Premise - effective (vs.
"open and honest") communication happens when
each person involved feels they...
got their current primary needs
in a way that feels good enough to them -
e.g. respectfully, honestly, and directly.
Any self-motivated adult
fluency in seven
effective-communication (relationship) skills,
how and when to use the skills
with adults, kids, and with their personality subselves, and
model and teach these basics and skills to
Can you name the seven skills out loud?
If not, (which is common), you're probably not using them or
teaching them to any kids in your life. If you don't
- who will?
Here's an overview:
Seven Essential Communication
Each of these learnable skills builds on the prior ones, so
Key: inner, environmental, and
digging down below surface
needs to discern current primary needs
"hearing with your heart"
metatalk - talking
your communication process.
How many average adults do you think could
name and describe each of these skills? How many schools do you think are
This foundation skill is learning to become conscious of what's happening
(a) now and (b) over time...
and counselors seek awareness of over
40 factors in these four zones.
adults and kids can benefit significantly by learning to
social situations. Unlike older cultures living closer to nature, our
hyperactive, over-stimulating society discourages appreciating and practicing these
Use awareness (a) in any important social situation, and (b)
awareness) when you're significantly stressed. Awareness is required for all
six other skills.
SKILL 2) Clear
(vs. Fuzzy) Thinking
This essential talent combines three factors. In important situations...
focus on current (vs. past or future)
all communication partners feel they got their needs met well enough; and...
build and use a vocabulary to describe your
perceptions, feelings, and needs, and...
vague and ambivalent terms
like this, that, it, they, them, those people, stuff, this whole thing, deal with, cope with,
work through, get past it, take care of, handle, everyone, sort of, pretty
soon, sometime, trouble, this problem, this issue, always, never, etc.;
"hand-grenade" (emotionally provocative) terms
rape, stupid, weak,
dumb, childish, crybaby, immature, wimp,
fag, nigger, kike, fairy, bully, selfish,
fault, liar, control freak, homo, loser, winner, failure, asshole, bitch,
bastard, pathetic, brainless, etc.
Clear thinking requires wanting to be
aware of your and other people's
thinking in important situations and over time.
Use awareness and this skill in (a) significant internal conflicts and
stress, and (b) all significant relationships and social situations.
to identify each partner's
Use this skill
with awareness in significant
and interpersonal conflicts
Mastery of this essential relationship
depends on living from your
+ steady four-zone awareness + knowledge of core
needs. Awareness and the results of digging down are inputs to
and problem-solving skills.
As Dr. Stephen Covey says, learn to
"listen with your heart"
(vs. your head).
is sensing accurately and objectively what another person is feeling, thinking, and needing now, without
losing your self-awareness and boundaries. Communication
effectiveness soars when each person wants to
listen empathically - knowing that this does not necessarily mean they
agree with their partner/s.
vital skill has also been called reflective and active
listening and mirroring, since the listener intentionally
"reflects back" brief, nonjudgmental impressions of what the
speaker is saying and feeling, from time to time.
Do you do this with important people?
Popular alternatives to
empathic listening include lecturing, interrupting, monologing,
preaching, threatening, blaming, ignoring, tuning out, withdrawing,
explaining, interrogating, and changing the subject. See any favorites? These
hinder effective communication!
Intentionally grow the habit of using awareness and empathic listening
("hearing checks") in all important social and subself interactions!
Recall - we're reviewing seven essential effective-communication skills
anyone can learn and benefit from.
calmly stating what you perceive, believe, and/or need from another person
in a way they can hear you clearly.
Alternatives to assertion are submission (sacrificing your
needs, values, and perhaps integrity
to please or placate another person)
and aggression (forcing your needs on another
person, regardless of their current needs). Three kinds of assertion are preventive
(avoid a problem),
confrontive (when there is a problem), and "dodge-proof" praise.
present-moment clarity on your personal
a genuine (vs. dutiful) mutual-respect
a stable two-person
fluency in (at least) the four skills above.
Do you have these
priceless treasures yet? Did your childhood caregivers? Do the young people in
Meta-thinking is thinking about thinking. Meta-dancing is dancing about
dancing. Meta-writing is writing about writing.
is talking cooperatively about
how you're communicating
(your process), vs. what you're talking about
(your content). Growing this
skill involves using awareness and evolving a vocabulary of communication-process
identify and resolve significant communication
Examples of metatalk terms: flooding, interrupting, interjecting,
eye contact, assuming,
defocusing, feedback, venting, distracting, bipolar (black-white) thinking,
primary needs, second-order
thinking, assuming (mind reading), and mind-racing. Can you define each of
these terms yet?
effective metatalk include:
knowledge of communication
genuine mutual-respect attitude,
a stable two-person awareness bubble,
awareness, clear thinking,
and empathic-listening skills.
Use awareness and metatalk when you need to identify and resolve a
significant internal or social communication problem. Exchanging respectful "meta-comments"
helps to define
so you can solve them. Review these
phrases to get a sense of metatalk in
action, and use the related worksheet to help design
All people have fluctuating needs - i.e. emotional, physical, and
spiritual discomforts. So being "needy" is normal and
healthy, not weak or bad! Problems are unfilled
needs. "Problem solving" means "filling current needs well
This powerful skill
uses all six other skills to...
identify each person's
creatively brainstorm acceptable need-filling compromises, as...
alternatives to win-win
problem-solving are fighting, arguing, withdrawing,
manipulating, postponing, defocusing, blaming, giving up or in, getting sick,
threatening, explaining, defending, avoiding, whining, numbing, spacing
out, changing the subject, and/or playing "hot
potato" ("You fill my needs! "No, you fill mine!").
+ + +
Pause, breathe, and reflect - have you ever seen these seven powerful
communication (relationship) skills in one
place before? Do you know anyone who
uses all seven skills consistently and effectively? Can you imagine what
would change in our society if all kids were taught to use these skills?
See how you feel about what you just read: T = "true;" F = "false," and
= "I'm not sure," or "It depends on...," or (something else).
1) (a) I'm very clear on when my
Self (capital "S")
my other subselves, and (b) s/he's leading them
right now. (T F ?)
2) I can
clearly describe the
required for communication effectiveness. (T F ?)
3) I agree that communicating
effectively is essential for getting my personal and social needs met every day (T
4) I now communicate effectively enough in
(a) calm and (b)
conflictual situations with the people who mean the most to me (T F
5) I can now clearly describe
(a) each of the seven communication skills in
this summary and (b) when to best-use each of them, to an average teenager; or I'm strongly motivated to learn and use
the skills now (T F ?)
6) I can clearly describe
in this Web site is and (b) why it's
vital in all families and organizations; and (c) I'm committed to working on
this Lesson patiently at least several times
a week now (T F ?)
7) I (a) understand and
(b) agree that "thinking" is really communication
among my talented
of personality subselves, so (c)
I agree that these seven skills are
useful within me as well as with other people. (T
8) I'm motivated
(a) model and teach the young people in my life about these seven
skills now, and to (b) coach and affirm the kids as they learn to use the skills in their own
(T F ?)
you can't spontaneously describe these seven communication skills to another person,
you're probably not using them. That means
you're probably used to filling your
daily primary needs far less often than you could! It also
means you're not modeling and teaching effective thinking and communication to the
in your life...
This series of Lesson-2 articles exists because few average
adults seem to know
what they need to know to communicate
effectively. This article summarizes seven essential
communication (relationship) skills that any motivated adult or older child
can learn and use to fill their needs more effectively. The
Satisfactions integrates all the
online Lesson 2 Web articles
and worksheets here.
Note that a requisites for effective thinking and
communicating is progress reducing any significant psychological
here offers a practical way to do that.
Learn something about yourself with this anonymous 1-question
Keep studying and applying
Pause, breathe, and reflect - why
did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what
you need? Who's
these questions - your