Misunderstandings and unintended offenses are just some of the ways person-to-person communication can go wrong. When we communicate with each other, we run great risks. Analyzing information flow using the Satir Interaction Model, we gain insight into the elements of the communications process, and we come to a new understanding of how it can go wrong. In this fun and interactive program, we explore how our communication system works — and how it doesn't. We emphasize communication under stress, where the most expensive failures occur. And we might just change how some of us send and receive interpersonal communications.
- Person-to-person communications are complex
- Problems that do arise are difficult to fix
- Preventing problems is easier than repairing them
- We have little control over how others interpret what we communicate
- For best results, prevent problems by changing our inner processes
This presentation is based on an interactive talk presented to BOSCON 2001, the regional conference on quality sponsored by the Boston Section of ASQ. It was honored as Best of BOSCON, on the basis of participant feedback. Here is some of what participants wrote on their evaluations:
- It really made me think about how I react in stressful situations, and it will affect how I respond. If only everyone I work with had attended the same talk…
- Critical in interpersonal communications in hi-tech industries
- Thank you!
- This will be very useful when dealing with the folks back at the office. Thanks!
Program structure and content
- Whichever format you elect — presentation, seminar, workshop, or clinic — we do some actual communication. So we begin with introductions. We introduce ourselves to each other, and we introduce the ideas that we will be talking about.
- Examples of problem communications
- A system as powerful as the human communication system can fail in a rich variety of different ways. We look at some of them — from a humorous and provocative perspective.
- What do we mean by communications?
- One problem that can arise in person-to-person communication is the failure to align the meanings of words. So let's agree on what we mean by communications.
- A model of interpersonal communications
- Analyzing information flow using the Satir Interaction Model, we gain insight into the elements of the communications process, and we come to a new understanding of how it can go wrong.
- Sources of defects
- We use the Satir Interaction Model to explore how communications failures can so easily arise. This is a fun and interactive illustration that never fails to amaze.
- Once we understand how communications failures arise, we can easily see how we can limit their occurrence and impact. These interventions are simple and straightforward.
In this fun and interactive presentation, we explore how our person-to-person communication system works, with special emphasis on its failure modes. We emphasize communication under stress, where the most expensive failures occur. And we might just change how some of us send and receive interpersonal communications.
Understanding how we communicate is not enough. We must have access to what we know in the moment, when we're deeply involved in problematic communication. That's why we use an experiential approach in which participants actually get out of their chairs and do things. The doing itself becomes practice and heightens understanding and retention.
Our approach is unusual. Far from the dry, laptop-driven format of most corporate presentations these days, the program is highly interactive and experiential. Not only is the method effective as a training tool, it's lively and fun.
This is one program that brings benefits to everyone. There's no need to segregate participants by profession, by specialty or by "org chart level" — in fact, this program gives your organization a way to bring together people from diverse parts of the organization.
Available formats range from 50 minutes to one full day. The longer formats allow for more coverage or more material, more experiential content and deeper understanding of issues specific to audience experience. But even in the shorter formats, participants regularly report that they had fun and learned a lot.
- "Rick is a dynamic presenter who thinks on his feet to keep the material relevant to the
— Tina L. Lawson, Technical Project Manager, BankOne (now J.P. Morgan Chase)
- "Rick truly has his finger on the pulse of teams and their communication."
— Mark Middleton, Team Lead, SERS