Posts tagged: interpersonal communication skills

FOCUSED LISTENING: WHY PRACTICE REFLECTIVE, EMPATHIC, ACTIVE LISTENING

By , December 13, 2008 1:08 pm

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

WHY PRACTICE FOCUSED LISTENING?

So, yesterday I asked myself, “Why do I practice Intuitive Focusing?” and I answered from my “felt sense,” the “intuitive feel” that came in the center of my body in response to that question. Using Intuitive Focusing, I carefully went back and forth between any words/images that came and my body’s “felt response,” until I found symbols that were “exactly right” in capturing the “feel of it all.”

Today, I am asking myself, “Why do I practice Focused Listening?” and, as I use Intuitive Focusing to articulate the intuitive feel,” we will see what comes in answer — not from my “head,” the already-known I have said many times in the last thirty years of teaching Listening/Focusing, but from today’s fresh, bodily experiencing.

So, “Why do I practice Focused Listening?” (closing my eyes, going inside quietly, waiting for the “felt sense” to arise in the area of my solar plexis, and only then looking for symbols to describe it) —- Big sigh.

(long pause) — Well, without Listening, the whole world would fall apart! There is nothing more powerful, no better human response, than just showing another that you have heard them by simply saying back, or “reflecting” their own words to them.

And immediately people will want to scoff and laugh and say, “How silly — just stupid parroting.” But, when it actually happens to you, when you feel yourself completely understood, encompassed by your own words coming back to you — well, this is a Sacred experience (stopping to get “out of my head” and to wait again for the fresh, intuitive “bodily-felt sense” to arise so that my words come freshly from that “felt experience” — (big sigh). (long pause)

I am asking myself the Focusing Question, “What do I mean by the word Sacred?” — (pause for Focusing inward). Big sigh. —

I don’t want to “scare people away” by using the word “Sacred.” I could just say “It feels really good to be understood.” But, it really is more than that. Martin Buber, in his book I and Thou, spoke of those moments when we step out of I-It relating, seeing the other as an object to be manipulated and used, into I-Thou relating, where we meet each other without veils, in our essential humanness.

And I guess “essential humanness” is the same, somehow, as what many of us mean by The Divine, The Sacred within each person.

(pausing to “check in” with the “intuitive feel” — “something in me” is saying, “Yikes! Now you are really going to scare people away. You want BUSINESS PEOPLE to use Focused Listening among themselves!” So, now, I am going to pause and “sense into” this aspect, the “business application” of Focused Listening —- (Big sigh. Pause for “felt sensing” before speaking) —

What comes is that “Businesses need to be more friendly places, places where people can feel understood, can feel ‘seen’ for who they are, not just what they do.” (there is something tearful here, I am afraid to admit while I am trying to be business-like!) (pause to check with this teary feeling, “What is that about? What touches me about this?”)

People LIVE in their business settings! They spend more time there than anywhere else. They suffer stress and interpersonal conflict. They stay home rather than face another day. They change jobs too often to get away from a hostile situation.

Certainly we can stand to infuse a little Listening, a simple bit of empathic understanding, the small gesture of Active Listening to show a colleague that we value what they are expressing, even if we disagree with it.

And other days I will blog about how Intuitive Focusing, partnered with Focused Listening, can be used to articulate creative ideas and innovative solutions and to create a Culture of Creativity. But, for today, what comes is that people do want simple human kindness in the workplace.

 

Learn Focused Listening, Active Listening, and Passive Listening for conflict resolution at Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

 

 

Click here to subscribe to Creative Edge Focusing(TM)’s  Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-Course

Click here for a free Focused Listening Mini-Course

 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: AL GORE OF LISTENING TURNS

By , November 28, 2008 1:58 pm

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

To “catch up” with this cycle, please read, from the e-newsletter archives Passive Listening Week 1: Can Listening Turns Save The World and Week Two: Does Passive Listening Work?  Anyone can also access the e-newsletter archives from the Free Resources submenu at Creative Edge Focusing.

Our Own Nobel Peace Project
 
I could spend this third week on Instant “Ahah!” #3 reminding you again to go through the instructions with your significant others and set up the “structures” necessary (a place to sit, a timer, a mutually-agreed upon “signal” word, like “popcorn”) so they will be in place if needed when argument starts. And I will ask you again to email any experiences you are having trying Passive Listening Turns to the CEF e-support group or to me.
 
But, I am going to spend today instead talking about what it would be like to start a “campaign” to get Passive Listening turns, or some other aspect of Listening/Focusing, incorporated into every household, every situation, in the world.
 
Al Gore, and the millions inspired to work with him, are doing this around the issue of Global Warming. Al Gore took it upon himself to take action, to respond to what he perceived as a life-or-death, urgent issue for all human beings.
 
That is how I feel about Listening/Focusing, especially as they can be used for conflict resolution, between individuals, lovers, parents, parent and child, in schools, in cities and communities, in governments, in national and international conflicts. And Passive Listening Turns is the most simple, small-step in that direction that I have come up with.
 
Brainstorm With Me To Find “The One Small Step”
 
Do you think spreading Passive Listening Turns is a good first step, if there were to be a campaign to bring listening/focusing, and the “creation of the new” that can come when people can speak from felt-sensing, to everyone, every situation, worldwide? Do you have a better idea? I’m open!
 
Can you imagine participating in such a campaign? What “one-small-step” might you be willing to do, or willing to encourage your friends, neighbors, colleagues, elected officials, school systems, doctors and nurses, etc., to do or to spread?
 
I’d like to imagine a bumper sticker campaign: “Listen, Don’t Lecture,” “Speaking, Not Arguing,”  “Popcorn!” Get Out The Listening Timer!”, “Passive Listening = Active Solutions” – got better ideas?!!! Certainly, I can use help!
 
A bookmark-sized handout that obstetricians, pediatricians, counselors, teachers could hand out, outlining the procedure (maybe with a magnet for sticking on the fridge!)
 
Maybe “Passive Listening Turns” isn’t the right name for the process. What would be better? “Timed Turn-Taking”? I can’t do this alone, but it would be fun to brain storm it! I know we would come up with something hugely creative.
 
So, for this week, besides setting up the structure and trying the Passive Listening Turns procedure if an opportunity arises, I’d welcome any consideration of the Passive Listening Turn “campaign,” how we might do our own Nobel Peace Prize effort to get Listening/Focusing Conflict Resolution known. Email Dr. McGuire with your ideas and reactions. Thank you!

The Basic Procedure
 
Here are the subheadings from the exercise which lay out the basic steps of this very simple procedure:
 
Agree on a signal during a peaceful time
Set a timer and take a seat
Use the timer to keep turns exactly even
Yell at a blank wall, if needed
Just keep going
Caution: Professional help needed?
Online support for conflict resolution
 
And those are the basics of this very simple procedure, which can be taught to anyone in five minutes. Find the entire exercise in your Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual or quickly online here, Passive Listening Turns.

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below !

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-E-course

 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

FOCUSING IN THE WORLD: INTERPERSONAL, GROUP, COMMUNITY, AND ORGANIZATIONAL MODELS FOR CREATIVITY AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION

By , November 24, 2008 5:10 pm

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual 

Focusing Out In The World: Interpersonal, Group, Community, AND Organizational models
 
There is an explosion of interest within those practicing Focusing as an inner problem solving technique toward bringing Focusing, and its companion, Listening, out into the world. How does Gendlin’s Focusing look when it moves from a largely internal practice to an interpersonal, group, community, organizational model?
 
This e-newsletter addresses some models developing directly out of Focusing and Gendlin’s Philosophy of the Implicit, www.focusing.org, as well as other models that integrate well with and are enriched by a Focusing-Oriented perspective.
 
CREATIVE EDGE ORGANIZATIONS: ENGAGING THE “FELT SENSE” OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL TO OVERCOME APATHY, INCREASE CREATIVITY
 
Central to my own Creative Edge Focusing ™ model for innovation, Creative Edge Organizations, is the awareness that, through the careful integration of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening at all levels, every individual can be engaged at the Creative Edge of their personal passion while contributing to the overall goals of the organization. Read all about it 
 
EMPOWERMENT ORGANIZATION: THE “ONE SMALL THING”
 
“Motivation = Engagement : Apathy Is The Enemy!
 
Central to the Creative Edge Focusing ™ model is finding the “One Small Thing” which will allow every individual to take that first step toward involvement in civil action or corporate “buy in.” Find several examples from business and social action and try the “One Small Thing” exercise.
 
INTERPERSONAL FOCUSING: GREETING ANGER WITH EMPATHY
 
“If you view an angry person as a hurting person, you are well on the way toward an empathic, or Listening, way of dealing with interpersonal conflict.  When a person is screaming with anger, she is saying “I perceive you as treading on one of my essential needs, and I am hurting”. 
 
If, through Focused Listening, you are able to help the person to a more direct expression of her vulnerability and need, it is likely that your own defensive reaction will change to what is called “relational empathy”:  even though you are in conflict with the person because she is keeping you from getting your basic needs met, you will be able to see it as it looks to her, to acknowledge the legitimacy of her need, and to care deeply for her in that. 
 
Then a resolution of the conflict can arise as an attempt to find a way in which both of you can get your needs met, rather than as a defensive competition to see who can “win” or be proven “right”—
 
So begins  my own Chapter on Interpersonal Focusing in the Focusing In Community manual, available as an immediate download in English and Spanish, and as part of the multi-media Self-Help Package at Creative Edge Focusing(TM). 
 
You can also find the Interpersonal Focusing Chapter as a free download, using links at the top of the page of the linked blog.
 
Also, for a thorough introduction to internal and external conflict resolution, see my section on Conflict Resolution at the Creative Edge Focusing website.
 
INTERACTIVE FOCUSING: THE DOUBLE EMPATHIC “GOLDEN MOMENT”
 
“What is the purpose or intention of Interactive Focusing?
Most simply said, the purpose or intention of Interactive Focusing is to allow you to touch into your direct experience in the presence of another person and through your direct experience in the safe, empathic, accepting and compassionate environment which you create together to become aware of and to share your inner truths thereby building bonds of intimacy.”
 
So states Janet Klein’s introduction to the website for the self-help skill called Interactive Focusing, created by Janet and Mary McGuire.
 
See the website for free downloads of manuals for using their protocol.
 
ROSENBERG’S CENTER FOR NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION
 
On the Focusing Discussion List of The Focusing Institute, www.focusing.org  (subscribe under category “Felt Community,” then “Discussion Lists”, and access the recent archives), there has been an outpouring of collaborative thinking about the “crossing” between Focusing and Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication methods. Many Focusers have also been involved with Rosenburg’s model since the 1970’s and 80’s, and they are writing passionately about their experiences of contrast, comparison, and complementarity between the two models.
 
There seems to be agreement that, while Gendlin’s Focusers have been the masters of articulating the inner landscape for the last 30 years, Rosenberg and his followers have been masters of articulating the interpersonal communication styles which either alienate us from each other or maximize true “meeting” and understanding.
 
Here is a quote from The Center For Non-Violent Communication website:
 
“The Center for Nonviolent Communication
A global organization helping people connect compassionately with themselves and one another through Nonviolent Communication language, created by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

What is Nonviolent Communication?
Imagine connecting with the human spirit, in each person, in any situation.
Imagine interacting with others in a way that allows everyone’s needs to be equally valued.
Imagine creating organizations and life-serving systems responsive to our needs and the needs of our environment.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) helps connect us with what is alive in ourselves and in others moment-to-moment, with what we or others could do to make life more wonderful, and with an awareness of what gets in the way of natural giving and receiving.
NVC language strengthens our ability to inspire compassion from others and respond compassionately to others and ourselves. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves, how we hear others and resolve conflicts by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting.
Nonviolent Communication Language: It awakens empathy and honesty, and is sometimes described as “the language of the heart.”
 
You will find many instructional materials and resources at the website, including lists of words capturing Feelings and Needs. Print out these two lists to expand your communication capacity greatly!
 
To join the Focusing and NVC collaboration group, sign up for a free Google account, log in, and then request to join the Online NVC and Focusing group .
 
COLLABORATIVE EDGE DECISION MAKING: QUICK, EFFICIENT MEETINGS
 
My own method for Collaborative Decision Making Meetings uses structures which prohibit interruptions, moderate turn-taking, and encourage Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing to resolve interpersonal conflict and group-level polarization. Leadership tasks are rotated so that all group members learn to run efficient, creative meetings. Here is a description from The Creative Edge Focusing website:
 
Coordinated Collaboration: The Best of Consensus and Hierarchy 
 
“Here are some Task-Roles  and Impasse Resolution Procedures , for use when a group has a limited time to make decisions. This model can also be used, as Coordinated Collaboration, as a way of gathering information and input, in work groups where there is a boss, a Project Manager, or a Coordinator who will make the final decisions.

As with all the Applied Methods of Creative Edge Focusing ™, the procedures create quiet, protected moments where participants can pay attention to the “intuitive feel,” The Creative Edge, and create innovative ideas and solutions.
The tasks can be rotated in a “shared leadership” model, where appropriate, each person on the team learning the various skills. Or, for instance, on the Board of a Corporation or Non-Profit Organization, the formal Chairperson might serve as the agenda keeper more regularly.”
 
Find the entire Collaborative Edge protocol for immediate use in decision making groups, and download a longer article explaining the model, with handouts for groups in English  and in Spanish .
 
DYNAMIC FACILITATION
 
Rosa Zubizaretta, www.diapraxis.com , combines her knowledge of Listening and Focusing with Jim Rough’s Dynamic Facilitation and other models for encouraging group participants to contribute from their Creative Edge with trust in the “self-organizing” capacity of groups. Her website is packed with Resources for a variety of transformational methods both for “At Work” and “In The Community.”
 
In facilitating creativity and conflict resolution in groups and organizations, the DF facilitator uses a form of active listening to draw out every group participant, encouraging speaking from the “felt sense” or “intuitive feel” as well as fully expressing emotions and divergent thinking. Miraculously, when participants are enabled to express themselves fully and really listen to each other, convergent solutions eventually arise.
 
Here is a quote from her introduction to the role and skills of the DF facilitator:
 
“WHAT WE MEAN BY “REALLY LISTENING”
 
In Dynamic Facilitation, the main role of the facilitator is to listen deeply, and to create a space where each participant can be deeply heard. To do so, he or she takes a very active and consistent role in supporting the emotional safety, unique perspective, and creative contribution of each participant.
 
As mentioned earlier, the facilitator is NOT leading the group through any prescribed series of steps. Instead, he or she is very involved on the “micro-level,” providing empathy, respect, and support for each participant’s contribution.”
 
You can find many links to resources and  Rosa’s  free manual for the DF procedure, in English and Spanish.
 
OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY AND SPIRIT IN GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS
 
Motivation, Passion, Creativity, “Buy In,” Esprit De Corps
 
Open-Space Technology, http://www.openspaceworld.com , is another modality which encourages maximum possibility and responsibility for each participant in group problem solving and creativity/innovation situations. Learn all about the approach at this extensive website. It combines well with Focusing in that each person is encouraged to act out of their alive, present “felt sense” of their creativity.  Here is a quote from the website: 
 
OPENING SPACE FOR PEACE AND HIGH PERFORMANCE
 
Rarely, if ever, have the Peoples of this planet had greater need for Peace and High Performance. Peace so that we may freely pursue the fulfillment of our potential. And High Performance for ourselves and our organizations so that our pursuit may be accomplished with energy and finesse.
 
The twenty year natural experiment with Open Space Technology has demonstrated that both Peace and High Performance are attainable. Hugely conflicted groups have found ways to respectfully deal with each other as they discovered workable solutions for their issues. Complex projects have been brought to fruition in breathtakingly short times, a clear example of High Performance.
 
Many people have viewed the results as counterintuitive, unbelievable, even magic. The results continue, however, in thousands of instances and 135 countries. But the “magic” is not Open Space Technology, but rather the force that underlies it — the power of self organization. You are invited to explore that primal power for purposes of peace making and enabling High Performance.”
 
And thanks to Simon for a quote from Harrison Owen (attributed as the developer of OST):
 
“We know that when Spirit is present in a group of people, wonderful things can happen. We also know that when Spirit is somehow absent or flagging, no amount of money in the bank, technology in the backroom, or executive talent on the roster makes much difference – nothing really seems to go right.
 
Of course there are times when precise statements about the quality and
nature of Spirit are important, but in the work-a-day world, it is usually
sufficient to acknowledge the presence of Spirit, by whatever name. Call it
what you like – team spirit, esprit de corps, Great Spirit of the Cosmos – sooner or later they all connect. I think. But the critical thing is to acknowledge Spirit  when we meet, and somehow summon it again when it is absent.”
 
Read the whole article.
 
FOCUSING, CREATIVITY, AND PERSON-CENTERED DEMOCRACY IN GROUP SETTINGS
 
Francesca Castaldi has written an article which grew out her experience at the first Movement At The Edge Event and other experiences about how the “felt-sense” of each participant can be kept alive in creating “person-centered democracy” in group settings. She states:
 
” Most professional gatherings are organized around content and leave little creativity for process-structure. Professional conferences also tend to foster our caution in presenting new ideas: we privilege what we know well and what we have tested with our experience, knowing that our reputation is at stake and a solid knowing “needs” to be upheld. Often it is only well-recognized celebrities in the profession who can afford the risk of presenting their work-in-process–the edge of their knowing, the exciting new hints and ideas that they are nurturing.
 
We as a community of Focusers have developed the ability to follow the edge of our knowing, to let it emerge in the actual moment and be responsive to our living: we have learned to support a subtle process of explicating that which is still incipient, tentative at first, still forming, and still vulnerable to overwriting by stronger impulses and habits.
 
Recognizing the power of the Focusing process and of Focusing partnership for protecting this incipient process of creation and explication can help us make room for Focusing in larger meetings and gatherings.
 
An understanding of the creative/creating process involved in any project can further help us see the place of Focusing in professional gatherings. Below I present what I consider essential phases in the realization of any project, and the ways in which our use or understanding of the Focusing process can help us in choosing process-structures that best support such phases.”
 
Read the whole article .
 
MEETING AT THE EDGE: FOCUSING AND BODY-WORK/MOVEMENT EVENT, Sept 22-26, 2009   Boldern Center, Maennedorf, near Zurich, Switzerland.
 
This will be the second MAE event. The first was celebrated as a model for collaboration, community building, and warm sharing among those interested in the intersection, or “crossing,” of Focusing with Body-Work and Movement. 
 
Here is the MAE website’s description of the structure of this workshop:
 
“Workshop structure

Our main objective in this residential workshop is to create an environment that is explorative, creative, and collaborative.  Rather than privileging presentations of already well established techniques, attitudes, concepts, or methods we are wanting to foster an encounter that supports the exploration of what is at the edge of your knowing, rich in fecundity and possibilities even when tentative and subtle.
  
The atmosphere of deep listening and open support that we will create as a group of diverse professionals generates its own creative energy.  We have found that when the program of the workshop is set well ahead of time, this creative energy does not have a chance to bring its fruits, as it remains “squished” into an already set structure and at most can leak out in breaks between presentations.

We intend to give central stage to the excitement and inspiration that takes place at the moment of our actual meeting and that is fully responsive to our living.  We have thus created a process-structure that can support a full spectrum of interactions and be responsive to the different needs we may have as individuals in our professional journeys.

We invite you to nurture a sense of a project-something meaningful to you in your work-before coming to Boldern, noticing what in you wants to be shared in the setting we are providing.  By not formally sending in a presentation proposal you will be able to be responsive to the transformation that may occur before our meeting, and then sense freshly into the whole as we meet.”
 
Follow the link to the website for all information and an introduction to the special format and “culture” of these events.

I hope the above methods contribute to a dialogue on “How can we structure groups and organizations such that each individual can stay connected with their internal passion and creativity while collaborating toward a common goal?”

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below !

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-E-course

 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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