What Is the Connection between Communication and Critical Thinking?

B. Miller

Communication and critical thinking are connected in many important ways. On a basic level, the ability to think critically, reason through a problem, and develop a cogent argument or explanation is important for all types of daily communication. People with the capability to really think about an issue and see it from a different perspective will then most likely be better communicators, and be less likely to react quickly in anger. On another level, critical thinkers often examine the way other people are thinking and making their arguments before they choose to respond themselves. This type of analysis is another very important aspect of the connection of communication to critical thinking.

Good communicators are less likely to react in anger.
Good communicators are less likely to react in anger.

In many cases, problems with communication are based on an inability to think critically about a situation, and see it from different perspectives. Communication and critical thinking are linked in this way because people who do possess the ability to problem-solve and consider other perspectives tend to be better communicators than those who do not. Though this is important for friendly argument and debate, it is also beneficial for all different types of communication, including workplace relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. Despite this, many people are never taught the positive link between communication and critical thinking.

Educators may want to bring communication and critical thinking theories into their lesson plans.
Educators may want to bring communication and critical thinking theories into their lesson plans.

Another important link between communication and critical thinking is the ability to learn how to follow another person's thought process and line of reasoning. An individual who is able to think critically about how another person is making an argument will be able to formulate a more effective response, more quickly, than someone who is not. In certain practices such as law, this skill can be invaluable. Fortunately, it is something that can be learned and practiced, and is certainly a skill that can be improved over time; by the same token, however, it cannot be learned overnight, and must be developed with practice and experience..

In some situations, critical thinking ability improves communication in an indirect way. Someone who is interested in a certain topic, for instance, and has the ability to think and form questions about what he or she still needs to learn, will likely take steps to gain this knowledge. Increased knowledge and wisdom will always be beneficial in different types of communications with others. Regardless, recognizing the important links between communication and critical thinking skills is important for people of all ages and all professions; educators especially may want to bring some of this theory into their lesson plans in order to teach students not just how to solve problems, but how to be better communicators in the process.

Watching too much television may have a negative impact on an individual's critical thinking skills.
Watching too much television may have a negative impact on an individual's critical thinking skills.

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Discussion Comments


This article confirms what I have always suspected, which is that if one's thinking is clear, then one's writing will be good. I don't know if you have noticed, but very often, when you meet someone who is very good at articulating his opinion or thought, he/she is usually a very good thinker, too.


@ddljohn-- That’s a great question. I’m not an expert on the subject but as far as I know, critical thinking means thinking about an issue rationally and in an open minded way. People who can think critically will not come to conclusions based on biases or feelings. They will decide on issues by looking at the facts and thinking about the problem from different angles.

So in your situation, you will be thinking critically if you try to see your mom’s point of view. If you can understand where she’s coming from and why she does the things that she does. And if you consider the facts about everything your mom has done for you and what you have done for her, without being affected by anger and frustration, you are thinking critically.

If you can succeed at this, you will be able to communicate with your mom. It’s all about changing the way you see things and solving problems with positive methods. What can be more positive than talking and discussion problems openly and objectively?


I don’t get along with my mom at all. We can’t communicate and we don’t understand each other. How can critical thinking help in this situation?

I understood the connection between communication and critical thinking when I was in college. I studied political science and there were many students in my program who were pre-law. They were preparing to apply to law school after their political science degree.

I realized during our classes that the pre-law students were excellent at thinking critically and they could put together effective arguments about anything in a very short time period. I understood at that time that if a person learns to think critically, then he or she will be able to communicate easily and convince anyone about anything. Like the article said, this is very important for lawyers but it’s actually important for everyone who has to work with other people and cooperate with them.


The bottom line is, the best ideas in the world are worth nothing if we do not know how to effectively communicate them to others.

The link between critical thinking and communication is a good argument for the importance of post-secondary education.

Many people feel requiring students to take general elective courses on a variety of topics instead of just courses that apply to their chosen field is a waste of time.

However, colleges teach critical thinking, reading comprehension and information analysis through these basic classes and, in turn, expand a student's understanding of the factors that go into making an informed decision and defending that decision to employers, clients and others.

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