ACTIVE SPEAKING: For some people, speaking up for themselves can be scary. This is particularly true if you came from a family or former relationship where it wasn’t safe to express yourself. I will be there to support you emotionally, and help you find the words if you are stuck.
I will be coaching you in how to speak up for yourself using I-Statements and other tools. I will also teach you how to avoid conversation sabotage and catastrophes. For example, “I feel like you are being a jerk,” is not an effective I-Statement! It is a You-Statement in disguise. It will lead to a predictable defensive reaction in your partner, and you will both be back in the same old win-lose pattern.
I will help you fine-tune and pace your Active Speaking skills, so that your partner will have an easier time taking in your viewpoint. I will also encourage you to delve a little deeper into the feelings below your thoughts, and encourage your partner to listen to what your heart is saying.
Speaking up for yourself effectively is not easy for some people. But I will support and guide you, and encourage your partner to give you lots of appreciations!
ACTIVE LISTENING: For other people, the listener’s role is the harder part, because you are asked to refrain from going into a natural “Yes, but..” reaction. Instead, your job is to listen as clearly and as undefensively as possible.
Remember, as the listener, you also have the right to ask the speaker to slow down, repeat, or break their long statements into smaller chunks that are easier to remember and digest. I will model this new way of listening if it seems hard at first. I will coach you until you get it and start to reap the benefits of deeper listening.
Active Listening is not easy for some people. But I will support and guide you, and encourage your partner to give you lots of appreciations!
The actual skills in Active Speaking and Active Listening are not complicated. Most people can learn this in one session. The hard part is learning to slow down and use a conscious communication tool when either or both of you are getting upset. See skill #3 Anger management and self-regulation, below.