PAIRS Talking Tips
Stop being misunderstood, misunderstanding others, and pushing loved ones away with this brief, practical, proven exercise for improving communication and problem solving.
About PAIRS Talking Tips
PAIRS Talking Tips
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PAIRS Talking Tips
How often does the way you communicate about a concern or complaint become more of a problem than the actual issue? If you're like most people, probably pretty often.
Think about a concern (past or present) you've had in a relationship with a loved one and discover what happens when you confide your feelings about that one issue using the ten sentence stems of PAIRS Talking Tips.
All relationships, especially our closest ones, involve differences. For couples, parents, friends and families, the issue isn't the differences (that's normal), but being able to deal with them in a way that brings you closer to each other instead of more distant.
Try it out with a partner or on your own. You've got nothing to lose and maybe a lot to gain when it comes to protecting the relationships that matter most in your life.
Remember to stick with one single issue that you have a concern or complaint about regarding another person who is important in your life. No matter how tempting, don't get off track. As you complete each sentence stem in sequence (beginning with "I notice ...") be thoughtful about the words you choose, body posture, facial expression and other non-verbal ways you communicate. Be sure you're focusing on being heard and understood, not attacking, blaming, judging or criticizing.
Together with goodwill and a desire for the relationship to win, PAIRS Talking Tips will give you a skill you can keep forever that increases opportunities to confide, avoid misunderstandings, and take the first step in working through the differences and challenges of love for life. (If you'd like a laminated Talking Tips wallet card to keep handy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or give Caryn a call at 877-PAIRS-4U (724-7748) ext. 802.
Before doing Talking Tips with a partner, it's important both of you are familiar with the basics of good communication skills. PAIRS suggests beginning with
Good Talking Skills
Stress Styles of Communication
Using Talking Tips with another person
When done in person, the Speaker begins by identifying the specific behavior or action that was upsetting.
The Speaker starts with “I notice…” filling in whatever triggered the concern, and then continues by going around the wheel clockwise, completing each sentence stem with what applies to the situation. Stay on one issue only.
After each sentence stem, the Speaker stops to allow the Listener to reflect on what was just said by the Speaker, and repeat back what was heard. This allows the Speaker to know the information shared was heard accurately.
Sometimes, when the Listener repeats back what was heard, the Speaker may realize that what was heard is not what was said or perhaps not what was meant. In this case, the Speaker goes back to the stem and repeats or rephrases so the Listener can repeat back what was heard until it is accurate.
Remember, Talking Tips is not a conversation; it is a tool for confiding, understanding and, hopefully, deepening empathy and strengthening connection.
Throughout the exercise, it’s important for the Speaker to appreciate the Listener for taking the time to listen and repeating back what the Speaker is expressing. So after the Listener hears each statement correctly, the Speaker should say something like, “Yes, thank you.”
For the Speaker, Talking Tips is not a time to attack, guilt-trip, put-down or break significant relationship news.
For the Listener, this is not a time for discussion, argument, defensiveness, explanations, rebuttals, keeping score or emotional reactions.
At the end of the exercise, after the Speaker has confided using each of the sentence stems and the Listener has clearly heard, repeated and understood each one, give each other a hug or other sincere expression of appreciation for both listening and confiding.
PAIRS Talking Tips App is designed to familiarize you with the steps and process, consider in advance what you, the Speaker, want to say, and can be useful to share by email when it's not possible to do the exercise in person.
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