In the Zone

Basic Communication

Active listening

  • Communication is not just talking and waiting for your turn to do so. Engaging in both listening and talking allows for healthy communication to take place.
  • Be relatable. Practice perspective taking, by attempting to seek understanding and commonality.
  • Pay attention to context. Non-verbal cues are an essential part of communication. Being able to read others expressions as well as understanding the context can additionally help while communicating.
  • Make some eye contact. Eye contact during conversation shows attentiveness and interest. Similar to a conversation; it goes back and forth between those individuals. But remember, be sure not to stare.


  • Think before you speak. Most foot-in-mouth moments occur because of a failure to think before speaking. To avoid offending, don’t throw out statements filled with value-judgments.
  • Don’t interrupt. Interrupting the speaker in mid-sentence, is easy to avoid: just wait until the other has stopped talking before you start. Also, avoid more discrete interruptions such as derailing a person’s train of thought with your own “that reminds me” story.
  • Don’t one up or overshare. Being a “one upper” can make you a highly annoying conversationalist and inadvertently demolish a conversation. At the same time don’t pour out your life story or dig for someone else’s. In order not to repel others, respect their privacy as well as your own. 
  • Tailor conversation to the person. Make it easier on yourself by talking to others about what they are interested in (as well as maybe yourself) to avoid awkward silences. If you don’t know, check context clues (clothing items, surroundings etc.)
That One Person: The One Upper