How self-awareness can help you communicate better

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How self-awareness can help you communicate better

With communication, greater self-awareness increases your effectiveness in communication, one‑on‑one as well as in groups, improving your interpersonal skills and making it possible to establish better human relationships. Here is how the Johari window can help you improve your communication.


JOHARI WINDOW What I know about myself What I don’t know about myself
What others know about me OPEN/FREE AREA BLIND AREA
What others do not know about me HIDDEN AREA UKNOWN AREA



Here is the meaning of the various quadrants:


  1. Open area: “Known to self, known to others.” This area represents all the information you share freely with those around you, such as your desires, expectations, fears and dreams. In addition, everything observable also appears in this area, including your physical characteristics and your dress.


  1. Blind area: “Unknown to self, known to others.” Information in this area is analogous to a piece of lettuce stuck on your teeth. It is the effect you unknowingly have on others. It is how others see you, and yet you are completely unaware of it. If only someone would tell you!


  1. Hidden area: “Known to self, unknown to others.” Certainly, it is not good to say everything. We must choose what we say, when we say it and to whom. However, it is useful to share some personal information, enabling people to better understand where you are coming from and what you want. Do not expect people to read your mind. State what you want, when it is important.


  1. Unknown area: “Unknown to self, unknown to others.” This is your hidden side; your inner painter or TV personality. People who lack experience, are not curious, do not have much faith in themselves and remain in their comfort zone can be characterised by a large unknown area. Exploring this area of potential can reveal dormant and underestimated skills and talents and encourages more learning and development of your full potential.

Every person who wants to grow to their full potential must work to increase the open area by decreasing the three other areas.

How? There are two approaches: self-awareness, or openness through feedback, and introspection.



Ask people whom you trust for regular feedback on specific points.

For example:

  • During this presentation, what were my strong points and what should I improve?
  • As a boss, what do you appreciate and what could I improve?
  • If you were describing me, what three characteristics would you use?
  • If I were to improve one of my communication behaviours, what would it be?




After a discussion that did not go well, ask yourself the following questions:


  • What was my intention for this exchange? To convince, recommend, influence, sell an idea, demonstrate my superiority, understand their point of view, get buy‑in, etc.?


  • How was I feeling before the exchange? (Frustrated, hurt, favourable)


  • What were the ideas, preconceived notions or concerns that I had with respect to this person or the subject?


  • At what moment did I notice that communication was difficult?


  • What were the signs (verbal and non-verbal)? Mine, theirs?


  • How did I react?
  • What part of the difficulty stays in my mind?
  • How could I have done things differently?


        • What am I learning from this situation?
  • About me?
  • About my reaction?
  • About the effects of my ideas?


        • Of my feelings?
  • What are the things that I will have to change next time in order to improve the situation?


The more we know ourselves, the more we can communicate in a manner that is constructive for ourselves and for others.


Pierrette Desrosiers,

Work Psychologist, professionnal speaker, author and business coach

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2020-03-23T17:50:51+00:00 February 19 2019|Communication|0 Comments

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