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Focus on the other person.
Don’t move on to another subject until he or she is ready.
Maintain eye contact, speak slowly and clearly, and use words familiar to the person to promote better understanding.
Open-ended questions can’t be answered with a yes or no. “Do you like your room?” does not encourage the speaker to extend the conversation.
Instead ask, “I see pictures of children on your dresser — who are they?”
Provide sufficient time for a reply.
Pushing for an answer can feel threatening.
Be brief in your responses.
Help your loved one feel free to express himself or herself without being interrupted or cut short.
Provide encouraging statements that show you are taking in all that is said.
Allow time for silence and thought.
It's important for your loved one to be liked and supported, but even more important for him or her to be understood.
Being understood is the start of any good relationship — it leads to trust and feeling valued by others.