I was skimming through a Gary Chapman booklet from a marriage conference some years back and came across these two communication techniques. Although he encourages spouses to utilize these methods for better understanding, they could be applied to any relationship.
1. Repeat for clarity. "Are you saying...?"
---So often we just make assumptions or read between the lines messages that may or may not be there.
2. Rate your feelings.
---Using a scale of 0-10, how important is this to you. Or what would you rather do (0-10)? Numbers seems to work more effectively in coming to a decision.