Communication Skills Reflection Essay

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Lots of people thinks that they know themselves very well; they have a right way of communication, they know how to listen and respond to others, even emotional intelligence. Is this what you thought? I did. However after I have done my observe behavior interview to my friends, I believe that self-reflection is important to everyone to understand and improve our own communication styles. For this report I will be studying the key communication concepts and analyses the responses and develop actions for improvement to my self. I will start with the explanations and identities of my personal style within listening and responding & Emotional Intelligence as well as make some references to these communication…show more content…

In order to effectively communicate with others one have to know communicate with one’s self at first. Within all of our communication activities, listening and responding is perhaps the one we use the most amount of our interpersonal communication skills in our daily life. According to Collins and Rourke (2009) in our general life there are about 8.5% people use communication time at writing, 13.3% reading, 23.0%speaking and 55.0% listening. Also Ballantine (1999) presents that if parents tell their children about the ideals and beliefs, their relationship and communication skills are improved. The successful listening and responding of children and the parents would be included, who is the talker, is that effectively way to communicate with the children what is want to tell them, in a way that they will understand and respond. Therefore I believe that listening and responding is always described as a significant dimension to have a successfully communication in our daily life, such as to explain family relationship issues or human emotional expressing, it seems as a necessary ability in close, individual and professional relationships of all ages. However, interpersonal communication involved in lots of fields so that in different point of view of Collins and Rourke (2009), (Bodie, 2009) believes that listening and responding uses in social and business communicating as well. Social support demonstrates listening and responding

However good you think your listening skills are, the only person who can tell you if you have understood correctly or not is the speaker.  Therefore, as an extension of good listening skills, you need to develop the ability to reflect words and feelings and to clarify that you have understood them correctly. 

It is often important that you and the speaker agree that what you understand is a true representation of what was meant to be said.

As well as understanding and reflecting the verbal messages of the speaker it is important to try to understand the emotions - this page explains how to use reflection effectively to help you build greater understanding of not only what is being said but the content, feeling and meaning of messages.

What is Reflecting?

Reflecting is the process of paraphrasing and restating both the feelings and words of the speaker.  The purposes of reflecting are:

  • To allow the speaker to 'hear' their own thoughts and to focus on what they say and feel.
  • To show the speaker that you are trying to perceive the world as they see it and that you are doing your best to understand their messages.
  • To encourage them to continue talking.

Reflecting does not involve you asking questions, introducing a new topic or leading the conversation in another direction.  Speakers are helped through reflecting as it not only allows them to feel understood, but it also gives them the opportunity to focus their ideas.  This in turn helps them to direct their thoughts and further encourages them to continue speaking.

Two Main Techniques of Reflecting:


Mirroring is a simple form of reflecting and involves repeating almost exactly what the speaker says. 

Mirroring should be short and simple.  It is usually enough to just repeat key words or the last few words spoken.  This shows you are trying to understand the speakers terms of reference and acts as a prompt for him or her to continue. Be aware not to over mirror as this can become irritating and therefore a distraction from the message.


Paraphrasing involves using other words to reflect what the speaker has said.  Paraphrasing shows not only that you are listening, but that you are attempting to understand what the speaker is saying. 

It is often the case that people 'hear what they expect to hear' due to assumptions, stereotyping or prejudices.  When paraphrasing, it is of utmost importance that you do not introduce your own ideas or question the speakers thoughts, feelings or actions.  Your responses should be non-directive and non-judgemental.

It is very difficult to resist the temptation to ask questions and when this technique is first used, reflecting can seem very stilted and unnatural. You need to practice this skill in order to feel comfortable.

Reflecting Content, Feeling and Meaning

The most immediate part of a speaker's message is the content, in other words those aspects dealing with information, actions, events and experience, as verbalised by them.

Reflecting content helps to give focus to the situation but, at the same time, it is also essential to reflect the feelings and emotions expressed in order to more fully understand the message.

This helps the speaker to own and accept their own feelings, for quite often a speaker may talk about them as though they belong to someone else, for example using “you feel guilty” rather than “I feel guilty.”

A skilled listener will be able to reflect a speaker's feelings from body cues (non-verbal) as well as verbal messages. It is sometimes not appropriate to ask such direct questions as “How does that make you feel?”  Strong emotions such as love and hate are easy to identify, whereas feelings such as affection, guilt and confusion are much more subtle.  The listener must have the ability to identify such feelings both from the words and the non-verbal cues, for example body language, tone of voice, etc.

As well as considering which emotions the speaker is feeling, the listener needs to reflect the degree of intensity of these emotions.  For example:

“You feela little bitsad/angry?”
“You feelquitehelpless/depressed?”
“You feelverystressed?”
“You feelextremelyembarrassed?”

Reflecting needs to combine content and feeling to truly reflect the meaning of what the speaker has said.  For example:


“I just don't understand my boss.  One minute he says one thing and the next minute he says the opposite.”


“You feel very confused by him?”

Reflecting meaning allows the listener to reflect the speaker's experiences and emotional response to those experiences.  It links the content and feeling components of what the speaker has said.

You may also be interested in our pages: What is Empathy? and Understanding Others.

Guidelines for Reflecting

  • Be natural.
  • Listen for the basic message - consider the content, feeling and meaning expressed by the speaker.
  • Restate what you have been told in simple terms.
  • When restating, look for non-verbal as well as verbal cues that confirm or deny the accuracy of your paraphrasing.  (Note that some speakers may pretend you have got it right because they feel unable to assert themselves and disagree with you.)
  • Do not question the speaker unnecessarily.
  • Do not add to the speaker's meaning.
  • Do not take the speaker's topic in a new direction.
  • Always be non-directive and non-judgemental.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

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