Effective Communication

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

In my Conflict Resolution training, I train mediators how to model effective communication. After all, if people can’t hear what the other is saying, how can the conflict ever be resolved?

Here’s how it works:

1. Lay down the rules: One person speaks at a time. No interruptions. Mediator has control.
2. First person tells his side of the story to the other person. (e.g. “You did this…”). Make them look at each other.
3. Second person repeats the story of the first person. Don’t let the first storyteller interrupt to correct.
4. First person explains what was left out of the re-telling of the story.
5. First person describes how he felt when the actual incident was happening. What was going on inside his head, his body? Were his fists clenched then?
6. Second person repeats how first person felt during incident.
7. First person describes how he felt as he was telling his story to the second person. What was going on inside his mind and body then?
8. Second person repeats how the first person felt during the telling of the incident.
9. Ask the first person how he feels right now.
10. Second person repeats how the first person feels right now.
11. Ask the second person what he noticed about the storyteller’s body language. “What kind of meta-messages* was he sending?”
12. Ask the second person to tell his story now and repeat steps 2 through 11 for him.

*See my separate post on “meta-messages”. For our purpose here, think of them as body language.

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