• How can you account for both your emotions and the emotions of others while communicating?
To have effective conversations, you must be aware of your emotions and the emotions of others. In this unit, you will explore the role of emotions in communication.
Essential Reading: Feelings and Emotions
Feelings are signals that your needs are being met or unmet. You can use feeling words to better help you understand your own needs and then communicate them when appropriate.
Sometimes it is easier to state an opinion or a grievance instead of thinking about or talking about your actual feelings. But if you use only feeling words—words that describe the feelings that are caused by outside triggers or your unmet needs—you will get closer to helping people understand what you are trying to say, what you need, or what you want from them.
Sometimes you use the words “I feel . . .” to talk about what you think or believe instead of how you feel. Think of the statement, “I feel like you are really wrong.” Is there a feeling word there? No, there is not. Instead, the speaker stated a thought or opinion and called it a feeling. This is very common. You might also mistakenly use the word feel to help explain that someone hurt you or that someone is to blame for something that happened to you. Using feel in these ways may cause the listener to become defensive or confused and create waste in conversations instead of value.
Emotions fall into two categories: primary emotions and secondary emotions. Primary emotions are universal across cultures and even species. The primary emotions are fear, anger, disgust, surprise, sadness, and happiness. Secondary emotions are nested in the primary emotions. The secondary emotions are sympathy, embarrassment, shame, guilt, pride, jealousy, envy, gratitude, admiration, indignation, and contempt.
Essential Reading: Feeling and Non-feeling Words
It is important to distinguish between feeling and non-feeling words.
Review the “Feeling and Non-feeling Words” list. Remember that some words that you think are feelings are not actually feelings but your perceptions of what someone is doing to you. When you come to a word on the non-feeling words list that you think is a feeling (rejected, for example, as many people believe this represents a feeling), ask yourself the following question about the non-feeling word you identified. It can help you distinguish the root emotion.
“When I perceive that I have been rejected, how does that make me feel?”
Reflection: Emotional Event
Identify a particularly emotional event or period in your life and then reflect on what made that event or period so emotional.
Write your responses on a piece of paper or download the “Reflection: Emotional Event” document to record your thoughts.
• Did anyone acknowledge your emotions?
• How did that affect the event or period in your life?
• Do you think your experience is the same as everyone else’s?
Essential Reading: Communicating Effectively
Human beings thrive on connection and on their ability to communicate with others. Communication can work effectively only if people can understand the
needs, purposes, and concerns of others they interact with. If you make the effort to become aware of the purposes and needs of others, they will work with you. If you can do this, you will be able to solve problems and remove barriers.
Essential Video: The Power of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is defined as your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.
Watch “The Power of Emotional Intelligence” (19:13) from TEDx.
Dr. Travis Bradberry explains how emotional intelligence is a factor when people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This video shows you how to use this critical skill to your advantage.
Reflection: Emotional Intelligence
Consider what you have learned so far, and then spend a few minutes answering the following questions as they apply to your personal or professional environment.
• How well do you recognize your emotions in the moment?
• Are you aware of how your emotions might impact what you do or say to others?
• Do you know your strengths and limitations?
• How open are you to candid feedback or different perspectives?
• How do you manage your disruptive emotions?
• Can you remain calm in highly emotional or stressful situations?
• Are you accountable for your choices?
• How do you handle change?
• Are you aware of other people’s emotions?
• Do you seek to understand the needs of others?
• Do you offer support and coaching to those around you?
• Are you respectful of diversity in people and opinions?
• Are you a good listener?
• Do you seek to understand others when they see things differently from you?
• Do you lead by example?
• Are you continuously looking for ways to collaborate better?
Tying It All Together: What is the connection between:
• emotional intelligence and mindfulness?
• neuroscience and brain plasticity?
• the cycle of value and the cycle of waste?
What other concepts have you learned in this course so far that can be tied to emotional intelligence?
Essential Reading: Reconnect to Humanity and Empathy
The first law of conversation is that all humans have purposes and concerns. When you try to build value, you need to show people you are aware of and sensitive to their purposes and concerns. You can do this through listening. Nonviolent communication (NVC) is a method that helps people stay focused on their own purposes and concerns as well as those of others so they can use language that leads to collaboration and communication instead of resistance.
When people perceive that you are threatening or unaware of their purposes and concerns, they resist. This is waste. When people perceive (believe) that you are aware of and sensitive to their purposes and concerns, they communicate and collaborate. This is value.
Language choices can be violent. People can use words that trigger bioreactions in other people. This is not about physical violence but, instead, the painful or stressful emotional effects of communication choices.
Nonviolent communication recommends the following four steps to help people reconnect to humanity and empathy in order to better communicate or listen for solutions.
• Speak in observations—Stay focused on facts and pieces of information that everyone can agree on.
• State your feelings—Use feeling words to express emotions.
• State your needs—Connect your feelings to your needs and acknowledge that your feeling comes from an unmet need you have and not something another person is doing to you.
• State what you need as a request and not as a demand—Keep your
request connected to your feelings and needs without blame or threat.
The nurse mentioned in a previous lesson felt worried about the patients, creating two needs that the listeners would not know about without more information. The nurse needs to know that the hospital is trustworthy to patients so that what the nurse tells patients will happen will actually happen. The nurse also needs to feel connected to other people and departments because it creates a feeling of connectedness to the mission of the hospital and makes the day more fun.
If the nurse were aware of these needs, they could use different language to express their request. Using nonviolent language will create more opportunities for value.
After using mindfulness and personal reflection, the nurse could say something like, “I had two patients last week who did not get their discharge paperwork when I said they would. I was a little embarrassed that I had made a mistake, but mostly I was worried because I want the patients to trust me and the hospital. This experience made me realize that our two departments haven’t collaborated in a long time. Do you think we could get together for training soon and check in on how we can help each other? I’d be happy to help. It would be great to see everyone.”
In this second version, the nurse started with an observation that is neither exaggerated nor judgmental. The nurse stated that they had two patients the previous week who had a specific experience with paperwork.
Next, the nurse was open and shared feelings. There was no blame placed on anything or anyone. The nurse was feeling embarrassed and worried.
The nurse then expressed their needs. Although they did not say the word need, they did share that the concern was with the patient trusting the nurse and the hospital. And the audience had likely connected personally to the nurse’s needs, which helped them know which language would help them move forward productively.
Finally, the nurse ended with a request. The request to collaborate did not include anything punitive or shaming. It was open-ended yet direct as to what the nurse thought would meet their need.
In this second version, by using the four components of nonviolent communication, the nurse was able to self-reflect and then share their thoughts in a way that created more value.
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