Putting It All Together

Posted by Beetle B. on Sat 13 May 2017

Step One: Prepare By Walking Through The Three Conversations


  • What’s my story? (information, past experiences, rules?)
  • What’s his story? (information, past experiences, rules?) (Find Out)


  • My intentions?
  • Impact on me?
  • His intentions? What do I think they are? Confirm by finding out
  • Impact on him? (Find Out)


  • What did I contribute to the system?
  • What did he contribute?


  • What feelings underly my attributions and judgments?
  • What feelings underly his attributions and judgments? (Find Out)


How is my identity threatened? What is knocking me off the ground?

Step Two: Check Your Purposes and Decide Whether To Raise It

Should you raise the issue? It can be beneficial to do so even if the other side never budges.

What do you expect to gain from the conversation? It should be learning, sharing and problem solving. If anything else, reconsider if it is worth it.

To achieve your goals, is talking the best way? Can you change your contribution?

If you decide not to raise it, what can you do to let it go?

Step Three: Start From The Third Story

Describe the problem as the difference between both sides.

Specify your purposes. Why are you bringing this up? (Good idea if learning is part of the reason).

Then invite them to join you as a partner in sorting out the situation.

This doesn’t mean the other side will respond well, but it does carry the conversation forward.

Step Four: Explore Their Story and Yours

Listen to their perspective.

Ask questions.

Acknowledge the feelings.

Test for understanding: Paraphrase

Try to unravel how you got to this point.

Step Five: Problem Solving

Invent options that meet each side’s concerns.

Look for relevant standards.

Talk about keeping communications open as you go forward.


Step 1: Prepare by Walking Through the Three Conversations

Sort out What Happened

  • Where does your story come from (information, past experiences, rules)? Theirs?
  • What impact has this situation had on you? What might their intentions have been?
  • What have you each contributed to the problem?

Understand Emotions

Explore your emotional footprint, and the bundle of emotions you experience.

Ground Your Identity

What’s at stake for you about you? What do you need to accept to be better grounded?

Step 2: Check Your Purposes and Decide Whether to Raise the Issue

  • Purposes: What do you hope to accomplish by having this conversation? Shift your stance to support learning, sharing, and problem-solving.
  • Deciding: Is this the best way to address the issue and achieve your purposes? Is the issue really embedded in your Identity Conversation? Can you affect the problem by changing your contributions? If you don’t raise it, what can you do to help yourself let go?

Step 3: Start from the Third Story

  1. Describe the problem as the difference between your stories. Include both viewpoints as a legitimate part of the discussion.
  2. Share your purposes.
  3. Invite them to join you as a partner in sorting out the situation together.

Step 4: Explore Their Story and Yours

  • Listen to understand their perspective on what happened. Ask questions. Acknowledge the feelings behind the arguments and accusations. Paraphrase to see if you’ve got it. Try to unravel how the two of you got to this place.
  • Share your own viewpoint, your past experiences, intentions, feelings.
  • Reframe, reframe, reframe to keep on track. From truth to perceptions, blame to contribution, accusations to feelings, and so on.

Step 5: Problem-Solving

  • Invent options that meet each side’s most important concerns and interests.
  • Look to standards for what should happen. Keep in mind the standard of mutual caretaking; relationships that always go one way rarely last.
  • Talk about how to keep communication open as you go forward.

tags : communication, dc