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Dr. David Burns teaches the 5 most important skills of communication that can improve the most mudane conversations to the most important ones. (See:

For greater skill in communicating with others try the following. These skills take practice to apply. If needed seek help from others, such as a professional counselor in developing these skills.

  • E = EmpathyThe Disarming Technique: You find truth in what the other person is saying, even if it seems illogical, self-serving, distorted, or just plain “wrong.”Thought and Feeling Empathy: You summarize what the other person just said (Thought Empathy) and acknowledge how he or she is probably feeling, given what he or she just said (Feeling Empathy) Inquiry: You as gentle, probing questions to learn more about what the other person is thinking and feeling.

  • A = Assertiveness“I Feel” Statements: You express your own feelings and ideas openly according to the formula, “I’m feeling X, Y, and Z right now,” where are X, Y and Z refer to any of a wide variety of feeling words, such as anxious, attacked, hurt, or sad.

  • R = RespectAffirmation: You convey warmth, caring and respect, even in the heat of battle

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