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Your Well-being

Effective communication

New York Teacher

Communication is essential for building positive relationships at work. It fosters teamwork and collaboration, and it helps everyone to thrive.

But what are the building blocks of good communication?

Underlying all effective communication is trust and respect for one another. When working with colleagues, encourage everyone to practice open and honest communication.

Here are some pointers:

  • Practice active listening: Verbal and nonverbal communication skills are important. Listen without interrupting and ask open-ended questions when your colleague has finished speaking. Try to keep a neutral body posture and tone of voice and make eye contact when speaking and listening.
  • Be present and engaged: Put down your cell phone and show you are listening by acknowledging your colleague’s statements and responding calmly. Participate in the conversation.
  • Acknowledge everyone’s time and express gratitude: Whether you have resolved an issue or are still working on it, be mindful of everyone’s busy agenda and keep meetings to a reasonable length of time. Thank everyone for their contribution.
  • Keep written communication short and to the point: When there is a need for follow-up written communication, simplify your points.

For UFT members working in a school, effective communication with students is also essential. It sets the stage for a safe and positive environment in which students feel encouraged to share their thoughts and their learning stays on track.

Here are some tips for creating healthy and positive communication with students:

  • Provide positive feedback: By focusing on the positive, you encourage your students to share their thoughts and feelings. When negative feedback is needed, keep it short and respectful.
  • Understand your students’ perspectives: When you make an effort to see a situation from the student’s point of view, it will help prevent miscommunication and conflicts.
  • Encourage cooperation among students: Foster a respectful environment where teamwork is valued. Establish firm boundaries against bullying.

Call the UFT Member Assistance Program at 212-701-9620 to speak with a licensed clinician or email