Re: Constructive Communication
From: Iain Walker (
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2013 01:23:51 -0700 (PDT)
Hi joanie   
 iain here from melbourne australia --
- part of a new  cohousing community- 20 months since move in and going through 
some of the stormin""  sequences as we settle into reality.

hey really like the work you are doing and if we could get a copy of your paper 
  too    that would be great 

 and hope some day you can visit us here in Australia     [we have 3 multi 
purpose cum guest rooms   here  and getting lots of visitors but no one from 
the states yet [mm... hang on we had barbara from washington but that was b4 we 
moved in ]

for community  yours iain  
On 06/07/2013, at 2:47 AM, Joanie Connors wrote:

> Desert Explosure, a southwestern magazine, just published a 2 part
> article of mine on constructive communication
> . I
> also have a 5000 word pdf version of the article I'd be willing to
> share with anyone who's interested.
> I have much respect for Nonviolent Communication by Marshall
> Rosenberg, but wanted to add some considerations from other writers,
> as well as my own. I do not intend to copyright the term Constructive
> Communication (communication that builds understanding), as I hope
> that others will examine it and improve our understanding of the
> concept beyond my attempt.
> Here is a handout from the article that I'm going to use with my
> students in the fall:
> by Joanie Connors, Ph.D.
> A.    Empathy, Intention & Listening
> 1.    Consider how you would feel if you were in the other person’s
> shoes. Striving for empathy and understanding of others is one of the
> best ways to ensure that you are communicating in a respectful, honest
> way that is likely to be effective.
> 2.    Start with positive intentions. If your intentions for the
> interaction are positive, such as wanting to reach out, resolve
> differences, build understanding, and/or share information, others are
> more likely to be receptive (as opposed to how they would react when
> you try to change them or tell them how they are wrong).
> 3.    Listen to their side and take time to let it sink in before
> reacting. Take some time to  consider what they are saying and what it
> means before you share your reactions. Try to hear their side instead
> of preparing what you will say while they are talking.
> 4.    Consider their needs and feelings. Once you understand their needs,
> give them consideration, as you would for your own needs. Constructive
> communication is best accomplished with an attitude of openness and a
> willingness to take their needs into account, even though they differ
> from yours.
> 5.    Address them respectfully. Treating others with respect is the best
> way to be treated with respect in return. Ideally, every person
> involved in an interaction should feel valued as equals, and that
> their needs matter. If you desire a change in their behavior, make it
> into a request instead of a demand, so that you acknowledge their
> right to choose.
> B.    Message Form
> 6.    Use positive, descriptive language that does not judge, blame,
> criticize or label. By describing your perceptions, thoughts and
> feelings, you communicate information instead of making others feel
> unworthy or flawed. Blaming, criticizing and labeling cause others to
> shut down or become defensive. Seeing the positive validates positive
> actions and motives in the other person, so they are more likely to
> hear your thoughts, feelings and needs.
> 7.    Use “I” messages instead of “you” messages. “You” messages
> communicate that the other person is the focus of blame for our
> discomfort and pain, and this shuts the door on understanding and
> turns discussions into fights. “I” messages communicate
> self-knowledge, strength and the intention to share information.
> A basic template for saying I messages is “I feel ____ (feeling words)
> when you ____ (describe behaviors)”. Using feeling words and
> describing behaviors are tactics that many experts recommend for
> avoiding blame and judgment.
> 8.    Make your body language and your tone of voice relaxed and
> receptive. A harsh tone of voice, an angry frown or aggressive
> gestures can overpower a positive verbal message and appear
> threatening to your listeners. Since the majority of communication is
> nonverbal, be aware of what your loudness, tone of voice, gestures,
> posture and facial expression are saying, and focus on relaxing
> (tension is a signal of resistance) which signals you are open to
> their side of the conversation.
> C.    Message Meaning
> 9.    Be clear. Clearly state what behaviors you have observed and how
> that relates to your needs. If they do not realize what they are doing
> that is disrespectful or hurtful to you (or others), they will be more
> likely to be able to hear and understand you, and consider changing
> their behaviors if you can describe what they do clearly and
> objectively.
> 10.   Be as open and honest about your feelings and needs as possible.
> Expressing your feelings and needs is the best way to let others know
> where you are coming from and to help them get past their cognitive
> barriers and understand you. Information about feelings is important
> data about how a relationship is progressing and how it works for the
> people involved. Neither side deserves to be hurt or left out, or the
> relationship is not working and all involved should work to correct
> things.
> 11.   Focus on strengths and positive characteristics more than
> weaknesses. Positive reinforcement is the most powerful change
> technique that we have, so we can help each other to be more empowered
> by making note of strengths and successes in each other, instead of
> criticizing and focusing on problems and difficulties. If your
> feedback attacks or otherwise forces things into a negative frame,
> they are likely to become defensive and resist hearing you. So, work
> on creating a positive frame, with a goal to encourage others to move
> in a better direction.
> References
> McKay, Matthew, Fanning, Patrick & Paleg, Kim (2006). Chapter 8: Clean
> communication, pp. 60-72 in Couple skills: making your relationship
> work (2nd Ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
> Rivers, Dennis (2004). The Seven Challenges: A Workbook and Reader
> about Communicating More Cooperatively, 100 pages, Retrieved from
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