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Better Communication

Master communicators:

  1. Know what they want
  2. They're very good at noticing the response they get
  3. They have the flexibility to modify their behaviour until they get the response they are looking for
  4. They make the conversation ‘psychologically safe’. By having mutual respect and mutual purpose they listen without judgement and allow the other to be vulnerable without fear of retribution
  5. They help build trust in the conversation.
Trust Distrust
Releases oxytocin and serotonin in the brain – we feel connected and feel good Releases cortisol, the stress hormone, in the brain
  • When we feel trusted, we see reality more clearly and are more open to engage
  • This comes from finding:
    • Commonality (the brain doesn’t differentiate between big or small commonalities)
    • Concern for the other
    • (show you’re taking a risk on their behalf)
    • Competence (you keep your promises
    • Consistency (of behaviour – good OR bad, not both)
We see reality through threats and fear, and close down

We have a set of needs expected in a relationship: -

  • Red: Relationship breaker if not met – but we rarely say when the other is not hitting them
  • Orange: If not met over time they become critical
  • Green: These are wishes, and can be met in a number of ways, so can have substitutes.
  • Reveal more
  • Expect less and over delivery
  • Assume the best
  • Look with an open heart
  • Interpret the facts
  • Tell the truth
  • Yes to confronting the truth
  • Reveal less
  • Expect more
  • Assume the worst
  • Look with caution
  • Interpret with fear
  • Tell secrets
    Yes people (passive)

Source Claire Croft

How the conversation builds

(Danny Silk, Keep your love on)

Most people think that talking is communicating, but talking is not communicating unless it has a goal, or a purpose. Most often in communication, the goal is agreement. But if our goal is agreement, then what happens when we disagree? I must persuade you to agreement, or vice versa. But unfortunately, persuasion has a way of slipping into pressure, manipulation, and control. We have 6 levels of conversation:

  1. Withdrawal - present but not involved
  2. Rituals - A familiar social interaction that proceeds as if it were pre-programmed (handshakes etc)
  3. Pastimes - looking at past times. Participants talk about something but engage no action concerning it. Typified by light superficial conversation at cocktail parties. Usually in Parent or Child ego-states, about prejudged opinions about the world. Used to sound people out, before going deeper.
  4. Activities -The communication directed at achieving a goal, not just talking about it. Mainly Adult state -Usually conditional positive and conditional negative strokes
  5. Games - When both people exchange a sequence of transactions and at the end of it both felt bad. It is repetitive, and you end up feeling bad. All games are re-plays of childhood strategies that are no longer appropriate to us as adults, and played in a negative ego-state. Games always entail an exchange of “discounts”.
  6. Intimacy - When true feelings and wants are shared without each other censoring. In games, each person shifts the responsibility for the outcome to the other. In intimacy, each accepts his own responsibility.

People can manipulate by searching for other people’s needs: for approval, acceptance, love, protection, belonging, resources, control or position – but only offering this as a way of getting their own needs met (Stibbe, 2010).

Effective communication

(David Burns, Feel Good Handbook)

The important element here is in building empathy, so the other person feels heard and understood

Building Empathy (Valerie Gaus, Living well on the spectrum)

  1. Think about the other person’s experience
  2. Identify the emotion they are having and why
  3. Feel some of that emotion yourself
  4. Express it by letting the other person know you can imagine their experience
1. Find the truth in what they say - it disarms
  • "It's true. I am late, and you have every right to be angry”
  • "You're right to be suspicious ..." "I missed the boat on this one, even though I tried ..."
2. See it through their eyes: their thoughts & their Feelings - Empath
  • Thought empathy - "It sounds like you …"
  • Feeling Empathy - "What you seem to be saying is ...."
  • "I take it that you think ..." "I'm glad you're told me, even if it's upsetting to me ..." "I can imagine ... Do you feel that way?
3. Learn More - Inquire
  • "Can you tell me about the problems in our relationship are?”
  • "I'd like to know more about what you like & don't like about it"
4. I Feel Statements
  • Negative Feelings "I feel angry, coerced, misunderstood etc"
  • Vulnerable Feelings "I feel disappointed, I feel ignored, I feel intimidated"
  • "I feel disappointed I ignored I intimidate etc when you say that"
5. Stroking Show that the relationship and the person are wanted

  •  "Even though it is uncomfortable to feel angry and to be criticised. I'm convinced that in the long run, this will make our work together more rewarding"
  • "You are important to me and I want you to be pleased. I value you, and I don't want to lose you as a friend I customer etc"
6. Only then can you share your motives (not your excuses)  
7.  Agree to improve / change / stop the problem  

Some research shows that Autistic Spectrum people have low thinking empathy (know how others feel) but higher emotional empath (feeling how other feel), BUT they don’t express it

Expressing your needs

You notice when a raw patch has been met:

There is a sudden radical shift in the emotional tone of the conversation

The reaction to a perceived offence is often way out of proportion

Sue Johnson

When you feel raw, or hurt try this structure:

In this incident, the trigger for my raw feeling was:  
On the surface, I probably showed:  
But deep down I just felt: (Pick a basic negative emotion: sadness, anger, shame, fear)  
What I longed for was: (consecutiveness, encouragement, nurturing, empathy)  
The main message I got about our bond, about me or my love was:  (consecutiveness, encouragement, nurturing, empathy)  
The main message I got about our bond, about me or my love was:  

Overcoming Bad Communication

More Effective Questioning

11 Tips for Effective Questions

Better Ways of Listening

Crucial Conversations

Conversation Transformation