This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Paula's Five Communication Steps

The basic process requires these 5 steps

1.  Identify what it is that you want to say to the other person.
This is not as easy as it sounds.  It often requires introspection (see the earlier post, Seeing Your Self).  The test of whether or not you really have it is this:  If your statement is about what the other person is doing wrong, you haven't got it.
If you make a blaming or accusatory statement, all you will accomplish it to provoke the other person's defenses.  It needs must be about you and come from your true inner self.

2.  Say it.
What can become a real problem for some people is that they bottle things up.  Do we have to overlook some things in our relationships?  Yes.  Of course.  No friend, lover, relative, or co-worker is going to be perfect or perfectly suited to you.  You have to let some things go by in favor of staying on good terms.  But if you determine that something must be said, that it is not going away (for you), then it is a good idea to make a habit of speaking.  Don't go silent.

3.  The other person has to listen.
So, if you are the initiator, try to get them at an optimal time and place.  If you are the receiver, listen; don't interrupt, don't turn away, don't argue, really listen.  If you care about the relationship, hear them out. 

4.  Follow up.
If the issue requires a change on either person's part, make the change or changes.  Do your best.  Not some temporary effort, thinking you'll just do it until this blows over, not some partial effort that isn't sincere; really make the change if you've agreed to do that.

5.  Notice.
If you are the initiator and the other person is attempting to change their behavior, notice it and give them credit.  Remember adults (generally) change slowly and with difficulty (see the earlier post, Unfinished Business).  The change you see may not be as you envisioned or it may be incomplete or seemingly inadequate.  But you must acknowledge that the other person cares enough to try, to try something that isn't easy and takes conscious effort---for the sake of the relationship you two have.

Communication is complicated and full of nuances.  Remember that something that you may say or do can have an effect on someone else that you didn't intend.  If you are often off-handed in your communication style, start noticing how your remarks land.  It could be enlightening.

Please respond with your own comment


  1. Paula! What a lovely blog! Just found it by way of our LinkedIn discussion. What a treat!

    I would add to this excellent post . . . well, actually, I would include a step before your first one . . . that you need to know what you want to accomplish even before you start that conversation. What I'm thinking is that often times we nose dive into saying "Blah, blah blah" without realizing the point.

    When dealing with potentially heated topics, in particular, this lack of focus and just venting rarely accomplishes what we had hoped for.

    If we take time to figure out what the outcome of that conversation needs to be, we are much more likely to strategically choose our words and methods of delivery.

    Looking forward to dropping back in to visit you and read more of your blog soon!

  2. Like this comment! Tamara, a good point---what's the end goal? How's the communique likely to land. Will it be a productive result? Might be a useful preamble to my list above be, to ask oneself these questions. Thanks for visiting! I do hope you return.

  3. I have been reading through a number of your blogs and they are really interesting.

    I am now following and I love the photos by Ping. I'll have to look for you on LinkedIn as I am on there too as well as having a blog.

    I think a therapist can allow the person to see things from a different perspective that they would not even accept from someone they know and hadn't thought of themselves.