Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more.

There is a right way and a wrong way to communicate. The sandwich technique can help you communicate effectively.

Key Points:

  • Sometimes when we try to communicate with others, our message doesn’t come out as we intended and the person we’re speaking to goes on the defensive. The sandwich technique is something that will improve your communication skills today. 
  • Visualize a sandwhich.
    • The meat represents the main point you want to get across. It can be a statement or request. 
    • The top bun represents validation. That is the act of letting the other person know you heard them and understand where they’re coming from. 
    • The bottom bun represents an action. This can be both the action you are going to take and what you are requesting of the other person. 
  • The sandwhich technique removes the word “but” from our conversations and replaces it with “and.”  Rather than saying “I know you want to go to the football game, but you haven’t cleaned your room,” we can use this technique to say “I know you want to go the football game, and you haven’t cleaned your room yet, so here is a garbage bag to help you get started.” 

Quote This

Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity. – Nat Turner

See Also: Communication, Parenting, Marriage

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Reflect on the last bad conversation you had with your spouse. What went wrong? What part did you play in the failure?
  3. Who is someone in your life who is almost always able to have productive, respectful conversations with others? What skills do they have that doesn’t put others on the defensive?
  4. How easily do you feel you could adopt the sandwich technique into your way of communicating with others? How effective do you feel the sandwich technique could be in your marriage?  How could starting with validation set the right tone for a hard conversation?
  5. Why do you think ‘and’ is a better qualifier than ‘but’ in a conversation? If someone in your family needs to approach you with a request how would you like them to do it? What about at work?
  6. Do you think you are more open to feedback at work than you are at home? Why or why not?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.