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The Eight Principles of Supportive Communication:
- 1. Problem oriented, not person oriented
- 2. Congruent, not incongruent
- 3. Descriptive, not evaluative
- 4. Validating, not invalidating
- 5. Specific, not global
- 6. Conjunctive, not disjunctive
- 7. Owned, not disowned
- 8. Listening, not one-way
Problem oriented, not person oriented:
Problem-oriented communication focuses on a problem that can be solved rather than the person who is responsible for the problem. Person-oriented communication puts the listener on the defensive and focuses the attention on blame rather than on avoiding or solving future problems.
Example of Problem oriented, not person oriented:
An example of problem-oriented communication is if a coach were to tell a pitcher, "The best way to get ahead in the count is by throwing a first-pitch fastball." On the other hand, an example of person-oriented communication would be, "You've been throwing too many first-pitch breaking balls."
Congruent, not incongruent:
Congruent communication conveys what the speaker is thinking and feeling. There are definitely situations where discretion is a more appropriate choice than full disclosure of what we think and feel. However, we communicate more effectively when we're candid. If we aren't honest, listeners you won't trust what we say.
Example of Congruent, not incongruent:
- In Congruent communication we are constructive because we're giving the other party the truth rather than misleading them.
- And in incongruent communication is saying that "it's no big deal" or "I don't mind" when you are in fact discussing an important issue.
Descriptive, not evaluative:
Evaluative communication expresses judgment of the listener, or his or her actions. To be an effective constructive communicator, we should objectively describe problems rather than speak in an evaluative manner.
Example of Descriptive, not evaluative:
An example of a blatantly evaluative statement would be, "It's stupid to throw so many first pitch breaking balls." Evaluative communication puts the listener on the defensive. It's more descriptive and therefore more constructive to say, "You'll have more success if you consistently get your first pitch over for a strike."
Validating, not invalidating:
Validating communication helps people feel understood, valued, and accepted. In contrast, invalidating communication treats people as if they are ignored, worthless, or alienated. Invalidating communication is superiority-oriented, rigid, impervious and/or indifferent.
Example of Validating, not Invalidating:
"Look, coaches coach and catchers catch, so just do what I've asked," is an example of superiority-oriented communication. In Validating, the coach could have said, "Yes, it definitely does make sense to throw breaking balls today. But, the breaking balls will be even more effective if you get ahead in the count first."