1. Own your perceptions/feelings and distinguish them from "the way it is." Skip labels and vague words. Let the person know how you feel about things and see things. Don't take your point of view for granite (or granted).


2. Complain Effectively. State the facts (actions one can see on video tape) on which you base your conclusion or perception. [The action complaint]


The listener must be able to see/hear it on a video.

Focus on actions, communications, voice tones, voice volumes, specific words.

Talk about specific incidents.

Don't assume you know the other person's intentions or feelings.



3. Coach the other person on what would work better. State the alternative actions or communications (words, voice tones, voice volumes, facial expressions) that would work better for you or wouldn't "push your button." [The action request]


Avoid telling them to change their feelings, attitudes or personality.

Focus on "video" descriptions.

Include specifics about time (when, how often, etc.)



4. Negotiate a workable agreement by finding some actions that would work for both of you. [Negotiated agreement]


Make a counterproposal that would be more acceptable to you if the person's request is unsatisfactory.

Find a different action that would satify his or her request.

Check at some agreed upon interval to make sure it's working.

Fine tune it then if you need to.

Apply consequences if appropriate.

Keep your commitment.

Write a note to yourself, post a list on the refrigerator or put it in your appointment book if necessary.



5. Let the other person know when he or she does something that you appreciate. Again, make sure your comments are in video talk, so the other person understands specifically what actions you liked. [Action praise]


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