Nuances of Interpersonal Effectiveness, #1: Really Respect the Other Person

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 20, Issue No. 2a
June 1, 2021

By Dan Coughlin


Sometimes it is so easy to communicate well with another person, and sometimes it is almost impossible.

It often comes down to what is going on inside of your mind rather than what the other person is doing or saying. That might be a hard pill to swallow so if it makes you feel any better I’m in the same boat as you might be in.

When I respect a person, I can laugh and lighten up. I can trust the other person. I can really listen without any attachments, otherwise known as emotional baggage, of what I think the other person might be thinking.

Realize the Difference

Think of a person whom you do a really good job of communicating with. Now write down how you feel about that person. As you are thinking about the person just write down words that describe your feelings toward that person.

Think of a person whom you find it very, very difficult to communicate with. Now write down how you feel about that person.

Do you notice how differently you feel about these two different people?

Without the other person saying a word, you are walking into a conversation that is likely going to go well or poorly based on how you feel about the other person.

Suggestion on Preparing for a Conversation

Here is my suggestion. For any on-going communication that you will need to have in your life that you have found to be very difficult in the past, write down the name of the person, and then write down things you admire about the person. Keep pushing yourself to find positives and admirable traits about the person. Don’t write down what you don’t like or respect about the person. Just write down what you respect about him or her.

Read over your list a few times before every interaction with that person. The goal is to communicate effectively with this other person. With a lot of people, you have no problem being respectful and communicating well with them. However, for those few people in your life that you don’t respect and yet still have to communicate with, I encourage you to proactively shift your thoughts about the person before you get into another conversation with them.

Your internal attitude about the person can dramatically affect your ability to communicate effectively with them. The good news is you can impact your attitude about the person, and this enhanced attitude can lead to better conversations.

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

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