Tip 5) Help
your family members stay aware of
the vital difference between (a) surface and
and (b) superficial and core attitude
help each other grow your
to identify and assert
your current primary needs.
Develop and promote (a)
healthy self respect and (b) genuine mutual-respect attitudes among your
family members and others. Doing this requires true Selves to guide each
person's personality. Use awareness to monitor the
you give and receive in important conversations, and develop a way of
responding to people who send you 1-up or 1-down
7) Intentionally practice communication-process
strategy for responding to people using a 1-person or no-person bubble
in important communications.
Notice your preferred way of perceiving and describing the world -
visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic. Then become aware of the way
important kids and adults perceive and describe their world. If their
way differs from yours, try intentionally using words and phrases that
match their linguistic "style." See this for
more detail and examples.
9) Periodically re-take this communication-basics
and review this Tips article, to "sharpen your saw.".
10) Practice identifying
why you’re communicating - i.e. identify which
you and others are each trying to fill in key situations. Grow the reflex of
getting clear on “What do I need from my partner now, besides
feeling respected enough?"
and a communication-partner are conflicted,
help each other do respectful “hearing checks”
- i.e. practice exchanging
grow mutual feelings of being well-heard. Remember
that “listening respectfully and attentively” does not
necessarily mean “agreeing”!
where your and your family members'
are in calm and
stressful situations. When an adult or child is "upset," (their E-level
is “above their ears”), use or ask for respectful
bring E-levels down and restore hearing.
More effective-communication tips...
noticing your partner’s non-verbal communications (e.g. eye contact, face
and body language, and voice dynamics), and how you decide what they mean,
in conflict situations. Work to raise your comfort levels in
together: some communication experts estimate they represent the high
majority of how we draw “meanings” from each other’s behavior, vs. from our
skill to differentiate
abstract conflicts (values, opinions, preferences, priorities);
concrete (“thing”) conflicts,
like cars, checkbooks, food, and TVs;
conflicts (a) among your subselves
disputes), and (b) with other people (interpersonal clashes).
each of these can be very different. Interpersonal problem-solving
is much easier if each partner resolves any major inner conflicts first!
View all emotions
as useful guides to unfilled primary needs, and
avoid judging any
emotions as "negative." Distinguish between feeling an
emotion - which is neurochemical and uncontrollable, and
it, which can (usually) be controlled. Help each other to use
feel the same, but are caused and reduced differently.
Tip 16) Use
to practice spotting...
Use metatalk terms and empathic listening to discuss and improve
each of these.
normal differences in how
handle relationships and
conflicts. Affirm and accept how these differences regularly manifest in your
key relationships - e.g. he needs to act: (to fix her problem); she mainly
needs to be listened to and accepted now - not “fixed.” Strive to
your complementary gender differences together, rather than
competing, judging, or trying to revise each other to be more like you.
Brain Sex - The Real Difference Between Men and Women,
by Anne Moir, Ph.D., and David Jessel; and...
Just Don't Understand - Women and Men in
Conversation; by Deborah Tannen, Ph.D.
each other learn
your present communication
- specially conflicts - to understand, not to blame.
this, say, annually, to learn if and how your communication skills are
each other learn how to give each other effective
Do this when
partners are ready to hear it - i.e. when their
their ears" (tip 11) and they're not distracted. Stay aware of why
you're offering feedback, specially in emotional situations; and how
you're giving it. Grow fluency with
as an effective way of combining feedback with
stating your needs.
Identify the spoken
and unspoken “rules” (“shoulds and oughts”) your caregivers used
in handling conflict in your childhood homes. Examples: ""Demand rather than request;"
"Men can get angry and yell, but women
can't;" and "It's OK to interrupt each other, but not
complain about it."
This can help you avoid unconsciously using any ineffective
conflict-resolution strategies and techniques that your caregivers did - or the polar opposites.
Those people probably had no training in what you're learning in Lesson 2, and were
often ineffective communicators.
on “How did Mom and Dad (or whoever) try to get their core needs met with
each other, and what did they do when their needs conflicted or didn’t
get met well enough?” Consider using sibs and kin - and your original caregivers,
if living - as resources in this research.
their problem-solving process (Tip 18) and compare it to yours now. Option: use the
blocks worksheet, and focus on your caregivers, to see which of
them you may have
Tip 21) Help
each other tailor these useful
phrases to fit you, and use them to prevent or resolve conflicts.
yourself to notice and avoid vague or ambiguous words and phrases in
important communications. See this brief YouTube
video for examples.
Evolve and use
a Personal Bill of Rights
in growing your assertion
skills and “promoting your-self to
equal.” Help each other build the attitude
"Your needs and mine
except in emergencies.
each other distinguish between
things you can control, and things you can't. Consider posting
where you can see them every day, and model and teach them to your kids.
tailor these key attitudes and
premises about relationship
problems with important people.
your individual and joint conflict-resolution successes promptly,
and learn from your “mistakes” without undue guilt or shame.
Grow the habit of asking "What can I
learn from (some
problem or event)?"
27) Develop a
set of hand-signals and verbal “trigger” words and phrases - a kind of
communication shorthand to simplify your conflict resolution process, over
time. For example, if one of you is feeling flooded
(overwhelmed with feelings and/or information), you might put your fingers
in your ears, or the edge of your hand under your nose, to symbolize “Whoa!
I need a time-out here.”
A circled thumb and forefinger, or a thumbs-up
gesture, can mean “Right on!” or “I feel really
well-heard by you now. Thanks!” Some people are more
and touch oriented) than others, so these kinds of gestures may or may not
fit you. Experiment, and see what helps.
If you're a visual/auditory learner, view the YouTube videos in this
themes of these 28 effective-communication tips: awareness,
needs, self and mutual respect, knowledge, and teamwork. Build on these to invent your own tips! Go back over this
collection and pick out a few you want to try out. Option -
or two new tips a week for four months, and see what happens!
Unless you try
these practical options for better
communication outcomes, they won't help. Stretch, breathe, and see how you stand with this now:
T = true,
F = false, and ? = "I'm ambivalent now."
Intentionally learning to think and
communicate clearly is the most powerful tool I and my descendents will
ever have to meet our personal and social needs. (T F
Improving my communication effectiveness is
among my top five life priorities now (T F ?)
I'm clear now on how to measure the
effectiveness of my communications (T F ?)
On a scale of 1 (I have no interest in
trying these tips) to 10 (I'm very motivated to try selected tips
with my subselves and social relationships now), I am a ___.
I'm currently studying the articles and
using the worksheets in
here, or if
not, I clearly know why. (T F ?)
true Self is
to this status check,
or I know which
are. (T F ?)
What did you just learn?
article summarizes 28 practical tips for improving your communication
outcomes and relationships - with other people, and among your dynamic subselves. These tips use
the key concepts in self-improvement Lesson 2 here, and come from over 40 years'
research and clinical practice. They build on these suggestions for
improving communication with adults and
Option - teach and model these tips to the young people in your life,
and encourage other adults to do the same!
studying and applying Lesson 2
Pause, breathe, and reflect: why did
you read this? If you got what you needed, what do you need to do
now? If you didn't, what
you need? Who's answering these questions - your