Think about how you would talk to a friend who seems upset. How would you react? You would probably want to understand why your friend is upset. Your goal would be to understand your friend’s emotional need so you can do something to help. When you communicate in this way, you are moving toward the cycle of value.
Essential Reading: Cycle of Value
The cycle of value begins by aligning yourself to the needs of others. For long-term gains (the type you will need in your family, at work, in your classes, and at school), you need cooperation and the benefits that come with working together—or the cycle of value.
To begin the cycle of value, you must learn to observe, to watch, and to suspend judgment.
Review each phase of the “Cycle of Value,” and reflect on a time when you participated in a conversation that had value. From the cycle of value, choices in a conversation need to add value and lead to alignment. Good choices lead to greater alignment, improved relationships, greater learning, and increased value. Language choices such as making requests and observations about the situation lead to creating trust between the parties. Being assertive, taking personal responsibility, or focusing on a win-win attitude are examples of behaviors that can lead to trust.
Essential Reading: Cycle of Waste
The cycle of waste occurs when people try to “win” an argument. You can see this clearly when candidates meet for formal debates. The intention is not to understand the opposing side but to disagree and undermine the other person’s view. Winning an argument might be satisfying, but it is only a temporary gain. Over time, the debate keeps spiraling down the cycle of waste, and people lose the benefits that come when they work together. The cycle of waste starts with disagreement, moves to trying to defend a position, and then advances to destroying the other person’s point. The cycle repeats itself in a snowball effect. Think about the last conversation you had that was negative.
Essential Reading: What Is Their Purpose?
The choices you make in a conversation impact your ability to build value or create waste. When in a disagreement, the tendency to blame, make assumptions and judgments, or reject differing perspectives leads to distrust. The lack of trust encourages the parties involved to emotionally disconnect from the interaction and avoid constructive communication. To create value, the focus must shift to understanding the other party’s needs and views.
When communicating with others, ask yourself this question: “What is their purpose?”
Your ability to listen, to absorb the information, and to respond to them, letting them feel heard, is the key to your success. It is essential to establishing the cycle of value in your communications.
Lesson 5.3: Laws of Conversation
• What are the laws of conversation?
Just as your listening skills can create either value or waste in a conversation, so can the specific words and details you choose to share. These communication choices are usually a result of the laws of conversation. In this unit, you will explore the laws of conversation and some listening dos and don’ts.
Essential Reading: Laws of Conversation
The following are the laws of conversation:
- All humans have purposes and concerns.
- When people perceive that you are threatening or unaware of their purposes and concerns, they resist.
- When people perceive (believe) that you are aware of and sensitive to their purposes and concerns, they communicate and collaborate.
Laws of Conversation and the Cycles of Waste and Value
The cycles of waste and value are intrinsically tied to the laws of conversation. The most important thing to remember about the laws of conversation is that success depends on what people perceive. It does not matter how much you truly care about the needs, concerns, or purposes of those you are having a conversation with. If they perceive that you are threatening or unaware of their needs, they will resist. This starts a cycle of waste. On the other hand, when people perceive that what you are doing aligns with their needs, you start the cycle of value.
Essential Reading: Laws of Conversation Example
Say a nurse wanted to explain a problem to another department. In a very professional voice, they might choose to say, “Maybe your team needs updated training on how to intake patients to our floor. It seems like some of your employees are doing it wrong, and it makes patients so mad. I keep getting patients with nowhere to go.”
Even if the nurse said these words with a smile, there is a good chance a word like “wrong” could trigger a bioreaction in the audience. In this way, the word “wrong” is violent. Other phrases like “makes patients so mad” could also put the listeners on the defensive. The problem is what the nurse said did not recognize and acknowledge the purposes, needs, and concerns of the individual or the department they work in.
Lesson 6: Communicating Needs and Emotions
Everyone has needs. They have basic physical needs—such as food, air, and water—but also more complex needs for intimacy, respect, security, and achievement. When people communicate, it is important to identify the other person’s needs. It is also important to account for emotions in conversations.
Lesson 6.1: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Communication
• How can Maslow’s hierarchy of needs inform your communication with others?
To align your conversations, you must be aware of your own needs as well as the needs of those you are interacting with. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provides you with a guide to understanding needs. In this unit, you will explore how Maslow’s hierarchy applies to communication.
Essential Reading: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs organizes all needs into five categories: physiological,
safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
“Maslow’s hierarchy of needs diagram” by Mayrum, Getty Images Content License Agreement
5 points possible (ungraded)
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs consists of five levels that include the following:
social belonging needs
Essential Reading: Maslow’s Needs in Conversations with Others
When you talk with someone, consider the types of needs that person has. What types of needs do you have in the conversation? Understanding both your needs and their needs will help you align and then act.
But what happens when needs are ignored? How do people feel when their needs and emotions are not acknowledged in a conversation? Needs that are ignored or unfulfilled often lead to bioreactions in all parties of the conversation.
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