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Formula For Communication by Abby Rosen

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Formula For Communication
By Abby Rosen, Ph.D.
InnerSource Director

Rule 2 of Life’s Rules for the Road states, “Healthy communication facilitates healthy relationships.” Here’s a simple formula for creating healthy communications in situations where feelings may be difficult to express.

Begin your communication by appreciating and/or understanding how the other person feels. You can say: “I can understand that…,” or “I can appreciate…” This creates a sense of safety for the listener by helping them feel that you understand their experience.

Express how you feel about the situation. Healthy communication uses “I” messages, as opposed to “you” messages. Express your feelings from a part I call “the Truthsayer.” This part speaks “truth” without judgment or blame and communicates your feelings from a place of strength.

Share what you need with the other person. Whether the other person is able to meet your needs or not almost doesn’t matter. Just the ability to stand up for yourself and say what you need increases your self-esteem, and creates a sense of empowerment in life.

Here’s an example of The Formula in action:

Jane came home from work tired and is critical of Russ when he returns home late. Russ responds: “Jane, I can appreciate that you’ve been working hard and are tired, and when you talk to me that way I feel criticized and angry. I need you to tell me if you are upset about my being late, without being so hostile and critical. I had important paperwork to do at the office, yet I should have called. Next time I will.”

Russ was able to communicate using this three-step formula: He supported Jane’s core sensitivity, he expressed his feelings, and he asked for what he needed. You can too!



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