Monday, April 21, 2008

Communication: Mastering The Art Of Communication (part 3)


When effectively participating in interpersonal communication, a key element on your part is that of outcome based thinking. Outcome based thinking entails knowing what your objective is before entering into a task, communication or project. It is not always necessary to consciously use outcome based thinking in interpersonal communication. There are many times that it is simply nice to 'be' with someone. In these cases it is often far more enjoyable to remain non-directive.

When do you use outcome based thinking (OBT)? You will use OBT when you are negotiating anything. You will normally use OBT when you are in problem solving and/or task oriented communication. Whenever you want or need something you will use OBT. You will almost always use OBT when you are at work or in your business setting.

How do you use OBT for effective thinking and effective communicating? By providing yourself with a road map that allows you to know where you are going is the first step. I've often said that, "once you know where you are and where you are going, it's relatively easy to get there."


It is difficult to effectively communicate if you do not know what you want in the communication. Living life by design means that you are empowering your life with true purpose and mission.

OBT starts at the macro level, then works its way to the micro level. As you live a designer's life, you begin to notice how most of what you do is within the larger context of your mission and purpose in life. The process of OBT is detailed below. Think of an upcoming event, appointment or situation where you will hope to effectively communicate with someone. Once you have something specific in mind, integrate that situation into the model below.


  1. What precisely do I want out of the process?
  2. What does the other person want? If I don't know, what are they likely to want?
  3. What is the least I will accept out of the process?
  4. What problems could come up in the process?
  5. How will I deal with each one, and if possible, use the problem as a BENEFIT for the other person?
  6. How will I bring the process to a conclusion?

You can use this model when you are negotiating the purchase of a new home. It's also simple enough to integrate into daily life communications with your life partner, children and friends. Excellence in communication often follows the discovery of your fellow communicator's values. This model allows you to more thoughtfully structure whatever message you are preparing to "give." By actually taking the time to think through this process in a step by step fashion, you become more comfortable in expressing your feelings, thoughts, and emotions with others. Similarly, it makes you very aware of what others needs and wants, or more simply, values are.

Everyone has values but values differ from person to person. Even when people have the same values, they can differ greatly in their hierarchy. Two people may each have health and love as extremely important values. One of the people may have love as the most important value, the other could have health. This seemingly small differentiation can in and of itself mold different personalities. Learning the key values of other people is therefore tantamount to being an effective communicator.

Discovering the values of others can be accomplished by using the values determination model below. A few simple questions of your fellow communicator will help you learn what is truly important to them. It is interesting to note that values are context-dependent. In other words, what is important to someone in a love relationship may have a different value in a business relationship. These differences are accounted for in the model below as you will notice.