How To Improve Communication

There is an interesting method of speaking with others that really helps when people seem to be talking past each other, or simply not understanding and validating each other's point. It is called the Imago Dialogue. This method of communicating with single women, friends, partner, spouse, wife, or husband, or couples, really helps to get on the same page so that both sides feel heard and understood. Some parts of the method are not new, and has merit. My partner and I tried it, and found that, although it feels weird starting out, it works. And, the Imago Dialog becomes easier to use with practice. It feels more natural to understand what my partner is communicating to me. The official Imago Dialog can be found at

The Imago Dialog - Three Main Steps

There are 3 main steps to the Imago Dialogue:

  1. Mirroring
  2. Validation
  3. Empathy

Let’s take them one at a time.


In the Mirroring step, when your partner pauses, or perhaps when you have asked them to pause, you will repeat back everything you heard them say. You may paraphrase, but you will mirror without analyzing, critiquing, modifying or responding.
How to Mirror: "If I got it, I think you said ..." or "So you’re saying ..."
Ask if there is more: "Is there more?" or "Tell me more."


Once the Sender says there is "no more", the Receiver will attempt to validate what the Sender has said by letting the Sender if what they have been saying is making logical sense to the Receiver. If it does not, the Receiver will simply share what does make sense, then ask the Sender to say more about the parts that do not yet make sense.
How to Validate: "You make sense to me because ..." or
"That makes sense, I can see where…"
Ask for clarification: "This part (X) makes sense, but help me understand, can you say more about ...?"


In the final step, Empathy, the Receiver takes a guess as to what they imagine the Sender might be feeling with regard to what they have been saying. If the Sender has already said how they feel, then the Receiver can simply reflect this back once more. If, however, the Receiver can think of an additional way their partner might be feeling, this is where they can add that.
When sending empathy, it is fine to say something such as: "I can imagine you feel like ...,". (you’re the only one working on our relationship)." However, it’s important to know that once the word "like" comes into play, what’s being expressed is a thought, not a feeling. The best way we have come to distinguish the difference between a thought and a feeling, is that a feeling can generally be described in one or two words. Try to include some descriptive words, like happy, excited, safe, cared for, hurt, frustrated, or scared. Doing so, especially when you are lucky enough to hit the proverbial nail on the head, will often bring a look of recognition and joy to your partner’s face faster than anything else you could say.
How to Empathize: "I can imagine you might be feeling ..."
Check it Out: "Is that how you feel?"


Now that the Sender has said all they have to say and the Receiver has mirrored, validated and empathized, the whole process reverses. The Receiver now gets their turn to respond with whatever came up for them while the first partner was sending and the Sender shifts into being the new Receiver who does the mirroring.