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  • Maddie Cohen

What Is the STAR Method of Communication?

Maybe you’re interviewing for an opportunity.


Perhaps you’re speaking with your boss, or sitting down for a meal with your family.


Or, maybe you’re catching up with a friend.


Regardless of the situation, chances are you answer other people’s questions from time to time. This is where the STAR method may come in.


What Does the STAR Method of Communication Entail?

STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation Task Action Result.


Sounds self-explanatory, right?


Not quite. The STAR method of communication includes:


  • Discussing the Situation.

Briefly set the tone for the conversation. Include enough detail to clarify the stakes for everyone involved.


Example: An interviewer asks if you’ve ever had to work under pressure. You state that in the recent past, your team had just 24 hours to create a compelling presentation for a nitpicky client.


  • Describing the Task.

Share what role you (and others) might have played in the situation.


Example: You were in charge of keeping your team on schedule.


  • Sharing the Action.

Disclose the actions you took to complete the abovementioned task. Be sure to justify each one.


Example: You tracked your team’s progress every couple of hours. In addition, you gently redirected the conversation when your colleagues went off-topic. This helped you meet your tight deadline.


  • Summarizing the Result.

Describe the outcome of the situation, including what you learned along the way.


Example: You and your team completed the presentation on-time and impressed your client. They decided to renew their contract with your company for another year.


Though you’ll want the conversation to flow naturally, the STAR method can add a sense of structure around the idea you hope to convey.


What Is the Goal of the STAR Method?

We used the word “structure” in the last section.


Structure is the overarching goal of the STAR method of communication.


When you’re answering questions with a story, that sense of structure is key. Providing just enough context will help you with this. So will highlighting the stakes of the situation, and offering a clear takeaway.


The idea here is to make sure every story you tell has a concrete beginning, middle, and end. There’s no need to overthink this communication method—but you’ll certainly want to consider it moving forward.

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