CONTACT Mod 2 Part 7 - 2 communications mistakes to avoid that hurt sensitive, crucial or corrective conversations.


Hi everybody, This part of CONTACT Out Yourself Wisely, is about 2 communications mistakes to avoid that hurt Important conversations.  Avoid these mistakes so you keep people engaged and moving towards solutions, especially when the conversation is sensitive, intense or corrective.

Avoid negative labeling and name calling

Avoid expecting others to know what you’re thinking, feeling or expecting. Tell Them, Don't ask them to guess. 

Why avoid these 2 things? 1st thing, In my experience, negative labeling and name calling often put people on the defensive and makes them want to attack back. It might turn them off and de-motivate them, make them go into a cocoon. Either way it blocks effective communication.

What happens for you if I call you dumb, or ignorant, insensitive, egotistical?  Do you like it when someone labels you as a bad person in some way or calls you a negative name? Probably not. Do you feel like engaging in positive or solution oriented conversation when that happens? Probably not.

If you want to keep people engaged and be a good communicator you’ll have to learn to discipline yourself and avoid negative labeling and name calling.

Instead, share your perspectives from your personal Human Interaction Process HIP awareness with ‘I’ statements and use gentle words. Label and name the behavior, not the person. This gives the person an ability to separate the behavior and action from themselves and avoid it next time.

When I label or name the person, it sticks them to the behavior and implies they can’t change it. It takes away choice and options and can invoke low self esteem or lack of confidence or attacking behavior.

Labeling and name calling often trigger anger, vengeance or resentment. Sometimes they will trigger a sense of desperation, seclusion, depression and a feeling of being stuck in a place of negativity.

As a good communicator or leader we want to avoid triggering these negative emotions of aggressiveness or passive aggressiveness. We want to trigger positive emotions of hope, confidence, perseverance, patience, persistence, feeling supported, etc. When we do that, we are seen as a good communicator and leader.

So what do we do when the automatic trigger is to negatively label and name call? How do we stop it and what words do we use instead?

Before choosing words, the 1st step is to become aware of using negative labels and name calling. 2nd step is to commit to stopping it. 3rd step is to practice using other word choice when the urge to label and name negatively triggers inside. Here’s some word choice options for you.

I’ll use a silly example of someone closing a door on them self. I could say, ‘You Dummy’

Instead A good leader and communicator might say, ‘When I saw you close the door on your own hand, I thought you weren’t being very present in that moment, and I’m concerned something might be going on for you that caused the mishap. Is your hand okay? Is there something going on for you that I can offer some support in?  

I shared what I witnessed. I labeled and named the behavior as not being present. I acknowledged there might be something going on, on a deeper level. I used gentle words, shared my concern for their well being and I offered support.  

Another option you could use, is to own the label or name of the behavior as a trait you’ve personally experienced, and then share the concern for them in the situation at hand. Here’s what you could say:

Once I pulled an airheaded move and closed the door on my hand. I had a lot going on and was thinking about something else not being present. Is your hand okay? Is there something going on for you that I can help with? Do you need some time for yourself?

Another option might be to put the statement in the third person. When someone closes the door on themselves, people see them as airheaded. I don’t want other people to see you as an airhead. Are you okay? Is something going on for you?

But to be truly authentic and honest, I statements, instead of third person, is more accurate and true. For example:  When I see someone doing closing the door on their hand, I think they’re not present and there’s too much going on.  I’m concerned. How can I help?   This is honest, clear, transparent and supportive.

Keep in mind, whether sharing personal perceptions of a negative situation in ‘I’ statements or third person, a good leader and communicator will go another step and also provide an option or two for possible solutions. They give support.

They also ask the other person for any solutions they might be thinking about. The extra step of solution seeking is very important. It shows that you value the other persons opinion, and it helps move things forward and it keeps the conversation flowing.

It might be shorter and easier to say, ‘You dummy’, but, its detrimental to YOU as much as the other person. Good communication and leadership takes awareness, commitment, and it takes more time and practice. It’s worth it.

Stop negative labeling and name calling. An extra minute, 2 or 5 will go a long way to building and maintaining healthy relationships. As a leader, good friend, or loving family member, it’s your responsibility to take the time to communicate effectively.

On the other side of things, a good leader and communicator will use positive labels and names any time they have a chance. It invokes positive feelings and thoughts. As a good leader, team member, friend or loving family member you want to invoke positive feelings.

Its your responsibility to be a positive contributing member to your networks, and to society as a whole. Notice and appreciate positive behavior. Build positive energy. Use positive names and labels at every opportunity you come across with others, at work or at home and with friends.

The 2nd  big mistake people make is expecting people to know what you’re thinking and feeling or expecting.. It’s unrealistic. Each person’s Human Interaction Process, our HIP  is as unique as our DNA. Other people don’t know what you think, feel or expect most of the time unless you tell them clearly. Don’t say What do you expect

Unrealistic or unclear expectations in a sensitive or crucial conversation gets poor outcomes. How do you feel when someone expects something from you that you are, or were, unaware of?  What happens in general when expectations are unknown or misinterpreted? Results are poor.

Tell them what you’re thinking and feeling. Express your expectations clearly. Don’t assume they know. Don’t ask them to guess. Don’t say, “What do you expect…?”

Has someone ever said to you, What do you expect? And you didn’t know how to answer It’s frustrating and when it happens to me, I feel unsure of what to do next. I feel a little defensive and quite cautious.

Don’t say,  What do you think I feel? or What do you expect me to think? They are insinuating someone else is supposed to know what you think or feel in every situation. It’s unrealistic to expect them to be inside you and know.

And it has an undercurrent threat, that if they don’t know, they are not a smart or good person. It’s not fair to expect someone else to know what we are thinking, feeling, or expecting and it’s not realistic..

Even the most psychic and intuitive people I know are inaccurate some of the time. They don’t know accurately or completely what someone else is thinking, feeling or expecting every time.

In close long term relationships, we often do know what the other person is thinking and feeling, and they often know us, but when the situation becomes conflicting, and energy is high, we can easily be wrong. So can they.

In sensitive, crucial or corrective conversations, things could easily go off track if you expect someone to be super intuitive and know what you might be thinking or feeling or expecting.  

Don’t say, ‘What do you expect me to think or feel?’ Tell them. Use I statements. Say ‘When I witnessed ABC, My perception was DEF, I felt GHI and I want KLM, I expect XYZ.

Then go to the next step and Ask. What do you think or feel when you just heard what I said? What does hearing what I just said make you want to do?

A really good communicator, no matter how intuitive they are, will ask and confirm what others are thinking, feeling and expecting and they will tell the other person what they are witnessing, thinking, feeling, intending and expecting.

Tell them accurately and authentically about you and then ask authentically about them. It makes for a good communication process.

Recap. Avoid negative labeling and name calling. It puts people on the defensive, diminishes self esteem, pushes them away and hinders effective communicating. Share your HIP with I statements instead of negative labeling and name calling.

‘When I saw you close the door on your own hand, I thought you weren’t being very present in that moment, and I’m concerned something might be going on for you that caused the mishap. Is your hand okay? Is there something going on for you that I can offer some support in?

Use positive names and labels every chance you get. It spreads positive energy and it’s good for your health too.

Avoid saying, What do you expect? Or What do you think I’m feeling or thinking? Don’t expect them to know. You’re asking them to guess or assume. They would probably guess wrong anyway.

If they were to guess, they would probably guess what they would be feeling, thinking and expecting, which would likely be different from you because each person’s HIP Human Interaction Process is as unique as our DNA. Honor uniqueness and differences.

Tell them what you expect, what you’re thinking and feeling and what your intentions are. When you avoid negative labeling and name calling and stop expecting others to know what you are expecting, thinking and feeling, you will be a better communicator and leader

Be authentic, honest, gentle and direct with expressing your HIP and asking about another’s.

Starting now. Commit to avoiding negative names and labels when you’re communicating. Get aware of when you’re about to use a negative label or name. Stop. Be disciplined. Practice effective word choice.

Build on your habit to use positive names and labels. Tell others what you think, feel, expect and want using I statements.  Ask them what they think feel expect and want. Doing this will make you a better communicator and leader.

Go out and make it an awesome day. Thanks for watching. Like this video if you like. Bye for now.

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