Sunday, November 20, 2011

toward more effective communication

Over the past year I've gone to at least 4 workshops on more effective communication, and I'd like to comment on my take-home messages from each, rather than a summary of what happened. When possible I've linked to online summaries of the session content or an explanation of the ideas.

Powerful Questions presented by Carton Nettleton -- summarized by Sam Laing.
Assuming we have established a trusting relationship, it's much more effective to ask open-ended questions, or even questions that help others analyze a situation. Listed from more powerful to less, we've got:
  • Why
  • How
  • What
  • Who/when/where
  • Which/yes-no questions
The questions at the top help people process the information themselves.

Refactoring Conversation Smells by Gil Broza & Luiz Claudio Parzianello
deletion - generalization - distortion; deletion is summarized by Esther Derby.
Just as in Weinberg, Seashore & Seashore's "What did you say? The art of giving & receiving feedback", it's often very useful to extract comments from their emotional wrapping (distortion). Or, to follow up with a person for more specific information (generalization), or to ask for missing information (deletion).

Wendy Thompson's presentation of the Four Horsemen that kill teamwork
stonewalling - contempt - criticism - defensiveness
These are red flags in a team environment. When you see them, dig further to find out what's going on.

Pat Arcady's Open Space (slow download) session on Navigating Conflict with IntegrityIt was interesting to see Pat in action--she's a skilled mediator/facilitator, and she taught me to hold back more so that people around me can show their smarts when they discover what a workshop is designed to help them discover.

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