Comms Lab: The Micro Skills

Comms Lab: Episode 18

Communication Skills for Difficult Conversations – The Actual Skills.

This video is designed to be a user-friendly, indexed toolbox of communication skills for difficult conversations.

Each micro skill is labelled in the timeline and also in the index below. Feel free to navigate directly to the skill you want to review for a succinct definition and one or two examples.


TimeNo.Microskill (with Comms Lab links)
0:511Establish the Shared Agenda
2:272Open Questions
2:493Closed Questions
3:284Other types of Questions
3:364aScreening Questions
3:414bClarifying Questions
3:534cHypothetical Questions
4:054dPrioritising Questions
4:104eExploring Questions
4:145ICE
Ideas, Concerns, Expectations
4:476Signposting
5:046aStandard Signpost
5:096bWarning Shot
5:156cAsking Permission
5:206dParking until Later
5:387Summarising
6:188Paraphrasing
6:379Shared Thinking
7:0110NNURSES
Skills for Responding to Emotion
7:1110aName the Emotion
7:1510bNormalising for the population
7:2410cUnderstand the Driver
7:3110dRespect, Praise, Appreciation
7:3910eSupportive statements
7:4510fExplore the story
7:5010gSilence
8:0011Chunk & Check
9:4812Teachback


Further Links

Cite this article as: Hayden Richards, "Comms Lab: The Micro Skills," In: LITFL - Life in the FastLane, Accessed on January 26, 2022, https://litfl.com/comms-lab-the-micro-skills/.

Comms Lab

A path to highly effective communication skills

Hayden is an emergency physician at University Hospital Geelong and a senior lecturer at Deakin University, Geelong. He is somewhat obsessed with the science and art of effective communication, and in particular: difficult conversations. He believes that we can all get better at having difficult conversations, and that the process of learning to do so can be seriously fun.

Hayden is also an avid but terrible surfer, ad hoc gardener, and dad to two awesome kids.

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