Conscious and conscientious communication are foundations of the consensus process and the feedback and growth culture we are creating with One Community. The following intentional communication techniques were taught to us by One Community consultants Dr. Connie Stomper and Jack Reed, author of The Next Evolution, and are shared here to help anyone wishing to develop their skills of communication and listening.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw
As an organization, One Community sees developing skills of communication as essential to the success of what we are creating. We also see effective communication techniques like these, and evolving the art of communication with each other and the world, as part of what we are open source project-launch blueprinting.
We believe (and have been taught) that development of communication skills is a combination of consciously using ownership language and an equal dedication to effective listening. In our experience, the verbal communication techniques of “ownership language” are A) language that clearly labels your communication source and B) “effective listening” that combines asking quality questions with reflecting back what a person thinks they heard to confirm accuracy. As a path to more effectively developing our communication skills as a group, we advocate and practice combining these two skills in communication with each other (and the world) while consciously enrolling one another to remind us when we forget either of them.
If the desire is to be understood, we’ve found it extremely helpful for people to know where a person is coming from when communicating information. We believe intentional communication comes from both a loving attitude and choosing the appropriate words that ride on that attitude. One way to assist with communication that is more clear and authentic is through “ownership language,” or language that identifies the source of the information that is being shared. Often we tend to say something like, “This… is the way it is” when we may not really have that information. The following set of examples are provided to show how to improve communication skill simply by consciously practicing being clear on where the communication originated from:
Each of us can also take responsibility for creating a safe space to communicate. Even if we absolutely believe we are right, blaming or telling another person they are wrong usually creates mistrust and an unsafe atmosphere, undermining the communication process. Here are some examples of ways to help build a feeling of safety in communication by demonstrating ownership and understanding of how subjective your perspective is AND the subjective perspective about you that may be occurring in a conversation as well:
If you think you may be in disagreement with someone, remember that communication can be very inexact. One approach for how to improve communication in these circumstances would be to seek deeper understanding. Here are some examples of language that would do this:
And, if you’re really not in a good place to talk, take ownership for that too and make time later:
Active listening skills in communication are arguably a foundation of every effective communication course. There are two reasons for this A) Drawing out information so that you as a communicator are not assuming things and B) expressing genuine interest. To help facilitate effective communication try these processes:
1. Use “minimal” encouragers (short phrases that stimulate more conversation)
2. Ask open-ended questions (questions that do not have a yes, no’ or one word answer) versus closed questions
Equally as important as active listening skills of communication are the reflective listening skills and perception checking in communication. The purpose of reflective listening skills and perception checking are to:
Here is the reflective listening process:
1. Restate what you have heard the speaker say and check any feeling level that you perceive
Here is the perception checking process:
1. Paraphrase or summarize your understanding of the speaker’s message.
Note: Do not try to be a mind-reader: