Here are some tips Dr. Lakin shared with the LCWN luncheon attendees in May. Enjoy!

Communication is the only tool that we humans have to effectively get our needs fulfilled with one another.Therefore, it behooves us to be as effective as we can in getting our message across and in receiving those of others.  Communication alone, without emotion, is a complex phenomenon.In the '70s, a communication researcher concluded that the majority (56%) of the message is conveyed VISUALLY between communicators; that is, what we SEE as others attempt to have us receive their message.Another 37% of the message exchange occurs VOCALLY - through our vocal tone.The final 7% is the words or the VERBAL exchange of messages. To be effective, these three things must be consistent in order for others to get the messagethat we intended for them to receive.


THEN when we disagree with another person, when emotions escalate on both parties' part, and when it is critical that the relationship be preserved, we find the casual conversation turns into the need for a "crucial conversation".Four authors of a series of communication texts on this topic indicate that when those emotions interfere with our ability to hear what another is saying  our brains get "dumbed down" - that we communicate using a "reptilian brain".As a result, we then go away and tell stories about the other person and/or ourselves.We will tell VILLAIN stories, VICTIM stories, and HELPLESS stories to anyone who will listen.  In addition, we then choose to go to SILENCE VIOLENCE (verbal attacks, control strategies, labeling) as a way of managing the situation and the other party.A contemporary option is for us to go to DIALOGUE in a SAFE way with the other person.That means we must change our thoughts about him/her in order to behave and/or act civilly toward them in the future.It also means that we manage our visual, vocal, and verbal messages so that the other person feels respected in the process.SAFETY necessitates that we own our role in the escalating situation and that we attempt to manage ourselves to prevent lashing out at another.


To read more about this communication model and explore various scripts, get the New York Times Best-Seller "Crucial Conversations:Tools for Talking When Stakes are High" by Kerry Patterson, et. al.If you would like more skill building with this model and other communication strategies, contact Lynda Lakin, Ph.D. at for personal coaching, training, and consulting.