All of us can use a little refresher in our communication skills, especially when it comes to maintaining a strong romantic relationship. Harville Hendrix and Helen Kelly-Hunt, founders of Imago Therapy, created the following “Relational Competency Index (RCI)” which is a self-scoring assessment you can take to identify areas of strength and growth in your dialogue with others.
According to Dr. Hendrix: “To be fully competent in the use of the Imago Dialogue in your daily conversations, each score should be a 10. You can develop and increase your competency by reading the sentence describing the expression of each competency and practicing each competency with another person, in your daily conversation or in the full dialogue process.”
For more information about the Imago Dialogue process, click here.
To assess your own Relational Competency, fill in the chart below.
Read each competency, description and illustration and rate yourself (or your partner) from 1-10 with 10 being the highest score (i.e. I achieve that 100% of the time). A perfect total score = 240.
|When I want to talk with someone, in a warm voice tone, I check out whether they are available to listen at that time.
|“Is now a good time to talk about a feeling I have?”
|When I want to talk and the person is not available at that time, I gently ask them to tell me when they are available and to let me know when that time comes.
|“When would be a good time? And would you please come find me when the time comes?”
|When someone is available to listen to me, I express appreciation for his or her attention.
|“Thank you for being available to hear what I want to say.”
|When someone wants to talk to me but I am not available at that time, I gently say when I can be available and I initiate the conversation at the time I give
|“I am not available right now, but I will be available in …. (minutes, hours, days)”
|When I am available, in a warm tone of voice I let them know I am available.
|“I am available now”
|Before I start talking or listening, I make eye contact and take a deep breath to relax and calm myself
|My intention is to stay connected to you while I am talking / listening (body language, breathing)
|When someone says they are available to listen, I share an appreciation I have about them before I start talking.
|“I have an appreciation for you that I want to share. My appreciation is that when I see you do…OR hear you say…I really appreciate that.”
|When I speak with anyone, I start all my sentences with “I” rather than “you”.
|“Recently, I have been feeling…and I am curious about what you are thinking.” (vs “you never”)
|When I am talking, I describe my thoughts and feelings rather than describing the person who is listening.
|“Sometimes I think I….and when I think that I feel….” (vs “you are”)
|After the person who is talking finishes their first few sentences, I ask if I can mirror what I heard.
|“Let me see if I am getting you. If I understand, you said ………”
|After I mirror what I heard the other person say, I check with them to see if I got it accurately.
|“Did I get that?” or “Did I get you accurately?”
|If they indicate I missed something, I ask them to send the part I missed again.
|“Would you restate the part I missed again?”
|When someone is talking to me and I get distracted or on overload, and can’t listen anymore, I raise my had and ask them to pause so I can mirror back what I heard so far, and then ask them to continue.
|Raises hand and says, “I would like to mirror what I have gotten so far. If I got it, you said….”
|When the person I am listening to pauses, I ask them if they have more to say on the topic.
|“Is there more about that?”
|When someone has finished speaking, I summarize what I heard.
|“Let me see if I got everything you said. You said …..”
|When I summarize what I hard, I check with the speaker whether my summary is accurate.
|“Did I get everything you said?”
|When someone has finished speaking, I validate the logic of what they are saying, whether I agree with them or not.
|“It makese sense is that when you experienced….(event), you would have thought/felt…
|When someone has finished speaking, I share with them the feelings I experience them having or imagine their feelings if they have not expressed them.
|“Given all of that, I can see you that you feel…” or “I can imagine you might be feeling….(version of mad, sad, glad, or scared)”
|After I share the feelings I see or imagine, I check to see if I got their feelings accurately.
|“Is that the feeling?”
|If the speaker says I did not get the feeling right, I ask them to share it again.
|“Would you share your feeling with me again?”
|After the feeling has been shared and confirmed, I ask if they have other feelings about that.
|“Do you have other feelings about that?”
|Mirroring, Accuracy Check, and Expressing Curosity
|If the speaker has other feelings, I mirror the additional feelings and check for accuracy and completion.
|“and you also feel…. Did I get that accurately? Are there other feelings?”
|If I am the listener, at the end of a conversation, I express gratitude to the speaker for sharing their thoughts and feelings with me.
|“Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feeling with me”
|If I am the speaker, at the end of the conversation, I express gratitude to the listener for listening to my thoughts and feelings.
|“Thanks for listening”
(out of 240)
|= SUM (column)