Better Communication Skills

Recently, I have been writing about the skill of reflective listening as an adjunct to bettering our communication with, and understanding of, others especially when the others may have different points of view.

Good listening is not easy. Bad news can be a heavy burden. Listening means overcoming roadblocks to effective communication and as such can often be an intense, demanding activity. However it fosters more rewarding relationships. Plus, you get better at it with practice and it becomes a natural way of engaging with others.

When you listen in a reflective way, the other person may feel safe enough to let their guard down a little more, allowing themselves to be vulnerable.

So it is vitally important not to be judgemental in those moments as you may hurt the other more than if you were judgmental from the start.

So, is there a time when it is not appropriate to listen in a reflective way?

Photo by Monstera on

Robert Bolton in his book suggests it is not the time to listen reflectively:

  • When you are not able to be accepting
  • When you do not trust the other to find their own solution
  • When you are not separate from the other and feel emotionally involved.
  • When you use listening as a way of hiding yourself – some never disclose anything of themselves, perhaps using reflective listening as a shield
  • When you feel very hassled or depleted
Photo by Sunsetoned on

I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” – G.K. Chesterton

An important thing to remember is that the person with the problem, is the best person to solve the problem. Often, we are so keen to jump in with what seems to us – a completely logical solution or suggestion. It is rarely taken on board. Robert Bolton explains why this is:

The other person has most of the data. No matter how effectively he discloses and I listen, the other will have more data on his situation than I can ever have.

The other person takes all the risks If the solution isn’t as good as it looked on the surface, the other must suffer the consequences.

The other must implement the solution.

The other’s confidence and sense of self-responsibility are strengthened when he makes and implements his own solution. He takes a significant step towards shaping his own destiny.. and.. he becomes less dependent on others for help

Robert Bolton, People Skills

Isn’t that what we are trying to achieve?

How to better shape our own destiny?


Quotes Challenge – Week 3

quotes Challenge
This is the final week of the Quotes Challenge wherein I listed 3 quotes and nominated three other bloggers to participate, with no obligations, of course.


“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”Bill Gates

graffitiart (Small)

I like the fact that Bill Gates turns this into a positive and not a negative. He almost welcomes criticism.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

–Charles Darwin


An interesting quote because it is a cliché that it evolution theory is “survival of the fittest” – whereas Darwin himself point out that may not be the fittest, but the most RESPONSIVE or adaptable to change. Change is an inevitable part of our dynamic world.

Those who resist change are seldom happy.

And the final quotes in this challenge, I feel is a controversial one. Do you agree with the comedian and writer, Spike Milligan?

“We are destroying childhood.” – Spike Milligan

The final three nominees, (by coincidence, all happen to be men), for this challenge are:

Oosterman Treats Blog


Fife’s Photos and Art

 Please also note that I dislike the term, “Rules,” and so have also customized this aspect of the challenge.

Quotes Challenge Rules – Guidelines



The rules  guidelines are simple:

  • Post three different quotes on consecutive days/weeks. They can be from any source, or your own.  All three quotes can be of a similar theme or can all be completely different/unconnected
  • I am going to post three quotes on each of the three posts, one post per week, but that is my variation on this challenge
  • Nominate 3 people for the challenge.  [ In doing this, I just wish to highlight their blog and place no pressure nor expectation that they need to accept or pass on the challenge.
  • N.B. My variation is that I am going to incrementally nominate bloggers for this challenge, but do not feel bound to follow my example.]

Previous weeks of this challenge:

Quotes Challenge – Week 1

Quotes challenge – Week 2


Quotes give us profound words to Ponder About