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Understanding Communication. Overview. 8 steps to communication Effective Communication Communication Barriers Conflict & Difficult Conversations Triangulation Masks Moving Forward Communication Tips. Communication: Simple or Complex?. Communication…. Basis for relationships Constant

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Presentation Transcript
  • 8 steps to communication
  • Effective Communication
  • Communication Barriers
  • Conflict & Difficult Conversations
    • Triangulation
    • Masks
  • Moving Forward
  • Communication Tips
  • Basis for relationships
  • Constant
  • Difficult & complex
  • Requires give & take
process of communication
Process of Communication
  • Roles:
    • Sender
    • Receiver
  • Message:
    • Sender’s thought
    • Sender’s communication of idea
    • Receiver hears idea
    • Receiver’s perceived idea of sender’s thought
8 steps to communication
8 Steps to Communication
  • I intend to send a particular message.
  • I communicate the message.
  • I believe I sent the particular message I intended and the particular message was heard as intended.
  • I may or may not ask for feedback to assure the particular message was heard as intended.
  • I heard a message.
  • I assign meaning to the message from my own frame of reference.
  • I think I understand the particular message as intended.
  • I may or may not provide feedback that I did or did not understand the particular message as intended.



express yourself
Express Yourself!

Truly understand what the other person is saying; don’t make assumptions.

Be authentic.

Intention does not always equal impact.

effective communication
Effective Communication
  • Good communication is the ability to align your message in a way that resonates to your real thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, so that what you are communicating reflects what you are really thinking, how you feel, what you believe, and how you act.
  • Authentic communication is when your verbal and nonverbal communication matches.
  • Be self-aware of who you are and how you communicate; open yourself up to being comfortable with yourself.
communication barriers
Communication Barriers
  • Being unaware of yourself
    • To counter this:
      • Take a moment and pause
      • Reflect on your personality traits
      • Understand your communication style
      • Do NOT judge yourself; remain neutral
  • Fear
    • To counter this:
      • Remain self-aware and open to understanding the other person
      • Ensure that your message is being heard correctly & that you are hearing the other person directly
      • Establish what you and the other person both need in order to feel respected in the situation
  • Weak/non-existent feedback system
key ingredients
Key Ingredients
  • Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.
  • Increase your self-awareness.
  • Become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
    • Being told “no”
    • Being disagreed with and criticized
    • Strong emotional responses (either from you or others)
  • Allow others to react authentically without it affecting you.
  • Be willing to change your own assumptions, judgments, & biases.
  • Give yourself permission to make errors; do not judge yourself.
  • Find common ground. Compromise = giving 60% and expecting 40%.
conflict communication
Conflict & Communication
  • Step up for yourself
  • Do NOT attempt to change something or someone; simply try to communicate your thoughts/ideas with them or try to better understand where they are coming from.
  • Focus on someone’s behavior rather than the person.
addressing conflict
Addressing Conflict
  • Conflict
    • Difference in opinions and perceptions
    • Serious disagreements over needs or goals
    • Gossip, avoidance, verbal abuse, passive aggressive communication, blame, anger, denial
  • When conflict affects the ability to live and work productively, they must be addressed
  • Difficult conversations may follow because of
    • High emotions
    • Important issues
    • Strong disagreements
managing conflict
Managing Conflict
  • Your first goal is to get your authentic message across.
    • Be aware of yourself and to whom you are speaking.
  • Your second goal is to understand the other person’s authentic message.
  • Do not engage by trying to change the other person’s mind.
  • Identify the core problem in a way that you can both understand.
    • Share experiences
    • Discuss what your intentions are/were
difficult conversations
Difficult Conversations
  • Occur when feelings of intimidation or fear arise particularly when:
    • There is a strong disagreement
    • Emotions are running high
    • The issue is important to all individuals involved
difficult conversations1
Difficult Conversations
  • One of the leading causes of stress in the workplace & in personal relationships
  • You must be able to deal with difficult conversations and understand the ways other people cope in these situations.
  • Managing difficult conversations requires:
    • self-awareness
    • ability to speak authentically
    • ability to listen without judgment
best practices
Best Practices
  • Address the problem early
  • Discuss the issue directly
  • Communicate with respect
  • Seek to learn and understand the other person’s point-of-view
  • Address perceptions and assumptions
  • Listen to understand the interests of the other party (not just their position on the matter of the dispute)
  • Focus on the issue, not the person
  • Find ways to move past your differences

** not easy to follow**

factors in difficult conversations
Factors in Difficult Conversations
  • Fear
  • Leveraging
  • Triangulation
  • Masks
  • Communication Styles
  • Personality Traits
fear of
Fear of…
  • Criticism
  • Rejection
  • Disapproval
  • Being wrong
  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Abandonment
  • Being seen as incompetent
  • Anger
  • Being seen as vulnerable
  • Crying
fear self protective mode
Fear  Self Protective Mode
  • If your thoughts, words, feelings, beliefs, and/or behaviors do not align, then you are most likely in self-protection mode.
  • Self-protection mode: Attempt to prevent someone from seeing any insecurities or vulnerability
    • Don’t say what you mean
    • Change words & alter message
    • Feel tense and anxious internally, or even angry
    • May become aggressive with verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Characterized by
    • Being equal or on the same level regardless of position
    • Have an equal balance of power in conversation
  • If this is not achieved, then you will most likely triangulate the situation
  • Occurs when a person is under an extreme amount of stress and reaches out to another person rather than directly communicating with the person they are in conflict with.

**not mediation**

  • Three faces:
    • Victim
    • Blamer
    • Rescuer
why do triangles happen
Why do triangles happen?
  • People feel powerless
  • People have weak boundaries
  • People are dependent
  • People conclude that they are unimportant, invisible, incompetent, unlovable, don’t matter, etc.

**Whether the third person knows it or not, they are now involved in this difficult conversation**

  • Triangulation hardly ever solves the problem and in some cases can cause further issues. At this point, people will begin to “mask” their emotions in certain ways.
the 4 masks
The 4 Masks
  • Placater
  • Blamer
  • Computer
  • Distracter

**Used to deal with the perceived threat of rejection**

  • Characteristics
    • Doesn’t want the other person to become angry or disappointed
    • Talks in an ingratiating way, trying to please the other person
    • Rarely disagrees
    • Apologizes frequently
    • Seeks approval
    • ‘Yes’ person
  • This individual frequently says yes when they really mean no, is unable to deliver the real message, and is silent about their own needs.
  • Over time this person might begin to feel tightness in the throat; and a lot of physical and emotional fatigue, despite the praise they receive for being so helpful! Inside they are fuming and angry.
  • Wants to be seen as “strong”
  • Characteristics:
    • Fault-finder
    • Dictator
    • Acts superior and seems to be saying: “If it weren’t for you, everything would be all right.”
    • Says, “I am right and you are wrong, and I don’t need to listen to this anymore!”
    • Dominates conversations and/or interrupts
  • Over time, this person experiences tension in the muscles and organs. They portray a false sense of dominance, but underneath feel detached and excluded, very lonely.
  • Tends to deal with a threat as if it were harmless.
  • Hides self-worth behind big words and intellectual concepts
  • Characteristics:
    • Abstract thinker
    • Uses big words
    • Reasonable
    • Usually correct
    • Shows very little, if any, emotion
    • Un-reactive to situations, tend to remain calm
  • Internally, they feel very lonely.
  • Over time this person experiences body rigidity and monotone voice.
  • Attempts to distract others so that the threat is ignored; they behave as if there is no threat.
  • Characteristics:
    • Off topic
    • Singsong voice
    • Exaggerated motions
    • Genuinely funny
  • Thought: maybe if one does this long enough, it really will go away.
  • Can be thought of as a ‘kind of lopsided top’. Constantly spinning but never knowing where you are going, and not realizing it when you get there.
  • Distracters are frequently the ‘life of the party’ and have the ability to make people laugh, often referred to as the ‘class clown.’ Over time this person experiences a lack of purpose in life and general body discomfort.
triangulation masks
Triangulation & Masks
  • Victim
    • Placater – “yes” person
  • Rescuer
    • Could be any mask
    • Receive many compliments
    • Feel validated by assisting and being recognized
  • Blamer
    • Computer – feels powerless
    • Distracter – uses “aggressive” tactics to stay distant
determining where you are
Determining where you are…
  • To better understand the situation and the other person, you must first understand yourself.
  • Look at your
    • Communication styles
    • Personality traits
  • Reflect on why you may be reacting or behaving in a certain way.
  • Do NOT judge yourself; remain neutral to situations.
  • Reflect on behaviors and not personal characteristics.
moving forward pre conversation
Moving Forward: Pre-Conversation
  • Choose to act 1:1 or with a mediator
  • Act sooner rather than later
  • Decide what you would like to achieve with the conversation
  • Invite the other person to participate in the conversation
  • Plan the logistics of the meeting
      • When, where, who should participate, etc.
pre conversation tips
Pre-Conversation Tips
  • Once you are self-aware, approach the other person and arrange a meeting or time to discuss what you are experiencing.
  • If you are tense about your conversation, practice in a mirror or with someone you trust (do NOT triangulate).
  • Focus on thinking, communicating, and acting authentically.
during conversation
  • Ask for assistance if needed
  • Establish
    • Mutual purpose – Why are you meeting?
    • Mutual meaning – What issues are you addressing?
    • Mutual respect – What do you both need in order to feel respect during this conversation and afterwards?
  • Discuss confidentiality
  • Discuss perceptions and assumptions
  • Listen to the other person’s perspective
  • Be aware of and try to understand your own and the other person’s feelings
during conversation1
During Conversation
  • Take a time out if needed
  • Only address the past if relevant
  • Focus on the issue, not the person
  • Look for common ground
  • Agree on how to be accountable in the future
    • How will you give or receive feedback?
post conversation
  • Act with integrity
    • Stick to what decisions were made during your covnersation
  • Let go of the past and hard feelings
  • Acknowledge differences and appreciate efforts made
  • Give and/or ask for feedback on a consistent basis
communication tips
Communication Tips
  • Strive to be authentic so that your thoughts, feelings, words, behaviors, and beliefs are aligned
  • Be an active listener
    • Listen attentively, restate what you think you heard, and ask clarifying or follow-up questions.
  • Your goal is to communicate in a way that the listener can hear your message, it is NOT to change their minds or have them agree with you.
communication tips1
Communication Tips
  • Develop your emotional intelligence skills
  • Be direct, open, and adaptable
  • Seek to understand before being understood
  • Realize that you can only change yourself; you have no control over others’ words or behaviors
  • Take care not to assume or make judgments
    • Make an effort to assume best intentions.
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Leader Training. September 2013. Dallas, TX.
  • “The Relationship Between Conflict Resolution & Emotional Intelligence,” AmeriCorps VISTA Leader Webinar. September 2013. Elaine K Williams.

This webinar was created by 2013-2014 IACC VISTA Leader, Monique Ellefson.