Topic 9: Effective Communication Techniques


In the realm of support work, especially in medication assistance, effective communication stands as a critical skill. It’s about more than just conveying information; it involves building trust, showing empathy, and truly understanding the needs and concerns of your clients.

Key Components of Effective Communication

  • Active Listening: This means fully concentrating on, understanding, responding to, and remembering what a person is saying. It’s not just about hearing the words, but also about picking up on non-verbal cues and emotions (The 7 habits of Highly Effective People, 1989).
  • Empathy/Emotional Intelligence: This is the ability to put yourself in your client’s shoes, to understand and share their feelings and to be empathetic (Psychology Today, n.d.). It’s crucial in establishing a connection and making your clients feeling cared for.
  • Feedback: Providing feedback involves giving information about someone’s performance or understanding. It’s a two-way street: you provide feedback to clients, and you also need to be open to receiving it from them.

The Importance of These Skills in Medication Assistance

  1. Active Listening: This ensures you thoroughly understand the client’s needs, concerns, and feedback, leading to accurate medication administration and prompt resolution of any issues.
  2. Empathy: Demonstrating empathy towards a client’s medication concerns involves acknowledging their feelings, offering reassurance, and addressing their concerns without judgment.
  3. Feedback: Engage in a feedback loop where you confirm understanding of instructions or concerns, and provide clear, compassionate guidance.

Putting Communication Skills into Practice

  • Verbal Communication: Use clear, simple language. Avoid medical jargon when explaining medication schedules, dosages, and potential side effects.
  • Non-Verbal Communication: Pay attention to your body language, eye contact, and tone of voice. These can significantly impact how your message is received.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Be aware of your emotions and manage them effectively. This will help you to respond to the emotions of your client in a more thoughtful and empathetic manner.

Scenario-Based Example: Addressing Medication Fears

Ms. Davis, a client, is apprehensive about the side effects of a new medication she’s been prescribed. Here’s how you can address her concerns:

  1. Acknowledge and Validate: Start by acknowledging her fears. You might say, “I understand why this concerns you. It’s okay to feel apprehensive about a new medication.”
  2. Provide Information: Offer clear, factual information about the medication, focusing on the benefits and how it can help her condition. Also, discuss the rarity of serious side effects and the monitoring that will be in place.
  3. Encourage Questions: Invite her to ask questions and express her thoughts. This shows you value her input and are there to support her.
  4. Follow-Up: After she starts the medication, check in with her to see how she’s doing. This shows ongoing support and care for her well-being.


Covey, S. R. (1989). The seven habits of highly effective people: restoring the character ethic. New York, Simon and Schuster.
Psychology Today (n.d.), Emotional Intelligence, retrieved from


As a support worker, your ability to effectively communicate is vital in ensuring your clients feel supported and understood. Active listening, empathy, and clear feedback are key components of this skill. Remember, every interaction is an opportunity to build trust and foster a positive, supportive environment for your clients.