Module E: Communications




Communication can be at the core of many problems with landlords as well as with neighbors and roommates. The emphasis of this module is on developing effective communication skills to minimize such problems.

Typical studies suggest that seventy-five percent of our waking time is spent communicating with others through speech, writing, or gestures such as smiles or handshakes. In spite of all of this practice, we often have problems communicating with each other. Poor communication is the cause of many arguments, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings.

Some problems arise from different communication styles based on personality, gender, or cultural differences. For example, in some cultures it may be considered poor manners to look someone in the eyes when you talk with him or her. In another culture, not looking a person in the eye may be seen as a sign of dishonesty. Some people depend a great deal on facial expressions and gestures to communicate, while others may not use this type of communication.

Both tenant advocates and landlords agree that many problems between tenants and landlords result from poor communication. The purpose of this module is to provide participants with techniques for improving their communication skills with landlords, roommates, and neighbors. This includes providing tools which participants can use if conflicts arise so that such problems can be settled with minimum anger and frustration.


Participants will:

  1. Understand the difference between business and personal relationships.
  2. Develop active listening skills.
  3. Practice formulating clear I messages.

References to websites and resources used in this publication are not an endorsement of one product over other similar products.


The “Communications” module was prepared by Lori Baltrusis, Sawyer County Family Living Educator.

Family Living Education Rent Smart 2017 Team: Bev Baker, Racine County; Lori Baltrusis, Sawyer County; Libby Bestul, Outreach Specialist; Jackie Carattini, Marathon County; Deborah Hewko, University Services Associate; Christine Kniep, Winnebago County–Team Co-Chair; Judy Knudsen, Brown County; Gail Peavey-Sederski, Polk County; Sarah Siegel, Wood County; Joan Sprain, St. Croix County; Michelle Tidemann, Fond du Lac County–Team Co-Chair; Chelsea Wunnicke, Richland County