There Are Only Three Ways to Communicate
There are only 3 ways to communicate with any person: carelessly, carefully and caringly. The first two, careless and careful communication, undermine and destroy relationships. Only the latter, caring communication, builds relationships. This is especially evident with difficult people since this is why they are perceived as difficult. Care-less communication is talking within your own values while ignoring the value system of the difficult person. You are generally more careless when you wear a ‘self-righteous’ attitude such as “I am right, you are wrong and we are doing it my way!” This is often termed arrogant or insensitive. Care-ful communication is speaking within the difficult person’s values and ignoring your own. You are generally more careful when you wear a ‘self-wrongrous’ attitude such as “I am wrong and you are right, so we will do it your way.” This is often termed as wimpy or subservient. Caring communication, the only effective way with a difficult person, is communicating your values inside their values. You generally communicate with more caring when you wear no attitude. This is reflected in an approach like, “My values are right for me and your values are right for you…so I am going to inject my values inside yours to encourage you to cooperate.” This is often termed respectful or sensitive. It is only by respecting your own values and those of the difficult person that useful communication can occur.
The Five Fabulous Ways Let’s put the Choice Theory™ principles and Caring Communication together into a complete communication process. Remember the intent of all effective communication is to resolve something and this begins with building a relationship.
The Caring Communication behaviors that build connections with difficult people are: • Accepting • Encouraging • Listening • Negotiating • Respecting • Supporting • Challenging Conversely, there are specific behaviors which build disconnections with difficult people very quickly. Here are the behavior choices which destroy a relationship in seconds: • Controlling • Complaining • Criticizing • Blaming • Nagging • Punishing • Threatening
Using Caring Communication here are five fabulous factors to building a relationship: • exercising self control • developing trust • showing respect • having a clear intention • having a simple process. These Five Fabulous Factors have practical value. Here are some guides: • To ensure you use self-control ask yourself, “Will what I am going to do and say respect both my values and theirs?” • To develop trust ask them to offer their perspective first! • To show respect acknowledge their right to feel as they do! • To clarify your intention to resolve the issue acknowledge their right to their perceptions! • To build a resolution check to ensure both you and the person feel respected ! • To ensure resolution remind youself you are selling an option which respects both parties! • To complete the communication process use A Walk In The Park, a technique which we will discuss shortly.
“Let’s put it all together…” Moving a difficult person from complaining, criticizing, whining or blaming to resolving their problem is easy with just A Walk In The Park. You can help resolve any conflict with any difficult person by simply following these five steps. With practice you will get so skilled at it you will want people to complain to you so you can use this effective technique. A Walk In The Park is a simple, practical, problem-solving tool learned and used easily by anyone determined to deal with difficult people. (See Figure 5.1) Its metaphor is a park I played in as a child that had five benches. Each bench represents the key step and question in moving a difficult person from complaining to problem solving. By following the M-shaped path and directions of the arrows and visiting, each bench and question you provide the difficult person with an opportunity to explore the problem with someone. You act only as the guardian of a journey through the park. The difficult person has an opportunity to analyze their problem with a supportive person who will encourage them to self-evaluate and identify a new course of action. 􀀃􀀃􀀃􀀃 Figure 5.1 Let us consider each question independently. Notice how each one facilitates you in assisting the difficult person in taking control of their problem and dealing with it more effectively.


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