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Enhancing Communication Skills. Dr. Jim Guinee Nov 17, 2009 APEN Conference. Testing your communication skills. 1. Is there a law that prohibits a man from marrying his widow’s sister?

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enhancing communication skills

Enhancing Communication Skills

Dr. Jim Guinee

Nov 17, 2009

APEN Conference

testing your communication skills
Testing your communication skills
  • 1. Is there a law that prohibits a man from marrying his widow’s sister?
  • 2. If you went to bed at 8am, and set your alarm for 9am the next morning, how many hours of sleep would you get?
  • 3. Does England have a 4th of July?
  • 4. According to Bible tradition, how many animals of each species did Moses take aboard the ark with him during the great flood?
testing your communication skills3
Testing your communication skills
  • 5. If you only had one match and entered a cold room that had a kerosene lamp, an oil heater, and a wood stove, which would you light first?
  • 6. UCA and Hendrix play 5 baseball games. They each win 3 games. How is this possible?
  • 7. How far can a dog run into the woods?
  • 8. A man builds a house with four sides, and each side faces the south. A bear comes to the door and rings the doorbell. What color is the bear?
research on couples communication
Research on couples communication

Happy couplesUnhappy couples

My partner is a very good listener 83% 18%

My partner understands how I feel 79% 13%

I am satisfied with how 90% 15%

we talk to each other

We find it easy to think of things 86% 28%

to do together

I can share feelings and ideas with 85% 22%

my partner during disagreements

We are both equally willing to make 87% 46%

adjustments in the relationship

[Source: Olson & Olson, 2000, “Empowering Couples: Building on your strengths”; National survey of over 10,000 married couples]

communication problems
Communication problems

The ultimate fly in the ointment

Communication problems are UNIVERSAL

simon says
Simon Says

This game is played much like the regular Simon Says: You obey the instructions that come after “Simon Says.” However, you can’t move while you play this version. You must do it all in your head.

simon says8
Simon Says

Simon says, stand straight, hands at your sides.

Simon says, raise your right hand.

Simon says, if your right hand is raised, put your left hand on your left hip.

Simon says, if one of your hands is raised, raise you opposite leg.

Simon says, if your right hand is not on your hip,

reverse the positions of your two hands.

Touch your nose with your right hand.

Simon says, the next time you hear the word “reverse”, switch the

positions of your two hands.

Simon says, if one of your legs is raised and your tongue is not out, put

your leg down.

Do not reverse the positions of your two hands.

Simon says, reverse the positions of your two hands.

Have each person stand and show you what positions they are in.

intended and unintended communication of feelings
Intended and Unintended Communication of Feelings

Source: Data from L. Gaelick, G.V. Bodenhausen, and R.S. Wyer, Jr., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49:1248, 1985.

  • A. Messages must be clearly expressed

clearly received

  • Metacommunicationentails being more

AWARE of HOW you communicate

(e.g., body language, tone of voice)

  • 1. Messages vary in SPECIFICITY

(message you wish to get across)

  • Q: What is a “church bulletin”?
church bulletin items
Church bulletin items

-For those who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery.

-This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends. 

-Tuesday at 4:00 PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early. 

-Wednesday the ladies liturgy will meet. Mrs. Johnson will sing "Put me in my little bed" accompanied by the pastor. 

-This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar. 

-The service will close with "Little Drops of Water." One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in. 

-The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the church basement Saturday. 

-Bean supper on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow!! 

more church bulletin items
More Church bulletin items

-At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice. 

-Weight Watchers will meet at 7:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance. 

-The Associate minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday - "I upped my pledge - up yours!" 

-Next Sunday, Mrs. Vinson will be the soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience." 

-Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on Oct. 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in school days. 

-Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say, "hell" to someone who doesn't care much about you. 

-Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.

metacommunication cont d
Metacommunication (cont’d)
  • 2. Messages have BIDIRECTIONALITY

(sender & receiver)

A tragic example of mis-communicating:


anger management 101
Anger Management 101
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcHejBlWtyA&feature=email
common themes
Common themes

A. Anger is a futile business

B. Anger has negative consequences

C. True control comes from managing your

anger, not venting/exploding

D. Become aware of own reactions to anger, hostility – a “solvable problem”

nature and frequency of anger
Nature and Frequency of Anger

A. Example: Married couples

B. The key is that there is a clear difference between feeling angry

acting angry

angry people don t realize
Angry people don’t realize

A. They choose to be angry

benefits of analysis
Benefits of analysis

1. See negative outcome

2. Access chain of thoughts

3. Revise the situation

4. Model the “right” behavior

strategy mediation
Strategy: Mediation
  • 1. Introduction and overview
  • Who everybody is and what their roles are
  • 2. Establishment of the ground rules
  • 3. Telling the story / Problem Determination
  • Each person briefly states their view
  • 4. Definition of issues
  • May be more than what’s on the surface.
strategy mediation25
Strategy: Mediation
  • 5. Generating and evaluating appropriate alternatives
  • Statements about “I’d like to see this…” or “We could do that….”
  • 6. Selection of appropriate alternative
  • Nail down specific, agreed-upon solutions.
  • May not be either-or, may not be a compromise.
  • 7. Conclusion
  • Summary and re-statement of agreed-upon solutions
  • Statement of length of time before #8.
  • 8. Follow-up
  • Check back with each participant after an agreed upon period of time to see how things are going.
strategy principle of least intervention
Strategy: Principle of Least Intervention

“An ounce of prevention…”

All big



out small

strategy self talk
Strategy: Self-Talk

Self-talk is Good Medicine

helpful strategies
Helpful strategies

F. Don’t conflate the level of concern with the degree of knowledge

Q1: How much does this person know?

Q2: How much does this person care?

[Tip: Answer the questions IN ORDER]

Q: Which one do you have control over?

helpful strategies29
Helpful Strategies

Spiritual Solutions

i tried it it didn t work
I tried it, it didn’t work 

When faced with an immoveable obstacle (i.e., the other person): 

  • Deal with it
  • Leave the relationship, leave the environment
i tried it it didn t work31
I tried it, it didn’t work 

When faced with an immoveable obstacle:  

  • Change your behavior
  • Change your attitude
  • Is this fair? No.  
  • But who said life was fair?