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Author Topic: Sode #38: Communication Do's  (Read 9429 times)
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Meg
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« on: March 18, 2009, 05:26:22 PM »

Part 3 of the "Don't kick people out of your game" series. 

You've decided you need to either mediate a problem or address a problem that you're involved in.  Now what?  Before you even sit down all the way through the follow up, a step by step of tactics to keep in mind.

This episode will be released on or around April 6th.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 11:08:26 AM by Meg » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2009, 05:27:52 PM »

Do pull out your dick.
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2009, 09:04:49 AM »

no, do explain your desire to pull out your dick, while aknowleding that the other party may take issue with it.
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2009, 02:03:19 PM »

I-language.

E-Prime.
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Meg
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009, 04:47:23 PM »

The show is up!

http://brilliantgameologists.com/blog/80

Communication Musts:
Pause
Paraphrase (not parot-phrase)
Rapport
Voice:
•   Approachable Voice
•   Plural forms
•   Exploratory Language
•   Positive Presuppositions

Pay close attention
•   Posture
•   Gesture
•   Tonality
•   Language
•   Breathing

I feel… like/that/it/as if/ you/ they/
Observation vs. Evaluation
Give why behind/ clarification
Take responsibility

When you are mediating a problem:
•   Approach Calmly
•   Acknowledge feelings.  Express Empathy
•   Gather information
      o   Summarize Impressions
      o   Analyze Causal Factors
      o   Construct New Learning
      o   Commit to Application
•   Restate the problem-- Translate- seek first to understand. Reflect content
•   State the Goal
•   Ask for ideas and solutions.  Presuppose readiness to find a pathway.  “and you’re looking for a way to make that happen”
      o   Specify success
      o   Anticipate Approaches
      o   Establish Personal Learning Focus
•   Give follow up support

Invite Cognitive Shift
      o   Pose a question that invites analysis
      o   Invite creation or imagination
      o   Seek an expression of values
      o   Elicit a choice from among alternatives

When you are part of the problem:
•   Think win-win
•   Seek first to understand
•   Investigate to get at root of problem
      o   Seek an expression of values
      o   Pose a question that invites analysis
      o   Actively Listen
•   Listening set asides:
      o   Autobiographical
      o   Inquisitive
      o   Solution
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2009, 09:03:40 PM »

Yay! I've been waiting (im)patiently for this one.
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2009, 02:51:24 AM »

The quote that was almost-remembered in the cast was originally said by Eleanor Roosevelt: "Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Loved the cast.  Considering duct-taping several people to chairs and forcing them to listen to 37 and 38.  Having a hard time making that action a clear win-win.  Perhaps if I wear something low-cut and feed them cookies? Confused
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2009, 10:30:16 AM »

Loved the cast.  Considering duct-taping several people to chairs and forcing them to listen to 37 and 38.  Having a hard time making that action a clear win-win.  Perhaps if I wear something low-cut and feed them cookies? Confused

That's the spirit! Big Grin
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2009, 08:27:34 PM »

I'm in the same boat with cfk.  Although I don't think a low cut shirt would work in my case. Brownies on the other hand... 
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2009, 01:01:54 AM »

Regarding the part about establishing positive assumptions (I forget right now the specific term from the cast), I actually react very badly to such a tact.  When someone like a manager or something similar starts off with "As you've been thinking about this," or "While you've been working on this,", I immediately take it as an implicit statement of "I know you haven't done a damn thing and I'm going to passive-aggressively make you feel guilty about it."

Is this my own neurosis at fault?  Mostly, sure.  But I suspect it's something I'm far from unique in feeling.
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2009, 02:14:45 AM »

Regarding the part about establishing positive assumptions (I forget right now the specific term from the cast), I actually react very badly to such a tact.  When someone like a manager or something similar starts off with "As you've been thinking about this," or "While you've been working on this,", I immediately take it as an implicit statement of "I know you haven't done a damn thing and I'm going to passive-aggressively make you feel guilty about it."

Is this my own neurosis at fault?  Mostly, sure.  But I suspect it's something I'm far from unique in feeling.

That's called being a dick, and is something else entirely.  The attitude and goal of positive assumptions is to do the opposite. You are framing the case positively so they wont react badly.  Here is a real one I use at work. 

when someone has forgotten to do something I say "Did something get in the way of you getting X done?"  Rather than "You forgot to do X."  It is just a better option. 
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2009, 12:37:30 PM »

Excellent episode.  Clap Definitely warrants at least one more listen to absorb...maybe take some notes...
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WarrenLocke
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2009, 08:51:11 PM »

Regarding the part about establishing positive assumptions (I forget right now the specific term from the cast), I actually react very badly to such a tact.  When someone like a manager or something similar starts off with "As you've been thinking about this," or "While you've been working on this,", I immediately take it as an implicit statement of "I know you haven't done a damn thing and I'm going to passive-aggressively make you feel guilty about it."

Is this my own neurosis at fault?  Mostly, sure.  But I suspect it's something I'm far from unique in feeling.

That's called being a dick, and is something else entirely.  The attitude and goal of positive assumptions is to do the opposite. You are framing the case positively so they wont react badly.  Here is a real one I use at work. 

when someone has forgotten to do something I say "Did something get in the way of you getting X done?"  Rather than "You forgot to do X."  It is just a better option. 

I certainly agree it's a better way to approach that situation.  I guess where I'm coming from is the whole discussion seems geared towards how to solve a problem with people who aren't particularly self-aware, and don't realize what you're doing.  Or, they would also work well with someone who understands what you're doing and approaches problems the same way (although in those cases it's less likely to be as hard a problem since you'll have more than one person who knows what they're trying to accomplish).

A possible pitfall then is when this kind of personal problem solving is used on someone who knows enough about it to recognize it's use, and is cynical/neurotic/whatever enough to resent the idea that you're viewing them not as an individual but as a problem to be solved.  Which isn't entirely accurate since you're viewing the situation as a problem to be solved, but you see my point I hope - all these careful linguistic choices and conscious attitude decisions can backfire against someone who recognizes them for what they are - tools in a toolkit - and doesn't like the feeling of being manipulated.

And that, I suppose, is where I was trying to get to from the start.  All this advice can be looked at as "How to Manipulate People for Fun and profit".  It's positive manipulation, you're trying to improve a situation that could potentially lead to greater problems, but manipulation nonetheless.
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2009, 10:08:43 PM »

Regarding the part about establishing positive assumptions (I forget right now the specific term from the cast), I actually react very badly to such a tact.  When someone like a manager or something similar starts off with "As you've been thinking about this," or "While you've been working on this,", I immediately take it as an implicit statement of "I know you haven't done a damn thing and I'm going to passive-aggressively make you feel guilty about it."

Is this my own neurosis at fault?  Mostly, sure.  But I suspect it's something I'm far from unique in feeling.

That's called being a dick, and is something else entirely.  The attitude and goal of positive assumptions is to do the opposite. You are framing the case positively so they wont react badly.  Here is a real one I use at work. 

when someone has forgotten to do something I say "Did something get in the way of you getting X done?"  Rather than "You forgot to do X."  It is just a better option. 

I certainly agree it's a better way to approach that situation.  I guess where I'm coming from is the whole discussion seems geared towards how to solve a problem with people who aren't particularly self-aware, and don't realize what you're doing.  Or, they would also work well with someone who understands what you're doing and approaches problems the same way (although in those cases it's less likely to be as hard a problem since you'll have more than one person who knows what they're trying to accomplish).

A possible pitfall then is when this kind of personal problem solving is used on someone who knows enough about it to recognize it's use, and is cynical/neurotic/whatever enough to resent the idea that you're viewing them not as an individual but as a problem to be solved.  Which isn't entirely accurate since you're viewing the situation as a problem to be solved, but you see my point I hope - all these careful linguistic choices and conscious attitude decisions can backfire against someone who recognizes them for what they are - tools in a toolkit - and doesn't like the feeling of being manipulated.

And that, I suppose, is where I was trying to get to from the start.  All this advice can be looked at as "How to Manipulate People for Fun and profit".  It's positive manipulation, you're trying to improve a situation that could potentially lead to greater problems, but manipulation nonetheless.

Ah, I see what you are getting at. 

Remember the whole root of this is that you want to help your friend play and have fun with your group.  An about as selfless and altruistic act as possible.

The whole experience is based on you solving an issue, that undeniably exists, in the way that does not hurt the persons feelings.  generally 1) people who are socially self aware enough to spot these issues are also socially aware enough not to have them and 2) when they do have them they appreciate that people care enough to spare their feelings. 

So you are talking about the percentage of gamers who are socially self aware and extremely neurotic troublemakers.  Those gamers do need to be handled differently, you are absolutely correct.  You will also have to handle autistic, psychopathic and other mental and emotional disorders differently as well. 

When we are doing a general audience show we try to cover the most general and most common targets.  And this advice holds for the vast majority of cases.  That does not mean it works in all cases.  There will be some number of people for whom this advice will not work. 
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2009, 11:33:34 PM »

Ah, I see what you are getting at. 

Remember the whole root of this is that you want to help your friend play and have fun with your group.  An about as selfless and altruistic act as possible.

The whole experience is based on you solving an issue, that undeniably exists, in the way that does not hurt the persons feelings.  generally 1) people who are socially self aware enough to spot these issues are also socially aware enough not to have them and 2) when they do have them they appreciate that people care enough to spare their feelings. 

So you are talking about the percentage of gamers who are socially self aware and extremely neurotic troublemakers.  Those gamers do need to be handled differently, you are absolutely correct.  You will also have to handle autistic, psychopathic and other mental and emotional disorders differently as well. 

When we are doing a general audience show we try to cover the most general and most common targets.  And this advice holds for the vast majority of cases.  That does not mean it works in all cases.  There will be some number of people for whom this advice will not work. 

Fair enough, and I agree with every point you just made.  I guess I felt the need to comment because I think I am one of those self-aware neurotic types, and having been in situations where I felt like people were basically following the "How to Solve a Problem" guidebook, I react badly.  Either because A) the problem solver was doing something wrong, or B) I'm a basket case.  Possibly both.

That said, you're right - it's advice that can probably work in the majority of situations.  I'd just suggest to anyone approaching a problem with intent to solve, don't just go at it with a stack of stock advice and read off the list point by point - try to get a read at all times on how the person is reacting to what you're saying.  Which is, I think, one of the pieces of advice you guys gave anyway so now I'm just covering old ground.
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2009, 12:51:28 AM »

Two comments I wanted to make.

First of all, there should have been a disclaimer of "this is a scalpel and not a sword."  One or two of these techniques is great if I'm legitimately upset.  But, if all I do is vent for a couple of minutes, and suddenly I'm being sat down, having my character sheet moved to the side, having everything I say repeated back to me in a soothing voice, etc. I'm going to get the feeling I'm being handled, and people totally hate that.  Sometimes, I think a simple "Hey, stop derailing the adventure" will fix the problem.

Secondly, the menfolk in the cast made the comment that, when handling conflicts, what the player says has no bearing on reality.  I believe there's merit to this.  However, this was a hefty point to make and it didn't get much elaboration.  If what they say has no bearing, and you don't know them well enough to know, then how do you, personally, figure out what the real problem is?   
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Meg
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2009, 09:49:38 AM »

I feel like the majority of the techniques were designed to get to the real issue- not just the first thing that is being said.  And I'm pretty sure we did mention that this is only if it's a real problem, not just a short little burst, but we probably coulld've made that more clear.
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2009, 12:03:43 PM »

I just got around to listening to this episode, so I apologize for the lateness of this post.  While I think most of the episode was very good, the part at the beginning where you discussed Neurolinguistic Programming I found problematic.

Let me explain.  I'm an Work/Organizational Psychology student.  My primary focus of study is manager/worker interactions.  I did a project a while back reviewing a bunch of the literature on interactions and NLP.  Essentially, the conclusion I drew about NLP is that it is almost never correct and is in most cases completely wrong.  NLP is not science.  It has no empirical support, and where the phenomena it observes actually occur, the reasons behind them are nothing like the causes supposed by NLP.

The specific thing that made me want to post is when you talked about matching the emotional level of the problem person.  You said that if the person is very emotional and high-energy at the time, you should enter the conversation being just as high-energy and emotional.  This has been shown to consistently make it worse.  What happens is not that the individuals move together through emotional states, as described by NLP, it's that people tend to match each other on emotional states.  Essentially, it's the Cold.War.  People tend to respond with the level of emotion they feel they need to in order to protect their position.  They will escalate their emotions if they feel that the other person is doing so or is attacking them.  If you go in being very emotional, you're probably only going to make the situation worse.

Instead, you need to be calmer than the emotional person, in order to encourage him to match you and calm down.  Meg, you mentioned that, if you are emotional and someone acts very calm, it pisses you off.  I'd argue that it's not because he was calm that made you mad, but that you felt like he didn't care or understand.  When maintaining calm with an emotional person, the key thing to do is demonstrate that you do care and are empathetic and that you do understand the situation.  You want to do the paraphrasing, active listening, and other communication techniques you discussed, and you want let the person voice his side of the issue, but you want to remain calm to avoid making the problem worse.

NLP is a theory, like the theory of Multiple Intelligences, that lost widespread scientific support in the early '80s.  That it continues to receive support in education and industry is unfortunate.  Some of the things NLP observed actually happen, but the techniques it proposes to evoke these events are usually very wrong.

But anyways, I want to reiterate that I really appreciated the episode and thought that it was very worthwhile overall.
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