We have not had the chance to do a really good podcast on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication recently, so Rhonda and I jumped at the chance to do a podcast with a local executive we will call “Valentina” who is facing a severe challenge. How can she respond effectively to a ton of her colleagues who responded critically and angrily to one her first emails since being place in a top leadership role at work?
They said that her email was harsh and accusatory, and sounded adversarial and provocative, and didn’t give a feeling of partnership or appreciation for all the hard work they were doing.
Yikes! That’s pretty tough.
And yet, my philosophy—in therapy, in family conflicts, and in work settings as well—is that your worst failure can often be your greatest opportunity in disguise.
Is this true? Or just pie in the sky?
Rhonda and I do a lot of role-playing and role reversals to (hopefully) show Valentina how to transform a humiliating professional failure into an enormous success. We’ll let you know how it works after we get some feedback from Valentina.
We are both deeply indebted to Valentina for her courage in allowing us to talk about a problem that most of us encounter from time to time. I often receive harsh criticism, so I know how anxiety provoking it can be, especially when the criticisms come from authority figures!
Valentina was wonderful to work with, and said she felt happiness and a sense of peace at the end of the podcast. It was great to see that!
Let us know what you think about today’s podcast, and your own philosophy of how to respond to criticism skillfully and effectively. We alluded to, but did not delve deeply, into the opposite philosophy of arguing, defending yourself, and never apologizing.
We’ve seen a lot of that in the past year on the evening news every day. Did the approach we modeled on today’s show seem inspiring and awesome? Or foolish and self-defeating?
Thanks for listening! We hope you enjoyed today’s podcast and maybe learned something useful.
For more information on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, you can check out my book, Feeling Good Together, available in paperback on Amazon.
David and Rhonda
You can reach Dr. Burns at email@example.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a Level 4 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. She also does forensic work in family court, but finds TEAM-CBT to be way more rewarding!
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This is the cover of my new book, Feeling Great. You can order it now on Amazon!
Another masterpiece! Different situation than other treasures, such as in episode #225, “Self-Centered” episode, or #3, Empathy, which begins with the Stirling Moorey story, told so winsomely, and which teaches thought empathy so well. David makes it clear in all 3 of these episodes, and many more, that he, at least in retrospect, is now eager to acknowledge his weaknesses. And David makes it clear that Stirling has more than well chosen words, “Stirling paused 15-25 seconds, he leaned forward and said….” And half way through the interview, as I heard David tell it, Sterling changed pace and tone.
Addition to this masterpiece, with :Valentina:
In the middle, Valentina attempts a Five “Secrets” which is breathtakingly beautiful, and brief. Rhonda admires Valentina’s brevity well, partly by saying that David is usually also concise. This affirms Valentina, who appeared understandably uncertain, between her bosses and her colleagues.
But for other listeners, maybe David will on some podcast say if I am right in the following:
One reason the Five Secrets are so hard to implement is that David’s models are not, NOT brief. So often, as with Heather Clague and Brandon Vance, episode #161, students disarm and give thought empathy, sometimes another one or two of the Five Secrets, but not all of the Five Secrets. Heather once did not acknowledge how angry her hypothetical client might be. David’s models, I believe, often (usually? always??) require more words than a student’s first vocalizations. David is violating brevity, which is usually a prime virtue in oral communications. But in conflict contexts, David’s models are better than brief, incomplete statements.
How does David succeed? One, his tone of voice expresses genuine empathy, caring, and awareness of the truth in the other’s attack on him.
Two, he does usually begin with disarm, often combined with his emotion, as in the following:
“It’s painful for me to admit you’re 200% right, I did….” (Without sincerity, this formula will fail.) And David varies the wording and order, as in “Now that you point this out, I see you are right. I am embarrassed that I….” I don’t remember that David ever said “Now that you point it out,” It’s my paraphrase of what I do not remember. “Now that I think about it” may be what David sometimes says.
And three, David rarely pauses, as he wishes to use all Five “Secrets” before the other responds.
I am a little nervous about offering a formula, even a partial one.
Is this helpful to anyone? I am eager to read.
Rich Burrill, email@example.com
This session was highly instructive, inspiring and elevating.
I feel that the optimism. warmth and kindness that permeated Rhonda’s and David’s therapy and advisement was heart remarkable , heart warming and extremely instructive.
Thank you so very much for the inspiration and offering the opportunity to learn from your stellar expertise and Valentina’s formidable leadership and insight, as well.
David’s experience as Acting Chairman and his genius, humor and warmth in conveying his mode of communication and “ Disarming” and “ Respect” modalities is quite inspiring and extraordinarily helpful.
Rhonda’s insight and expertise is very compelling, as well.
Thanks! Very cool! d
I love it, thanks! Will send to Rhonda, maybe read a part on a podcast. david