Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Talking Stick

Did you know that a so-called talking stick can help you communicate more effectively? In fact, it's amazing what such a simple tool can do!

While I was training a group of people some weeks ago one of the participants summarized the basic challenge of effective communication so well...

"When people have a conversation, I believe mostly they're only
speaking with themselves, and not really listening to the other person. Thus, instead of interaction and mutual influence, we're brainlessly living in a box and seldom step outside to truly understand the mind of another person".

And how true that is!

Next time you're in a tense discussion on emotional matters try to apply the principle of the talking stick, which is: The other person holding the stick gets to talk. You listen. Before you can speak your own mind, first express your understanding of what the other person just said, with that person's own approval. Then you get to hold the stick yourself and share your own feelings.

We do this when dealing with conflict in our family, and it makes a huge difference. You wonder how? Instead of escalating arguments and increasing tension, we use the stick to drill down and get to the root cause of the issue(s) with respect.

Eivind with our family's talking stick in hand.

Personally, I enjoy Stephen Covey's explanation of the talking stick at YouTube:

"Just agree to this simple rule; No one can make their point until they restate the other person's point to his or her satisfaction".

Stephen Covey is on my list of "Great People".

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