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The Dynamics of the Communication

Conditions Hindering Effective Communication


Feedback Techniques
To see ourselves as others see us.

• Information about the impact that people have on one another in the here and now

• Communicating information so that the receiver can ask for clarification or elaboration (2-way)

• Process for building interpersonal relationships
- about a specific behavior evaluation
- comes soon after the behavior is dumped saved up
- is direct - me to you me to Jones to you
- is owned by the person "I" "they"
- includes feelings no feelings
- is checked by sender for understanding assumes understanding
- leaves person free to change demands conformity


Feedback Techniques  
1. Focus feedback on behavior rather than the person
Refer to what people do rather than comment on what we imagine the are. This focus on behavior further implies that we use adverbs (which relate to actions) rather than adjectives (which relate to qualities) when referring to a person. Thus we might say a person "talked considerably in this meeting", rather than this person "is a loud¬ mouth".

2. Focus feedback on observations rather than inferences
Observations refer to what we can see or hear in the person’s behavior, while inferences refer to our interpretations of the behavior (as in "you were defensive", or "you are a driver"). The sharing of inferences or conclusions may be valuable, but they must be so identified.

3. Focus feedback on description rather than judgment
The effort to describe represents a process for reporting what occurred, while judgment refers to an evaluation in terms of good or bad, right or wrong, nice or not nice. The judgments arise out of a personal frame of reference or value grid, whereas description represents more neutral reporting.

4. Give feedback on a continuum of behavior, when possible, as opposed to categories
Using a continuum on which any behavior may fall, stressing quantity which is objective and measurable rather than quality, which is subjective and judgmental is often possible. Thus, a person may fall on a continuum from low participation to high participation, rather than good or bad participation. Not to think in terms of continuum is to trap ourselves into thinking in categories, which have different values for different persons and as such, provide blocks in feedback.

5. Focus feedback on behavior related to a specific situation, preferably to the "here and now", rather than to behavior in the abstract placing it in the "there and then"
What you and I do is always tied in some way to time and place, and we increase our understanding of behavior by keeping it tied to time and place. Information is most meaningful if given as soon as appropriate after the observation or reactions occur.

6. Focus feedback on the sharing of ideas and information rather than giving advice
By sharing ideas and information, we leave the receiver free to decide in the light of their own goals in a particular situation at a particular time, how to use the ideas and the information. When we give advice, in a sense we take away the person's freedom to determine what is the most appropriate course of action, as well as reducing personal responsibility for their own behavior.

7. Focus feedback on exploration of alternatives rather than answers or solutions
The more we can focus on a variety of procedures and means for attaining a particular goal, the less likely we are to accept prematurely a particular answer or solution which may or may not fit a particular problem. Many of us go around with a collation of answers and solutions for which there are no problems.

8. Focus feedback on the value it may have to the recipient, not on the value or "release" that it provides the person giving the feedback
The information provided should serve the recipient’s needs rather than the giver’s needs. Help and feedback need to be given and perceived as an offer, not an imposition.

9. Focus feedback on the amount of information that the receiver can use rather than on the amount that you might like to give
To overload people with information is to reduce the possibility that they may use what they receive effectively. When we give more than can be used, we are satisfying some need for ourselves rather than being useful to the other person.

10. Focus feedback on time and place so that personal data can be shared at appropriate times
Because receiving and using personal feedback involves the most possible emotional reactions, it is important to be sensitive to when it is appropriate to provide feedback. Information presented at an inappropriate time may do more harm than good.

11. Focus feedback on what is said rather than why it is said
The aspects of information which relate to the what, how, when and where, of what is said are observable characteristics. The why of what is said takes up from the observable to the inferred, and brings up questions of "motives". To make assumptions about the motives of the person giving information may prevent us from hearing or cause us to distort what is said. In short, if I question why people give me feedback I may not hear what they say.