Career and Life Coaching
It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It
By Marielys Camacho-Reyes
Oct 30, 2011 - 9:51:44 PM

LOS ANGELES—Verbal and non-verbal communication is found in every single aspect of human interaction. It is well documented that good and effective communication is considered an essential key in creating excellent relationships, and at the same time, one of the most important interpersonal skills an individual can possess. Unfortunately, when people practice non-effective communication, they can easily create a sense of distrust, discomfort and uncertainty in their personal and professional relationships.


Think back to the last time you had a misunderstanding at work, in public, or with a loved one.

I certainly remember my last one like it happened yesterday. I was on my way to pay for my groceries at a convenience store, and when I was about to start putting the items on the cashier table, the sales clerk yelled at me to let me know that the line was closed. I was surprised with the tone of voice she was using toward me and went and complained to the manager.

When the woman came back to apologize, she said, “I do not apologize for what I said because obviously the line was closed, but I do apologize for the way I said it; it was rude, out of place, and I promise you, it won’t happen again.” At first, I was upset and was not quite listening to what she had to say, but her words got stuck in my head and I found myself repeating all day, “It's not what you say, it's how you say it.”

That incident made me think about the importance of good communication skills not only in the workplace but also in our daily activities.

Practicing effective communication in all aspects of our lives helps us create better relationships, promotes better career and life opportunities and can increase self-confidence and self-awareness. It is important to understand that the ways we communicate with others have a big impact not only in our own professional careers or personal lives but also in the lives of those around us. In other words, developing excellent communication skills can increase our chances of developing better personal relationships and can help us become successful individuals.

Here are some tips to practice effective communication:

1) Think before you speak: Make sure what you are about to say is the real message you want to transmit.

2) Be honest: Say what you mean, and at the same time, mean what you say.

3) Listen: Effective communication also applies to the listening part. Practice active listening in all your verbal and non-verbal communications.

4) Ask questions: By asking questions, you will make sure the message was transmitted effectively and successfully and will also avoid assumptions or misunderstandings.

5) Respect opinions: Respecting other people’s opinion not only will promote effective communication, but it will also create a healthy and peaceful environment.

Excellent and effective communication are not “hard to learn” skills. It only requires the willingness of the sender to transmit a concise, effective and valuable message and the ability of the receiver to practice active listening to be able to effectively understand the message.

One last thought; the next time you need to transmit a message remember, “it is not what you say, it is how you say it.”

About the Author:

Marielys Camacho-Reyes is a career/life coach with more than 10 years of experience in the human resources field and with human relationships. If you would like to receive a one-time free coaching session, visit her website at or email her at

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