Verbal Messages

Our use of language has tremendous power in the type of atmosphere that is created at the problem-solving table. Words that are critical, blaming, judgmental or accusatory tend to create a resistant and defensive mindset that is not conducive to productive problem solving. On the other hand, we can choose words that normalize the issues and problems and reduce resistance. Phrases such as “in some districts, people may . . .”, “it is not uncommon for . . .” and “for some folks in similar situations” are examples of this.

Sending effective messages requires that we state our point of view as briefly and succinctly as possible. Listening to a rambling, unorganized speaker is tedious and discouraging – why continue to listen when there is no interchange? Lengthy dissertations and circuitous explanations are confusing to the listener and the message loses its concreteness, relevance, and impact. This is your opportunity to help the listener understand YOUR perspective and point of view. Choose your words with the intent of making your message as clear as possible, avoiding jargon and unnecessary, tangential information.

Effective Verbal Messages:

    1. Are brief, succinct, and organized

    2. Are free of jargon

    3. Do not create resistance in the listener

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