CONTACT Mod 7 Part 1 - Take it to the Next Level - Find Common Intention and get commitment and agreement


Hi everybody. This video is part 1 of step 7 in CONTACT. The last step.  2nd ‘T’ in CONTACT stands for Take it to the next level — find common intention and get a commitment.

You’ll learn all about the Power of Common Intention in this video and the difference between primary and secondary intentions, and in Part 2 of Taking it to the next level you’ll learn how to solidify commitments and get a lesson on mediating using a 6 step framework.

How do you find common intention when things seem so far apart and the energy is very high? It’s a process that takes time, patience and some deeper understanding of what intentions are.

If you’ve followed the first 6 steps in CONTACT effectively, choosing the right words at the right time, using healthy listening skills and strong clarifying, you’re almost there. You might even already have done some of it.

Before we go further into understanding intention, I want to make this note: Be careful of timing. If the timing feels off to do a sensitive, important or corrective conversation — Wait till it feels right.

Sometimes there are things outside of your control that have to happen before it makes sense to proceed with the sensitive situation. Other times, energy is simply off.

If the energy is too high — Wait. Postpone for now. In Module 1, I talked about when emotions spike, reason takes a dive and finding solutions is unlikely.

Wait till reason returns and emotions are at an even keel in both people. Then progress using the CONTACT system.

It might take a minute, or an hour or a day or more. Postpone if you have to. Reschedule the interaction for a time that’s good for both people.

There might be a time in a situation, or an interaction, where things are progressing but you’ve run out of time, don’t rush,  set a time and date to finish the conversation and make you sure you follow up.

Be careful though, if you postpone too long in a very sensitive situation it could happen that one of the people goes into a mind tunnel of chaos.

Misinterpreting the situation and traveling a mental and emotional path of unreality. 

Have you, or someone you know, ever misinterpreted how someone else thinks or feels about a situation? You found out later they were thinking and feeling something completely different than what you thought they were?

Or they had a completely different intention than you thought? Don’t postpone sensitive conversations for too long. Deal with them as quickly as you can.

If you have time, plan them before you undertake them. Use the CONTACT framework to make your communications plan.

Maybe get some outside perspective from a communications mentor. Someone you respect for being able to navigate sensitive situations to win-win outcomes.

Okay, timing is good and we’re back at step 7. You’ve gone through steps 1 to 6 in CONTACT. You’re ready to find the common intention and the win-win solutions.

Your focus at this point is intention. Emotions are grounded. Perspectives are on the table.  There’s authenticity, truth, understanding, some common ground. 

Finding common intention in a sensitive situation is often about compromise that makes sense to both parties! Understanding intention helps us navigate to compromise in those difficult situations safer and quicker. 

First I’ll define two types of intention and how they relate to each other and to basic human needs. #1. Primary intention which can be like an underlying intention.

And # 2. Secondary intention which usually overlaps primary. Together they make a link or chain of intentions.

Primary intention morphs out of our basic Human needs. There’s a one page needs list posted below that comes from Center for Non Violent Communication. Website:

We all have a need to fee safe, loved, authentic, have some fun, feel important, etc. we want to feel heard, acknowledged, connected, accepted, honest, peaceful, happy, etc.

All to different degrees, but common in all of us.  Do you like to feel loved, have fun, be important to someone, to live in truth?

We also have basic needs to give. To love, to make laugh, to contribute to others in a positive way. Again, everyone to different degrees but still present in each, and common.

Do you like to give your love to certain people? Do you like to feel like you’ve contributed to a successful endeavor? Do you like to make someone you like smile and laugh?

Our primary intentions and then actions come out of these basic needs. Check that needs list. Familiarize yourself with them.

Most of them, if not all, you’ll be able to relate to. They ‘re in you, and me, and the people you interact with in your life.

Knowing them helps reveal them and then you can navigate a crucial conversation to common intention, middle ground and towards solutions.

Secondary intentions are a little different. They’re like a spin off or building block that we think will get us our primary need and intention. They are often negative in nature.

Have you ever said something to someone because you wanted them to feel hurt, or embarrassed, or maybe angry?

I have. When I’ve done it, its because I wanted the other person to feel the same thing, I’m feeling, so they know what it feels like to be hurt or angry. 

Because I think they won’t like how it feels, and therefore, won’t do it to me, or someone else again.

I wanted to teach them a lesson. Can you relate? Have you experienced an intention chain like that? You want some peace so you intend to invoke a negative emotion (Secondary intention to get them to feel lousy so they stop, so you can have peace. Your primary intention.

They likely have some desire for peace too. In teaching lessons, we often use secondary intentions. They invoke negative chains of reaction and steer things away from resolution in sensitive situations.  

I’ve seen people use the secondary intention of startling someone, so they’ll pay attention. We trigger the emotions of being startled and surprised in them, so they stop doing what they’re doing, and listen to us, so we can teach them to do it different. 

Sometimes we’ll use the chain of negative secondary intention with people we love when the energy is a little chaotic.

We do it with strangers sometimes if we’re really triggered and want to teach a lesson.

Sometimes secondary intentions can work to positive outcomes. Some people, don’t show someone how to do something, because they expect them to know how to do it already and want to see if they can.

The secondary intention is to see if they can do what I want. The chain of intention continues. I want the task done right so I achieve my primary intention, and need, for sense of accomplishment.

In a sensitive or important conversation its important to separate out and define both secondary and primary intentions at some phase of the conversation. The bottom line is we want to feel harmony.

Harmony will be found in primary common intention. Revealing and validating secondary intentions helps us get to the primary intention.  Do it as quickly as you can.

Sometimes they aren’t there and its easier to navigate to the common primary intention quickly.

But when they are present. Asking the right discovery questions allows us to navigate through the chain, to the primary basic need and positive intentions, where we find that common intention.

When you notice your own secondary negative intentions, check them. Stop. Pause, Become aware of your primary intention. Then proceed with sharing and reacting according to the primary intention.

When you notice another person is operating from their secondary intentions, first invoke some empathy and think of a time you did it.

Then honor the fact that’s the other persons place, in their process, at this moment in time. What is just is.

When someone is stuck in their secondary intention, be gentle, validate them. Then ask a couple questions or state a couple observations that might help them see things different and open their mind to their primary intention.  

Know in your mind and heart that all things can, and do, shift, especially with new information and awareness. Focus on different observations, perception possibilities and shifting to the awareness of primary intention happens quicker.

In part 2 of Taking it to the next level, I ‘ll share an example of finding common intention in a mediating role. You ‘ll learn 6 steps to being a good mediator.

If you’re a leader, you’ll find yourself in mediating roles at some point, whether you like it or not. Its good to know how to do it.

What would it be like if you were confident in your conversation navigation skills? Practice CONTACT any time you get the opportunity and you will get confident.

Thanks for watching. Go out and make it an awesome day. Like this video if you like it. See you in the next one. By for now.

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