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April 30, 2013
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This is one of a series of articles
in Lesson 2 - learn communication basics and seven powerful
to get more daily needs met more often. Progress with this Lesson
depends on prior progress on Lesson 1 - empower your
resident true Self to guide your personality in calm and conflictual
This YouTube clip previews key points in this
"Meta-writing" is writing
about writing. "Meta-singing" is singing about singing.
is talking about communicating
i.e. cooperative discussion between partners about their shared
Use this skill to describe your
awareness so you can
affirm what works, and improve what doesn't.
Rather than talking about "our
fight last night," metatalk focuses on "howwe're talking now
about our fight last night." Mutually-respectful metatalk is an
for identifying and resolving communication
Fluency with this skill can also help you discover and reduce significant
Growing your metatalk skill involves...
some or all of the communication concepts and terms below, and...
using the terms strategically to
help identify, discuss, and fix internal and social communication blocks.
Recall - this is an illustrative list of terms and phrases that can
help you metatalk - discuss tour communication process with a
partner.Can you imagine
being fluent in all these terms? Learning these and when to use them
can help you identify communication strengths and
blocks with adults and
communication are learned skills, shaped over decades by emotions,
perceptions, assumptions, and unconsciousimpulses and associations
as well as logic. They are the main
skills we depend on to get our personal and social needs met,
yet most people never study them! Have
Just as skilled
tradespeople develop their own terms, we communication artists need
to do the same (above). Most of us receive no training
in these communication factors, though we need to use them every day.
The good news: you can learn to use these factors any time!
Reality check: could you teach someone
clearly (say a beloved childin your life...) what each of these
means now? Could your family adults do that? Are your kids learning these well enough?
What if you or they don't?
The high majority of my ~ 1,000 therapy clients and students have been unaware of
most of these communication terms, so they had consistent trouble resolving
personal and social
conflicts. Unawareness and ignorance (lack of
knowledge) are often a major contributor to
relationship stress and ineffective childcare.
Learning these communication concepts and
a mutual respect attitude can improve your
communication productivity and effectiveness if your
other busy subselves.
Recall: metatalk is talking
cooperatively about your communication process. Each of us develops our own metatalk style and vocabulary, but
the theme remains constant: clear, objective descriptions of our communication
Imagine that you’re talking with someone who repeatedly
interrupts you. You notice this because you've learned to maintain a
in important discussions. You
note that you're feeling disrespected, hurt, unheard, and increasingly
irritated and frustrated. You then consciously decide to make a firm, respectful
"Chris, I notice that pretty often you start to
talk before I'm finished. I'm not feeling heard by you, and I'm starting to get irritated
You could stop there, or you might add...
"Were you aware of doing that?"; or "I'd
like you to let me finish saying my thoughts." The latter is an
scenario: your communication partner laughs, and says: "I just had the most
unbelievable fight with my sister. It was awful!" You feel confused, and say (a
"I just got a double message from you, Burt, and I'm
confused. Your words were: 'the fight was awful', but you chuckled
Notice how this
message would change if your voice tone was blameful [implied
R(espect)-message: "Im 1-up"] or apologetic (implied R-message:
"Im 1-down"). Process-awareness and metatalking skills are
vital, because they allow identifying and resolvinginterpersonal
communication problems and strengthening social relationships..
See how many of the
communication concepts above you can clearly describe to another person. The more of them
partners understand, the better able you'll be to spot and resolve
blocks and get more needs met.
Once you understand these concepts,
nonjudgmentally aware of them among (a) your
(b) the adults and kids in your life.
This article is one of a series introducing
communication basics and seven powerful, learnable
The article introduces the skill of metatalk
- talking clearly and cooperatively with a partner about your
process-awareness observations - i.e. about howyou communicate.
This skill requires (a) your Self to
your personality, (b) a steady two-person
awareness bubble, (c)
attitude, and (d) learning to use a special vocabulary of common communication dynamics (above).
Use these requisites and the related six skills to identify significant
problems and reduce them
together as teammates, not opponents!
The unique guidebook
(Xlibris.com, 2nd ed., 2010) integrates the key Lesson-1 and Lesson-2 Web
articles and resources in this nonprofit Web site, and provides many
Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you
get what you needed? If not - what
you need? Who's answering this question - your
true Self or
- review these examples of metatalk in action