The do’s and don’ts of good advocacy

There are effective ways to communicate what you want to people so they are most likely to listen to your views and wishes. Here are some of our do’s and don’ts for effective communication.

Do...

Show positive body language

50% of our communication isn’t about what we say but what people pick up from us. This includes body language. So, be aware that the way you hold your body (things like crossing your arms, not looking at someone, looking alert and interested) will be sending signals to the other person.

Think before you speak

Before you say something, it’s worth considering how it might affect the other person.

Try active listening

Active listening means really focusing on what someone is saying. Doing it is a skill. It helps you better understand what people are trying to communicate to you and shows that you’re listening for real. This tells a person that what they are saying is important to you.

Stick to the point

Try to stick to the topic of discussion if you can.

Try to stay confident

You are entitled to your view, especially when decisions are being made about you. So, believing in what you are saying will help make it come across confidently.

Be open to feedback

Communication is a two-way thing. We can all find feedback challenging sometimes, but we can also learn by listening and thinking about what we’re being told. If someone says they don’t understand you, perhaps consider how you could express what you’re saying differently. Equally, if you don’t understand what someone is telling you, don’t be worried about asking them to explain it differently – perhaps slower or in more simple language.

Think about your tone

It’s worth thinking about the way you’re about to speak before you start – especially if you’re upset or responding to something you don’t agree with. Being too assertive or blunt can result in the other person responding in the same way.


Don’t...

Interrupt people

It can be rude to interrupt a person while they’re speaking. If you feel you have to interrupt someone, try to do it politely. Say “excuse me”, and ask the person if you can interrupt. It’s best to only do this when whatever you want to say is really important and you can’t wait for the other person to finish what they’re saying first.

Be confrontational or abusive

It can be easy to get angry if you feel someone isn’t listening to you. Or, perhaps you feel defensive because you think what someone is saying is wrong. Try to listen to what is being said and respond calmly. Shouting over other people will not mean your point of view is heard.

 

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