Communication is Key: 6 Tools for Good Communication

Claudia Aronowitz

We need positive connections with others in order to feel happy and fulfilled, but relationships can be complicated. How can we improve our personal and professional relationships? Communication is key.


As a leadership and communication coach I spend my days exploring the many different tools we have to better communicate with others. Good communication can be learned and adapted to our personalities and the personalities of the people in our lives.

Here are six of my favourite tools: 


1. The Platinum Rule

You have probably heard of the golden rule, which tells us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Philosophically that is true, but in interpersonal relationships, I much prefer the platinum rule. It says: 


This is so simple but so important in all areas of our lives. I have been married for 30 years and for the first ten years of our marriage my husband and I would argue about our birthdays. I love my birthday. I love being queen for a day and celebrating as much as possible. My husband, however, cares very little about birthdays and a morning congratulations and a cake is more than enough for him.

For ten years I tried to create the best birthday for him only to receive a small thank you, and for ten years I would be disappointed on my birthday that he did not care enough to make my day special. Then we started applying the platinum rule. I now do very little for his birthday and he is always happy and I ask very specifically for what I want for my birthday and always receive it and have a wonderful day. 

We are all different. We process information differently and different things trigger us. It is important to try to understand the other person’s perspective in order to create the impact that we want. 


2. Silence  

Silence is a wonderful tool to create meaningful conversations.

I am not talking about hours of silence or giving the cold shoulder. I am suggesting pausing for a few seconds of silence after you ask a question.

We tend to dislike silence. We ask a question and as the other person thinks about their answer we start asking the next question or offering a solution to cover what we feel is an awkward silence. We need to ask a question and then keep silent, giving the other person time to think about what they want to say and how much they are willing to share. 

Silence shows that you are present and interested. This can be hard to do at first. As I was working on this new skill I would move my hand over my mouth to remind me to zip it and wait. I was amazed how much more enriching conversations became once I started doing this.

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3. Use AND 

As many of you may know, AND is my favourite word in the dictionary. It offers expansion and freedom. 

Pay attention to how many times you are using the word BUT (it’s more than you  think) and try to use the word AND instead. The word BUT immediately negates all the good that came before, while AND is an expansion of what was said before.

If you are already aware of how many times you use the word BUT, pay attention to when you are saying the words ALWAYS and NEVER. Move away from those words as well, because there is little the other person can do with them. The words AND and SOMETIMES, on the contrary, permit us to want to change.

4. Acknowledgment 

If there is a gift that we can give others when communicating with them, it is to make them feel acknowledged and heard. We all need to feel seen!

Acknowledging the other person by PARAPHRASING what they said and by asking QUESTIONS demonstrates to them that we are listening and want to understand. Stopping to acknowledge what we heard also prevents us from giving advice or offering solutions too quickly.

Remember that acknowledging what the other person is saying DOES NOT mean that you agree with them. You are trying to understand it from their perspective and thanking them for sharing it with you, despite the fact that you have a different perspective. This helps the other person feel listened to, which is a very powerful connector.

5. Make clear requests  

My clients frequently say that they want to feel acknowledged and respected. When I ask them what specific action or behaviour the other person has to do for them to feel that way, they often admit that they don’t know.  

In relationships we need to ask for what we need, which means we need to know ourselves and do our own personal work, and then ask with clarity and specificity. The other person does not know what we need.

6. Appreciation

Appreciation enriches all relationships. It is easy to do and it costs nothing.

I encourage you to show your appreciation often. Appreciation is most effective when you say what specific behaviour you are talking about, how that made you feel and then offer the actual thank you. Try it often!


We need positive connections with others in order to feel happy and fulfilled. These are six simple concepts that can be used in all of our relationships. They are easy to do and they can make a huge difference.


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About Claudia Aronowitz
As a highly trained, certified coach and mediator, I take pride in helping others find clarity and acceptance of who they are. I will propel you to move forward into taking responsibility and leadership of your life and relationships—both personal and professional. With compassion and a straightforward approach, I will help you discover new insight and uncover opportunities to use your unique voice. From there you can create the life and relationships that you desire and find fulfillment and joy in life’s challenging journey. Learn More About Claudia >>

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