nuances of communication, express our needs, uphold boundaries, or communicate while in an emotional state. A psychologist can help you develop effective communication skills, and enhance your social wellbeing and sense of belonging.

Communication benefits many parts of your life


Communication is the cornerstone of healthy and fulfilling romantic relationships. Open and honest communication allows partners to express their needs, desires, and concerns, which fosters emotional intimacy, trust, and understanding between partners.


Communication with family members can be difficult. You may wish to have more open and honest communication, or enforce boundaries. Learning to communicate effectively allows you to feel respected, secure, and gives you the ability to express your emotions and resolve conflicts constructively.


Good communication skills are often sought after by employers, as they facilitate teamwork, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. Effective communication helps convey ideas, collaborate with colleagues, and build professional relationships.


 Effective communication skills, such as active listening and empathy, help to build and maintain friendships. Communiation allows people to connect, share experiences, and provide support to one another, which in turn fosters a sense of belonging and strengthens social bonds within a circle of friends.


Regular communication helps parents understand their children's needs, concerns, and what they may going through. These skills help children to express themselves and resolve conflicts, and an open path of communication can help you both feel supported and heard, nurture emotional bonds, provide guidance, and foster a sense of security. 


Your body language, facial expressions, and verbal communication are all signals that people in public are reading, and using to inform their interactions with you. Improving your non-verbal communication may develop more pleasant social interactions, and give you the confidence to communicate and establish rapport or even friendships.

Understanding how you communicate

Understanding how you communicate

There are many diverse ways individuals express themselves, convey messages, and interact with others, and these behaviours are largely based on what we have learned from the world around us, our cultural background or upbringing, and the situational context.

Effective communication is characterised by clarity, active listening, empathy, respect, assertiveness, adaptability, and a focus on problem-solving. In cultivating these skills and behaviours, you can facilitate clear understanding, mutual respect, and positive outcomes in your interactions with others.

Improve communication with a psychologist

A psychologist can help you improve your communication by identifying ineffective communication strategies or gaps in communication skill sets, focusing on exploring your existing strengths and what skills you have been able to use in the past, setting goals, and sharing new strategies to help you move forward.

Verbal communication

Identify and address barriers to effective verbal communication, such as social anxiety or difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques can help challenge and reframe negative beliefs or self-doubt related to verbal communication, promoting confidence and self-expression.

Body language

Become more aware of your non-verbal communication patterns and their impact on interpersonal interactions, such as facial expressions, gestures, posture, and eye contact. Learn to recognise and regulate body language to convey messages more effectively.

Online communication

Online communication lacks the nuances of face-to-face interaction, making clarity essential. Clear and concise messaging is essential to ensure that your intended meaning is accurately conveyed, minimising misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Available psychologists who can help with communication skills


What does effective communication look like?

Effective communication is characterised by clarity, active listening, empathy, respect, assertiveness, adaptability, and a focus on problem-solving and positive relationships. By cultivating these skills and behaviours, you can facilitate clear understanding, mutual respect, and positive outcomes in interactions with others.

  • Clarity: Communication is clear and easy to understand. Messages are expressed in a straightforward manner, using concise language and avoid ambiguity or confusion.
  • Active listening: You actively listen to others, paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues. You demonstrate empathy, show genuine interest in the speaker's perspective, and seek clarification when needed.
  • Empathy: You validate the emotions of others, acknowledge their perspective, and respond with compassion and understanding. You are able to understand and relate to the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of others.
  • Respect: You are respectful of others' opinions, beliefs, and boundaries. Other people are treated with dignity and courtesy, and you refrain from judgment and criticism.
  • Assertiveness: You are able to advocate for your own thoughts, feelings, and needs with confidence. You respect other peoples' boundaries, and avoid being aggressive or passive.
  • Feedback: You provide specific, actionable feedback in a respectful manner, focusing on behaviours rather than character traits. You are also open to receiving feedback from others, viewing it as an opportunity for growth and improvement.
  • Adaptability: You adapt your communication style to fit the needs of the situation and the preferences of the individuals involved. You are flexible in your approach, adjusting your tone, language, and behaviour to build understanding and rapport.
  • Non-verbal communication: You pay attention to body language, facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice, ensuring that your non-verbal signals are congruent with verbal messages.
  • Problem-solving: Effective communication facilitates problem-solving and conflict resolution. You work collaboratively to identify issues, explore solutions, and reach mutually beneficial outcomes through open dialogue and negotiation.

How do I successfully set boundaries?

In order to set effective boundaries, you need to first identify your needs, understand the values that drive them, and confidently communicate your expectations to others. 

Setting boundaries is an ongoing process, and it's okay to adjust them as needed, based on changes in your circumstances or relationships. By setting boundaries effectively, you can create healthier, more fulfilling relationships and cultivate greater self-respect and self-care.

  • Identify your boundaries: Take some time to reflect on your values, priorities, and personal limits. Determine what behaviours, actions, or interactions are acceptable to you and where you feel uncomfortable or compromised.
  • Communicate confidently: Use assertive communication to express your needs and boundaries clearly, directly, and respectfully. Use "I" statements to communicate how you feel and what you need, without blaming or criticising others.
  • Be specific: Use clear and unambiguous language to convey what behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable to you, and provide specific examples if necessary. Avoid vague or ambiguous language, and don't feel the need to apologise or justify your boundaries.
  • Set consequences: What happens if your boundaries are violated? Establish consequences that you are confident you can follow through on if needed, and communicate them clearly. This may sound harsh, but consequences help to reinforce your boundaries and encourage others to respect them.
  • Be consistent: Consistency is key to maintaining boundaries over time. Be consistent in enforcing your boundaries across different situations and with different people - his helps establish clear expectations and reinforces your credibility.
  • Respect others' boundaries: Just as you expect others to respect your boundaries, it's important to respect the boundaries of others. Listen actively, acknowledge their needs and preferences, and avoid pressuring or manipulating them to violate their boundaries.
  • Find support: If you're struggling to set or maintain boundaries, consider seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist. They can provide encouragement, guidance, and perspective as you navigate boundary-setting in your relationships.
  • Be kind to yourself: Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially if you're not used to prioritising your own needs. Be patient with yourself and practice self-compassion as you work to establish and enforce boundaries that support your well-being.

What different communication styles are there?

  • Assertive communication: Assertive communicators are clear, honest, and straightforward and they are able to advocate for themselves without being aggressive or passive. They express their thoughts, feelings, and needs directly and confidently, actively listen to others, express empathy, and are solution-oriented during conflict.
  • Passive communication: Passive communicators tend to avoid conflict and confrontation by minimising their own needs and deferring to others' preferences. You may be a passive communicator or "people pleaser" if you struggle to express your opinions, assert boundaries, or ask for what you want, often fearing rejection or disapproval, or feeling the need to apologise for yourself.
  • Aggressive communication: You may be an aggressive communicator if you find it easy to assert your needs and opinions, while disregarding others' feelings or perspectives. You may feel that your way is the "right way" and feel frustrated that others don't see things the same.
  • Aggressive communicators may use hostile or intimidating language, raise their voice, or engage in personal attacks to dominate or control conversations.They often prioritise their own agenda or desires over collaborative problem-solving and may disregard the perspectives or emotions of others.
  • Passive-aggressive communication: Passive-aggressive communicators express themselves indirectly, often through subtle sarcasm, backhanded compliments, or passive resistance. They may appear compliant on the surface but express their frustration or dissatisfaction through passive means, such as procrastination, sulking, or gossiping. This can create confusion and tension in relationships, as underlying issues are not addressed openly.
  • Transactional communication: Transactional communicators tend to be pragmatic and goal-oriented, with less emphasis on building rapport or addressing underlying emotions. They may prioritise achieving specific goals or outcomes in social interactions, over emotional expression.
  • Emotionally intelligent communication: Emotionally intelligent communicators are attuned to their own emotions and those of others, and adapting their communication to foster understanding, connection, and mutual respect. They are self-aware, empathetic, and look to build positive relationships and resolve conflicts.

It's important to know that people often fall into many camps when it comes to communication styles, shifting between different styles depending upon different situations, relationships, or emotional state of mind. Being an "Aggressive" or "Transactional" communicator is not necessarily a negative connotation, and being adaptable is a valuable skill in effective interpersonal communication.

Do people usually just have one communication style?

People tend to exhibit a combination of communication styles depending on the situation, context, and other people involved. These can be fluid, influenced by factors such as personality, cultural background, upbringing, past experiences, and current circumstances.

  • Contextual factors: Different situations call for different communication styles. For example, a person may use a more assertive style in a professional setting to convey confidence and leadership, while adopting a more empathetic and supportive style in personal relationships to foster intimacy and understanding.
  • Interpersonal dynamics: Communication styles can vary based on the dynamics between individuals. You may adopt a more passive style when interacting with authority figures or in situations where you feel less confident, while using a more assertive or collaborative style with colleagues or people working under you.
  • Cultural influences: Cultural norms and values can shape communication styles, with some cultures emphasising directness and assertiveness, while others prioritise harmony and indirect communication.
  • Adaptive behaviours: People may adapt their communication style to achieve specific goals or outcomes in a given situation. For example, they may adopt a more persuasive or diplomatic style when negotiating, or a more supportive and comforting style when providing emotional support to a friend in need.

What clients say about My Mirror

06 April 2023

So grateful

I am so grateful for my psychologist from My Mirror, and having my psychologist available via telehealth has been so much more beneficial for my mental health. Being able to be seen, heard and listened to rather than waiting so long on a waitlist has been a godsend.

03 May 2023

Fantastic experience

Having been initially sceptical, my overall experience with My Mirror has been fantastic. My Mirror matched and connected me with a psychologist who simply “got” me from the very beginning. I cannot recommend this service enough.

05 January 2024

Big tick

I'm one of those people who doesn't enjoy going out of my home or talking to a doctor, let alone a psychologist. Without My Mirror and the services they provide I would most likely neglect seeking help, so it's a big tick from me for these guys.

18 January 2024

What we need

One of the best online platforms I have ever used. The simplicity of the bulk billing system, rebates and the selection of well educated clinical psychologists is what we need. Couldn't of found a better website. 🙌


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