#5. Step One- Creating Shared Reality (Part Two) (“Here is what I observed”)
If you want to talk about an action or something that happened, share what you observed, free of judgment or blame. Imagine that you have a camcorder—recording exactly what happened on video tape, or that you’re like a sports commentator giving a “play-by-play” account in an accurate and succinct way.
Rather than saying, for example, “You screwed up!” (an evaluation or interpretation of what happened) just share the facts. “I told you this client was slow-moving and I asked you to hold off in following up and then you emailed them two days later.”
Or, rather than saying, “You’re not doing your share!” let them know what that means in actual terms: “Last week you said you’d take the garbage out and pick the mail up, and I haven’t seen you do either this week.”
Take a moment and consider:
Imagine you’re on the receiving end of a statement. Which would be easier to hear: “You just don’t care!” or “This is the third time you’ve planned a vacation with me and then said you’re too busy to go.”
Which one has less blame or risk of being heard as blame? Even if it’s still a difficult message to hear, how will it be easier if it’s not blame or heard as blame? And how will sharing the facts, exactly what you heard or saw, foster shared reality?