Communication Skills  - Full Guide

Communication Skills - Full Guide

Written By : Bakkah

15 Jan 2024

Table of Content

Understanding the Two Sides of a Story

It was said: "Before you blame others, walk a few steps in their shoes".

 That is a good piece of advice! But how can we do that?

How do we learn to see things from someone else's point of view so that we can better understand and interpret a person's thoughts and actions?

You don't need to walk in anyone's shoes, instead, you can learn to experience a situation through someone else's eyes. Try to understand other people’s stories and learn to change your perspective based on their views to improve your conversation.

Many areas are explored such as examining people’s intentions versus what they say, blaming each other, managing feelings, how people play games in conversations, and so on.

Each of these areas helps you acquire several skills to successfully lead a conversation towards a safer and more constructive exchange.

In a constructive conversation, both parties benefit from the time they spend communicating, learn something new from each other, and get to solve a problem in their world. Unfortunately, quick reaction to negative words or behaviors constantly pushes us towards having a “destructive” conversation.

Communication skills help you increase your awareness of these conversation-changing behaviors, and you will learn how to benefit from this awareness to control the direction of any conversation, thereby improving your relationship with others.

In addition, communication skills will show why certain conversations become unproductive and despite our effort tend to get nowhere. You will learn that to have a constructive conversation with others, you must see the world not only from your personal view but also from theirs. 

Leading an Emotionally Charged Conversation

In the workplace or in our personal lives, much of our time is spent in conversations with others. Some of these conversations may not go in the direction you like because of a variety of reasons such as misunderstanding, good or bad intentions, and so on.

To become good at these conversations you can use certain techniques to accurately understand “what happened” and manage your feelings and others.

How do We perceive the Surrounding World with a sense of Empathy?

To examine “what happened” you first need to examine the truth. However, there is a particular problem associated with this quest. In general, people tend to assume they are mainly right, and others are wrong.

It turns out that difficult conversations are not about getting the facts right, they are about interpretations, assumptions, and values. This is why understanding the truth becomes a critical part of such conversations.

Here is an illustration of how we perceive the world.

This suggests that we all see the world from different perspectives and accordingly interpret it differently. Hence, we end up with diverse stories without realizing that our stories are different from those of others.

Story Analysis Revolves Around Three Areas

To improve your communication skills and build an empathetic background when dealing with others, you need to learn that they might have different stories. When interacting with others, consider the following three areas:

  • Your Different Information

Arguing about the conclusions doesn’t get you anywhere. You need to go back all the way and look at the facts. Since you access the information differently, you may have various scenarios and interpretations.

  • Your Different interpretations

Even if you have the same information, you might interpret it in a dissimilar way to how others perceive the same info. A Classic Example to elaborate is: “A cup is half full or half empty.

  • Your biased opinion influences your conclusions

Your desire to win any conversation can drive you to push back any other opponent’s opinion. This might also urge you to impose a conclusion that’s beneficial to you.


To force yourself to consider other’s point of view, follow the next two common thoughts and replace them with thoughts that help you discover what they think:

  • How can they think like that?

 I am curious to know what information they have that I don’t”.

  • How can they be so irrational?

What information do they have that makes them end up thinking the way they do?”

Perceptual Positions with a Practical Example

The Perceptual Positions exercise is taken from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Its main purpose is to show you, in a structured way, how to see other people's points of view. It's a straightforward exercise that you can do in just a few minutes.

Here's a situation that would benefit from a perceptual positions exercise: imagine you're having trouble with your supervisor. He asked you to finish the report by the end of the day, so you get it done. However, when you hand the report to him, he is angry that you didn't finish another task he also gave you an hour later.

Situations like this can be frustrating. However, like most things in life, there are usually two sides to the story. A technique like perceptual positions can help you understand your supervisor's perspective so that you can both communicate with each other more constructively and work out a resolution.

In perceptual positions, there are three commonly used positions. Practice each position for just a minute: 

  • First position – This is you.
  • Second position – This is the other person involved in the situation (in this case, your supervisor).
  • Third position – This is an objective outsider, someone who has no connection with, or involvement in, the situation.


Every time you switch positions, take a quick break to free your mind of that role. Then write down what you learned from the exercise on a piece of paper to affirm your feelings and what you’ve learned from each situation. Then answer these questions: What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the other person? How do you want to move forward from here?


To conclude, when you take the time to answer such questions, you’re building common ground with others, dealing with empathy, leading successful conversations, and improving your communication skills. More tips on soft skills are upcoming. Stay tuned.