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A New Look At Communication
1.0 Why Interpersonal Communication Is The Number 1 Skill In Life
1.1 What's It Like Out There?
a. Education — early years
b. Education — Later years
c. The cost of communication breakdown
d. Misunderstanding — The ever-present enemy of good communication
e. Technology is not the answer. It may even be part of the problem
f. Choosing the right channel for the job
g. What’s your own experience like?

1.2 Introduction To The TalkWorks System
a. Learning from the best
b. The three key roles of dialogue
c. Three different skill sets
d. What’s your reaction to the ‘skills’ approach?
e. The dialogue promise
f. A system of skills and wisdom

1.3 The Nature of Dialogue
a. Dialogue is …
b. The characteristics of dialogue
c. Dialogue is like dancing and jamming
d. Things go better with dialogue

1.4 The Key Modes Of Conversation
a. Telling a story
b. Delivering a message
c. Sharing a point of view
d. Making a case
e. Engaging in small talk and gossip
f. Combinations

1.5 What's Your Communication Style
a. Theme and variations
b. What’s your Conversation Manager style?
c. What’s your Explainer/Teller style?
d. What’s your Understander style?
e. Your overall style — the total package
f. Style breeds reputation

The Conversation Manager Role
2.0 Overview Of Conversation Manager Role
2.1 Preparing For Important Conversations
a. Determining the purpose of the conversation
b. Getting the main points clear in your own mind
c. When necessary, making sure you (and the other person) are in the right frame of mind
d. The economics of preparation
e. Isn’t preparation the enemy of spontaneity?

2.2 Sharing And Negotiating The Purpose Of The Conversation
a. Avoiding conversations at cross-purposes
b. What happens if the other person has a different conversation in mind?

2.3 Taking Turns And Sharing The Airtime
a. Balancing the roles
b. Monitoring role switching
c. Moving into the Explainer/Teller role in order to meet the other person’s needs
d. Moving into the Explainer/Teller role in order to meet your own legitimate needs
e. Inviting your conversational partners to engage in dialogue
f. Turning the Explainer/Teller role over to your partner

2.4 Building Your Conversations On A Foundation Of Mutual Respect
a. Everyone deserves respect, including you
b. The range of respect: from civility to love
c. Talking on the level
d. Respect and responsibility

2.5 Recognising And Honouring The Conversational Rights Of Others And Yourself
a. Setting the agenda
b. Initiating conversations
c. Conversational rights
d. To initiate or not
e. To respond or not
f. The ‘contract’ approach
g. It’s your call

2.6 Making Feelings And Emotions Serve Conversations
a. Monitoring your state of mind
b. Communication and emotion
c. Some principles of emotional management
d. Managing anger
e. Schooling yourself to think of options in tricky situations
f. Moderation rather than emotional neutrality
g. You don't always have to be ‘nice’ in conversations

2.7 Reading The Context Of The Conversation And Deciding How Best To Respond
a. The three components of being socially smart
b. Practical strategies
c. Being careful of humour
d. Look who’s talking — drawing on your inner conversations
e. Guidelines for making use of your inner conversations

2.8 Approaching Conversations Collaboratively Rather Than Competitively
a. Two ways of dealing with interactions
b. The win-win approach
c. How to handle competitive conversational partners

2.9 Repairing Conversations
a. We all make mistakes
b. The many faces of repair
c. Repairing mistakes made in the Conversation Manager role
d. Repairing mistakes made in the Explainer/Teller role
e. Repairing mistakes made in the Understander role
f. But people don't like admitting their mistakes

2.10 Helping Others To Play Better - Conversational Coaching
a. You can always help the other person do better
b. Take the case of a boring conversation
c. How ‘conversational coaching’ differs from ordinary conversations
d. The basic helping formula and process
e. Meet the Smith and Jones families for examples of helping others play
f. Helping your partners manage their conversations better.
g. Helping partners play the Explainer/Teller role more effectively
h. Helping partners do a better job in the Understander role
i. What if the other knows how to play, but isn’t?
j. The economics of conversational coaching

The Explainer Role
3.0 Overview Of The Explainer/Teller Role
3.1 Engaging The Other Person's Attention
a. Not assuming the other person is tuned in
b. Thinking about what you body language is ‘saying’
c. Choosing the right way to introduce a topic or point
d. In difficult cases, choosing strategies that help your partner be more receptive

3.2 Using Headlines & Underlines To Introduce Key Points
a. The problem of talking without focus
b. Using headlines to introduce clarity
c. Using headlines to introduce transitions in a conversation
d. Including emotions in your headlines
e. Admitting if you don't have a headline
f. Using underlines to highlight key ideas, topics and issues that emerge

3.3 Putting Your Conversational Partner In The Picture
a. The value of providing background
b. Using context when telling stories or giving explanations and examples
c. Providing background with messages
d. Putting your point of view in context
e. Providing context in making a case

3.4 Filling The Picture With Useful Detail
a. Helping the other person to build an accurate and complete picture
b. Making sure that you case is clear
c. Being careful of persuasion in conversations
d. Making key connections clear

3.5 Bringing Your Stories, Messages, Points Of View And Cases To Life
a. Helping the other person to ‘see’ what you mean
b. A word about feelings in the Explainer/Teller role
c. Making stories interesting
d. Making messages convincing
e. Bringing points of view to life
f. Making cases compelling

3.6 Personalising Your Communication
a. Good communication is the lifeblood of good relationships
b. Self-disclosure and intimacy
c. Different kinds of intimacy
d. Tailoring self-disclosure to the person and the setting
e. Using self-disclosure with stories, messages, points of view and cases
f. Everyone can’t be the life and soul of the party

3.7 Encouraging Questions And Dealing With Them Carefully
a. Welcoming rather than resenting questions
b. Dealing with counter-productive questions

3.8 Checking That You Have Been Understood Clearly And Completely
a. Providing summaries
b. Asking for summaries
c. Checking for clarity

The Understander Role
4.0 Overview Of The Understander Role
a. What’s the role all about?
b. The importance of being a proactive Understander
c. Patience and persistence in the Understander role

4.1 Visibly Tuning In
a. Switch off the autopilot. Switch on your attention
b. Making the other person aware of your attention
c. Being there. Being genuine. It shows

4.2 Listening Actively With An Open Mind
a. Issues with listening
b. Listening well
To verbal messages
To nonverbal messages
To feelings
c. Listening with an open mind
Listening without distortion
Enemies of open-minded listening

4.3 Listening For Highlights
a. Steps towards understanding
b. Processing what you hear
c. Identifying highlights
d. Processing nonverbal modifiers
e. Identifying critical emotional states
f. Using context to process

4.4 Feeding Back Selected Highlights
a. Sharing highlights as a way of communicating understanding
b. Sharing highlights as a way of checking understanding
c. A guide to sharing highlights
d. Striking the right balance
e. Taking communication apart to put it back together

4.5 Working To Get The Full Picture
a. Encouraging the flow
b. Working to get the full picture
c. Being careful of disagreement or agreement
d. Questions: a double edged sword
e. Using indirect questions as a more dialogic alternative
f. A checklist for questions
g. Maintaining a balance of responses in the Understander role.

4.6 Using Constructive Rather Than I'll-Conceived Responses
a. Counter-productive responses are everywhere
b. Avoid giving advice, but do help others find their own answers
c. Withhold judgment, but do help others face up to themselves
d. Don't dismiss other people's ideas and concerns, but do share your own convictions
e. Don't hijack conversations, but do get your own needs met

4.7 Summarising For Clarity And Understanding
a. Providing summaries
b. Asking the Explainer/Teller to summarise
c. Using summaries to help Explainer/Tellers move on

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