Communication Skills Training Course-Let's Talk! | Laura Silverstein, LCSW | Skillshare

Communication Skills Training Course-Let's Talk!

Laura Silverstein, LCSW, Communicastion Trainer/Couples Therapist

Communication Skills Training Course-Let's Talk!

Laura Silverstein, LCSW, Communicastion Trainer/Couples Therapist

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14 Lessons (49m)
    • 1. Preview: Communication Skills Training

    • 2. Welcome to This Evidence-Based Communication Skills Training Course!

    • 3. Miscommunication is a Waste of Time

    • 4. What Makes Communication Fail?

    • 5. How to Avoid a Misunderstanding (Or Fight)

    • 6. Project #1: Practice Avoiding a Misunderstanding

    • 7. You Are Fabulous (But People Will criticize you Anyway)

    • 8. How to Respond to Criticism without Becoming Defensive

    • 9. But You Don't Have to Fall on the Sword Either

    • 10. Project #2: Practice Responding to Criticism

    • 11. It's Hard to Talk to Someone Who is Upset

    • 12. How to Empathize Without Making Things Worse

    • 13. Project #3: Practice Expressing Empathy

    • 14. Acknowledgements and Resources

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About This Class


Save Time-Communicate Effectively.

This fast, easy skills course will teach 3 of the most crucial communication skills. (1) How to avoid a misunderstanding, (2) How to respond to criticism and (3) How to empathize.

Miscommunication wastes time. Fine tune your communication skills to avoid countless headaches that result from assumptions, misunderstandings and arguments. 

Note: This course does not cover sales, public speaking or persuasion strategies

Scientifically Proven Methods

These strategies are evidence-based, drawing from the work of emotional intelligence expert, Daniel Goleman, and relationship scientist, John Gottman both of whom have revolutionized the way we understand human interaction.

We have conversations with people from sun up to sun down. When these conversations go well, they lead to quick problem solving, decision making and connection. Conversations that don't go well lead to long drawn out dialogues, misunderstandings and distance. 

The 3 skills that you will master from this course are the result of 40 years of scientific observation of 6,000 real people having real conversations.

We know what works and what doesn't. 

This is Not a Self-Help Course

This course is built on the concept that people need information more than they need help. Many times we stumble into miscommunications simply because we aren't educated about common predictable (and avoidable) communication patterns. These strategies can be applied to the following contexts:

  • Discussions about politics or religion
  • Conversations with co-workers
  • Interviews
  • First-Dates
  • Long-term romantic relationships
  • Difficult conversations with family members 

Let's Talk! Enroll Now to Join the Conversation!

The sooner you start learning these quick simple strategies, the sooner you can enjoy that extra time.

What are the requirements?

  • No prior knowledge or training is required
  • Have a pen and paper handy

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Learn how to avoid a miscommunication, respond to criticism and empathize.
  • Manage confrontation without conflict or conflict avoidance.
  • Understand the destructive power of defensiveness and start using the alternative.
  • See that empathy is a teachable, practical skill and learn to improve it.
  • Understand that thoughtful deliberate communication saves time.
  • Enjoy productive and interesting conversations in place of frustrating communication loops.

What is the target audience?

  • People who looking for conversational communication skills training for interactions at work and/or home.
  • This course does not cover sales, persuasion or public speaking training.

Photo by Anna Vander Stel on Unsplash

Meet Your Teacher

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Laura Silverstein, LCSW

Communicastion Trainer/Couples Therapist


Laura Silverstein: Helping People Find more Happiness and Connection

She is Owner and Clinical Director of Main Line Counseling Partners, a private group therapy practice outside of Philadelphia.

Ms. Silverstein specializes in couples therapy and is a member of the Gottman Institute's research team, currently studying a new approach to infidelity treatment. Dr. John Gottman is a world-renown relationship researcher, probably most famous for being able to predict divorce with 90% accuracy.

Ms. Silverstein has been studying relationships since 1988. Her service has expanded to train other therapists and educate the public through online education and writing. Throughout her career she has maintained an active caseload providing individual, couples and family therap... See full profile

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1. Preview: Communication Skills Training: I imagine you're here because you really understand the importance of good communication that when people are listening to each other and speaking to one another respectfully, that's how decisions get made really efficiently. That's how problems get solved. It's also how we learn new things and integrate new ideas. So we all know what it's like when a conversation is going really well. But we also probably know what it's like when we're talking to somebody who's really not following the rules. And the problem is when somebody's coming at you in a way that is critical or you're saying something and they're getting really defensive, it's really hard to know what to do in those situations, and that's why I've put together this course. So in this course, I'm gonna help you avoid potentially problematic conversations. And there's three crucial skills for this to happen. I know there's all kinds of different communication skills out there, but these three are based on science there, based on lots and lots of research, and I'll get into that detail. But the 1st 1 is how to avoid a miscommunication because we all know that miscommunication takes out an extraordinary amount of time. It's a time drain, and the second scale is going to be how to respond to criticism without getting defensive. And the third is how to empathize. And the empathy applies to all kinds of different situations. It could be empathizing with somebody who's overreacting, somebody who's angry or really upset, and you're just in that situation where you don't know what just say. So I look forward to seeing you inside. 2. Welcome to This Evidence-Based Communication Skills Training Course!: Hi. My name is Laura Silverstein, and I'm really glad that you went ahead and signed up for this course. I have chosen three crucial communication skills t walk you through in this course, and I believe that this is where you're going to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to deciding to take a one hour course. The reason that I've chosen these scales come from research. So I'm drawing from the research of doctors John and Julie Gottman, who are famous for being able to predict divorce with 90% accuracy. It's also it also comes from Daniel Goleman, who is a, uh, an emotional intelligence expert. What we know about emotional intelligence is that it's one of the highest predictors for success, so I haven't just pulled these out of nowhere. I'm going to be walking you through formulas for how to talk in very specific situations, So I encourage you to follow the formulas that I've given you first. And then as you get comfortable with it, of course, you'll be ableto find a way to put it in your own words and your own voice. The first communication scale is how to avoid a miscommunication. The 2nd 1 is how to respond to criticism, and the third is how to empathize. I am a communications expert. I've been doing couples therapy for the majority of my career. So what that means is I'm in the room teaching people how to talk to each other about difficult things. Now, this course is not only for people who are in a romantic relationship. These skills can be applied to any conversation where you want to be heard and where you really want to hurt. Here, the person that you're listening, Teoh. So it can be applied to maybe talking about something difficult, like religion or politics. Maybe you're on a first date, and you and you want to make sure that you really show your date, that that what they're saying has value to you despite, you know, despite some nerves or what not. So you can use these skills with family members in work settings. A lot of the examples I've used I try to use family, personal and work examples to help you really globalize and use these in all kinds of different environments. 3. Miscommunication is a Waste of Time: this first section is how to avoid a misunderstanding or fight, and the reason that I chose to start the entire course with this communication skill is because miscommunication is a waste of time. So the idea is that if you can avoid a miscommunication in the first place, you'll be able to save a lot of time and headaches at the back end. And just think about how much time is wasted with a simple miscommunication about what time of meeting starts on. We all know what it's like to be sitting around waiting for somebody, but it goes even to the next level. If you end up having an argument where people's feelings get hurt and time gets sucked into repetitive, unproductive conversations. Thinking about what you wish you had said, wondering what the other person is thinking, wondering what people are saying behind your back, the whole idea is we're going to really work to figure out how to prevent this in the first place. Ah, lot of times people find themselves trying to have a productive conversation about something and then actually really completely shocked when it turns into an argument. So it may seem completely arbitrary whether or not a dialogue is gonna go south. But the truth is that it's actually not. Communication happens in predictable patterns, which is why we can prevent them. Miscommunication is predictable and avoidable, although it might seem to happen out of nowhere. Research teams have a spent an immense amount of time gathering data about what makes conversations productive and what makes them counterproductive. So there are warning signs you can look out for, and they're very minor and subtle changes you can make that will bring an entire conversation in a better direction. So I truly believe that prevention is better than intervention. Just as we know that a healthy diet reduces your risk of disease, we also know what decreases and increases the risk of conflict. So in the next lecture, we're gonna be talking about what makes communication fail 4. What Makes Communication Fail?: So in this lecture we're gonna be looking at what makes communication fail. And in order to understand how to prevent conflict, we need to understand what makes communication fail in the first place. For the purpose of this part of the communication course, I'll be drawing from the research of doctors John and Julie Gottman. They're prominent in the field of relationship research, and according to the last count, they had studied over 3000 couples over the course of 40 years. This is the body of research that I'm most familiar with because I am fortunate enough to be on their research team. And you may have heard the statistic that Dr Gottman can predict divorce with over 90% accuracy. He's able to do this from watching the 1st 3 minutes of a couple having a conversation about a conflict. Now people tend to get a little bit freaked out by this statistic because they start to worry that I'm going to tell them whether or not their relationship is doomed. But the truth is that this statistic is Onley true without intervention. Okay, so what that means is that people can absolutely turn things around just by understanding what's going wrong and making the necessary changes. So in their newlyweds study, the Gottman team observed couples after they came back from their honeymoons and then followed them for six years. They spent their weekends in a lab which was basically set up a za regular apartment. It was fitted with video cameras, and they also, you know, had their urine taken and they had blood samples and all of that. But really, what was? What was so crucial is that we really wanted to understand, or they wanted to understand what happens every single day. Not only what happens when a couple is having a conflict, but what are things like on a normal Tuesday. And that's really how we learned so much about communication patterns. So we know that conversations end the way that they begin 96% of the time. What does that mean? If you start a conversation with warmth and thoughtfulness, you will likely receive warm, thoughtful responses. If you bring up something when you're rushed and irritated, you'll probably receive the same thing in return. Okay, but here is the thing that actually might blow your mind. I'm serious. Let's think about this for a second. The 1st 3 minutes of a conversation not only predict the way the last three minutes of that conversation will go, but those three minutes ultimately predict how well the overall relationship will go. Okay, so here we have the six predictors of divorce. And these are the factors we look for when assessing a relationship. I noticed the first item on this list is called a harsh startup. We used to think that relationships failed because of things like affairs or different values. But here it isn't black and white. The way you start a conversation with people with whom you disagree hasn't immense influence over whether or not you're You're happy in that relationship on a long term basis . What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna teach you the prevention strategy for this harsh startup. And so, in the next lecture, I'll be teaching. You got Mons gentle startup formula. And it's not just taking a deep breath before you start talking. Ah, lot goes into how to do this right, and I'll be walking you through the formula step by step. It's super easy, but it is important that you follow each step 5. How to Avoid a Misunderstanding (Or Fight): in this lecture, we are going to be learning how to avoid a misunderstanding or fight. This is when we're really getting down to the nuts and bolts of what to say and how to say it when there's something sensitive that you need to bring up and you really want it to go well and the way we're going to do that as we are going to use John Gottman soft startup formula. This is the alternative to the harsh startup that we talked about before, and this is the way to start any kind of conversation that you think might be potentially difficult. So here's the formula put all together. I feel blank about blank, and I need or request blank notice that most often people stop after the first stanza. I felt her when you said what you said, OK, and then what happens is if you stop there than the listener is going to likely want to defend why he or she did or said what they did or said versus continuing to talk. So not to stop there, but to continue to talk and to put forward your need or your request so that you really get your listeners attention and that they're motivated to be understanding. Oh, you know, this person has is, you know, is having an experience. And there might be something concrete I can do to help, which is a really great way to start the conversation in a way that is positive. To step one, state your emotion clearly and succinctly. I feel annoyed. It seems super simple, right? However, it's amazing how tricked up we can get in this step, because very often we start a sentence with the words I feel. But really, what comes after the word feel isn't usually an emotion. So, for example, the wrong way. I feel that you don't care about me. I feel like nothing. I do matters. I feel as if we're spinning our wheels. Notice. Yes, the sentence starts with those two words, I feel, but really, what's going on on on the right side of the slide is that people are talking about their opinions or they're providing an analysis that not emotions, their thoughts or opinions or rants. So the way to get around that is to really stay with one feeling. So I feel length. I feel disconnected. I feel frustrated. By the way, if you're in a business environment, you don't have to talk about feeling sad, right? You can feel feel something like I'm feeling concerned that this project isn't gonna be completed. So not all emotions have to be mushy. But they do need to be clear if you're gonna be using this the way that it's intended. Okay? I want to point something out to you. Propositions air, not your friend. When you're using this, this tool, one really great way to notice that you're not speaking about an emotion is propositions. I feel that you don't care about me. I feel like nothing. I do matters. Okay, I feel as if and when we get to the practice portion later, you'll notice that when you write things down, then you're much more likely to be able to catch if you're going in the other direction toward thoughts. Okay. Step to describe what is happening objectively and without blame. So moving along. I feel annoyed when I come home to a cluttered house, nice and clear, and you notice that that's really different than complaining about what the other person did your describing what's happening to you. So do your best to avoid using the word you when you're doing Step two I come home to a cluttered house is a lot less triggering than you. Leave your clothes all over the house and just assume I'm gonna clean them up after you yet again. It's really easy to go. They're just not that helpful. Okay, Step three. Ask for what you need clearly and in a behavioral term. So what you're doing is you're asking for help. Please try to remember to put away your clothes and dishes Very simple versus please stop disrespecting me in our home and leaving your belongings all over the place. So in other words, you'll notice that on the left you're talking about what you do want instead of talking about what you don't want a lot of times in my office, I can't tell you how, how many times I just say, Well, what's the opposite of that? I need you to stop lovable. Okay, well, what's the opposite of that? The opposite of being late is being on time. The opposite of of being disrespectful is speaking with kindness. And there's some mental gymnastics that have to happen in order to do this. That's the point right that we're slowing down and taking the time to do those mental gymnastics with language. And that's why these air teachable skills were really just talking about what are the words that are coming out of our mouth before we say them thinking before we speak. So when you put it all together, I feel annoyed when I come home to a cluttered house and I need you to please try to remember to put your clothes and dishes away, and that is a soft start up step for pepper. Your soft startup with appreciation is and manners, so wherever you can, you want to look toe. Just find a way to point out that your noticed what the person is doing, especially when we're giving feedback about something sensitive. It's gonna land a lot better when that person feels like, Wow, you like me, you care about me. There's just this one little thing you wish was different, right? You think I'm great overall, but you want me to put my dishes away, which is so much easier to handle because as human beings we don't like hearing feedback. So if you can sandwich it with some positives and some appreciations, that will go a long way, even though it can feel a little bit paradoxical, right? Like, why am I saying nice things to this person when they're doing something I don't like? Well, because they're not all bad. They do good things and things that they could improve, like all of us. Okay, so now in the next section, we're going to be practicing everything that we've learned with actual real life examples. Okay, thanks. 6. Project #1: Practice Avoiding a Misunderstanding: Okay, So in this section, we are going to be putting everything we've learned into practice. And the way we're going to do this is I'm going to give you some scenarios. I want you to pretend that you are in that scenario. Even if you don't have a brother or a daughter and go ahead and use the soft startup formula, I will put it up so that you can refer to it also with something like this. With the practice sections, it's always a good idea to pause if you need Teoh. You know, rewind to go take a look at the different things that we've we've learned. So basically, here's what we're gonna dio. I'm going to give you a scenario. And the 1st 1 is that your brother said he would walk your dog while you are at work. But he has been forgetting to lock the door when he leaves. Remember? Just one or two sentences, Max. Okay. The second scenario is that your teenage daughter is in the habit of leaving dirty dishes on the counter. You did not want to get into a huge fight with her, but it is something that you would like to bring up with her. And the third scenario is a business one. Your colleague has not completed her portion of the team project. The project is due in two days. Of course, you don't want to get into an argument about this. You want a nice, clean conversation about it so that you can move forward efficiently. And finally, what I'd like you to do is think of a riel life situation with somebody that you know, think about something that probably isn't the biggest source of conflict between the two of you, but something that Israel that you'd like to talk about. It's up to you whether or not you use this, you know, in real life. But it's a great idea to figure out how you would do it, using your own voice in a real relationship. Okay, Now go ahead and check your work number One is your feeling one clear emotion Or are there propositions there meaning that you're talking about thoughts or opinions? Also, is your description specific and neutral without blaming? Did you make one and only one behavioral request? And did you use your manners and appreciation is really coming forward as if this is somebody that you really like and that you expect is going to be meeting your request. That kind of optimism tends to translate into motivation. Just a little side note. Okay, great. So now my request of you is that I would really love it if you would go ahead and add your softened start up to the comment section. The reason I ask, that is so that we can all take a look and give feedback to one another in a non critical way. It's really great to hear other people's ideas, especially with some of the scenarios that are the same. So that's the end of this section. There's a a test afterwards, if you like to take it, and the next section is how to respond to criticism. Thanks so much. 7. You Are Fabulous (But People Will criticize you Anyway): The next skill you'll be learning is how to respond to criticism without becoming defensive . So I imagine that you are fabulous. Whatever it is you're good at. I'm sure you're great at it. I'm sure you work hard and most likely you do your best to get along with people around you . Most people do right. We go through the world with pretty good intentions. But nonetheless, people will still come to you and tell you things that are negative. It's part of being in the world. And if you're like most people, when you hear a criticism, you're most likely to respond by feeling defensive. And that's human. Nature, in fact, is not only human nature. It's all members of the animal kingdom will defend themselves, one under attack and that instinct, that defensive instinct is going to be triggered whether the attack is a really threat or it's a perceived threat. So it's a good thing self defense is an adaptive response that keeps animals alive. And when somebody criticizes you, you're also gonna want to defend yourself with every bone in your body. But the truth is that verbal defensiveness kills productive dialogue, kills relationships. It stops any kind of problem solving or decision making. So as much as you believe that it will work, and you and many people just simply don't have the information of the education. So you believe that once you explain yourself to the other person that the problem will be solved just because at that point you explain here she realizes that they were wrong and best case scenario. They completely retract the criticism. And then the hope is that it's it's all done and good. There's two basic ways that we can try to do this with verbal defensiveness. The 1st 1 is innocent victim, which is where you're basically explaining your innocence. For example, I didn't mean to hurt you, and this one is tricky one right? It It can actually sound kind if you have the right tone of voice. And the other kind of verbal defensiveness is is a counterattack. And that's where you say something like You were the one that started this in the first place. Remember, that defensiveness is an attempt to ward off a perceived attack. But if you notice both of these kinds of defensiveness are basically saying there's something wrong with you. There's not something wrong with me. Okay? And now here we can return to the list of the predictors of divorce. And you may have noticed Item number two on the list is labeled four horsemen. So Gottman identified what he calls the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And the reason he calls in that is because these are very, very destructive communication patterns, and they could be thought of as like, say, sulfuric acid on a relationship. So on the left, you can see the things that you want to avoid and on the right is what you want to do instead. So I'm not going to go through this in too much detail. You'll probably recognize on the right we did gentle startup, which is also called Soft Start up in the last lecture. And on the left, the next thing down underneath underneath criticism is defensiveness. So I'm gonna show you why defensiveness is so destructive and to teach you what to do instead 8. How to Respond to Criticism without Becoming Defensive: Okay, So we've established that even though you are fabulous, people are still going to criticize you. And in this lecture, I'm gonna walk you through the criticized defend communication cycle, which is probably the most common communication pattern. I'm sure you're familiar with it, but what I'm gonna do is teach you how to stop it before it even starts. Okay, so here we have a diagram of how the cycle plays out on the left. It starts with criticism. For example. You're always late. And then the other person ends up feeling attacked. And, like we talked about, will most likely defend themselves either with innocent victim or a counterattack. I am not always late. Besides, there was traffic on the highway. So that defensive response then causes the other person to feel dismissed or to feel attacked, and will likely respond with basically an escalated criticism. For example, there's always traffic on Route 76. You never playing your time around that, and the cycle continues to amplify. Yes, I dio Look, I'm not saying this to be mean, but you just don't think ahead. And I hate that were always late. How can you even say that we're not always late. Oh, I know what this is about. Your still mad about being late to your brother's wedding. Oh my gosh, It's not even that we were late to brunch last week. We relate to going to the movies we got in after even the movie started. Not to mention the credits. And there you have it. That's how the criticise self defense pattern plays out. You don't even know you're doing it because the animal instinct will rear its head so incredibly quickly that before you even know it too perfectly intelligent people become animals fighting in the wild. And at that point people end up saying things that they might really regret or don't even mean at all, even though it started off by simply trying to explain their point of view in a calm, rational manner doesn't really work OK, so the defensiveness and to dope was to take responsibility. We know that defensiveness is putting the problem in the other person, so basically the antidote is to do the exact opposite to acknowledge that it takes two to tango. Okay, so here's the quote. The antidote to defensiveness is to take some responsibility for even a small part of the problem. By doing this, you can quickly reduce tension and prevent conflict from escalating. So how do you actually do it? It's easier said than done. Okay, so let's rework this slide because this is really where the rubber meets the road. When somebody criticizes you, you are likely to feel attacked. But I'm going to encourage you to stop the cycle before you even say anything out loud by challenging your own perception. You're not actually in the wild being chased by a lion. You are being told something that you don't like to hear that you don't want to hear something negative. And instead of assuming that that person is attempting to hurt, you, try to stay neutral and listen to what they're saying, even though they may not be expressing themselves very skillfully. I'll try to think from your frontal cortex rather than from your limbic system and be willing to take an honest look at yourself. So instead of perceiving the criticism as an attack, allow yourself to accept influence from that other person and read between the lines to see the value in what they're saying instead of responding defensively to the negativity. I know that this is simple in terms of the concept, but actually very difficult to put into practice. So if you can take responsibility for just a small part of what's being said, you can actually enter an effective dialogue instead of escalating that attack defend communication pattern, which is really, really hard to get out off. Okay, so as hard as it is to catch yourself early on, it really goes a long way in the long run. So once you're able to slow down and recognize that you're not in danger and you don't need to protect yourself, then you need to find the right words to verbally accept responsibility for what's being said. So here's some examples of some phrases to use as you start your sentence. I was wrong. I made a mistake. I get what you're saying. It makes sense. You're right about that. Sorry. Any of those. And it really is important how you start that sentence as we know from the last lecture here is how it would go Instead you're late. I know you're right. I'm really sorry. You never remember to plan for extra time. Yeah, I really can get better trying to remember to account for the traffic once you say that, Yes, it's possible that they're gonna come at you with the third criticism. But after a certain point, that person is kind of gonna begin to feel like a jerk. If you keep agreeing with, um so more likely will be, Yeah, I can get better a trying to remember to account for the traffic and you'll hear something like Thanks, that would be awesome. And then you can say something like, I want you to know that I really was trying to get back on time. I was just so frustrated to be stuck and stop and go traffic, knowing I was already lied. At this point, you're now two people talking about an external problem. So you might hear something like I know 76 is the worse. The traffic is so bad. So by accepting responsibility than what you can see is that you're now in a conversation about a joint problem, the traffic on 76 instead of in an argument about whose fault it was that you guys were late to a wedding three years ago So that's how it works. If you're able to catch yourself right at the very beginning of the process and in the next lecture, I'm gonna give you some scenarios and you can practice how to not be defensive when somebody is criticizing you. 9. But You Don't Have to Fall on the Sword Either: as we're getting ready for practice. I just wanted to point out one more thing that comes up very frequently and that is that taking responsibility is not the same as agreeing with the criticism that's coming towards you, especially when it's coming at you in a way that's aggressive and accusatory. I'm not recommending that you're supposed to be a doormat here and agree with what the other person is saying and fall on the sword and blame yourself for the whole thing. Absolutely not. The point is that you're trying to show the person that it matters to you what they're saying and that you're that you're trying to see where they're coming from by looking at yourself, not just Ryker saying it back. So let me show you the difference between the two. If somebody came at you and said you're being disrespectful, that's a really great example of a criticism because it's attacking character instead of making a behavioral request. But it's not like you only have two options. Your options are not either to agree that you are being disrespectful or to explain why you're not being disrespectful. Those were not the only two options what you wanted, Teoh is get away from the character and you start talking about specific behaviors. So you might say something like I get why you're saying that Because I really did let you down. When I left the kitchen such a mass after you specifically asked me to clean it up. You told me your roommate was coming and you came home to a dirty kitchen and I get it. So you start to talk about the behaviour instead of either confirming or denying that you are guilty of the criticism. Here's the catch. Maybe you didn't clean the kitchen because your mom called you right as you started to do it. And she told you that she had some really scary medical news and you dropped everything to talk to your mom. So it's crucially important that you find a way to bring that information in. The other person needs to know why it didn't happen. You want to share it? The other person, I'm sure, does want to hear it, But it's all about sequence. The thing is that if you talk about the reason why you didn't do it before you acknowledge that you didn't do it, then you're going back into the cycle we talked about before. But if you're able to take responsibility first and then give the explanation, the person is going to be listening to you, and it's gonna de escalate the situation so that the person is open to here when you get into productive dialogue. I really wanted to make sure you understood that. And next we're gonna go into practicing. Everything is learned. 10. Project #2: Practice Responding to Criticism: So what we're gonna do in this practice situation is I'm going to give you a criticism, and the first thing I want you to do is write down your knee jerk defensive response. What you think you might say or what internal dialogue might be going through your brain and then go ahead. You should pause. You know, go ahead and pause the video while you're doing that. And then second, to use the antidote of taking responsibility and try and think of a behavior that you may have done that caused the person to feel what they felt. And that would be a way to turn the productive dialogue exactly as we talked about. Okay, here's your first scenario. You're so lazy. 2nd 1 I can tell you don't care about my feelings. No offense, but you're just not very good at this. Great. Now it's time to check your work, and I want you to take a look and notice a few things. First off did you take responsibility for some aspect of what you were being accused off, and what can you imagine might be said next in both of those scenarios. So thinking about your defensive response. Take a look at your piece of paper. What do you think the person would have said next? With your defensive response on, what do you think would be said next with your, uh, taking responsibility? So I'd love it if you could go ahead and add that to the comment section and keep the conversation going. Thanks. 11. It's Hard to Talk to Someone Who is Upset: The next skill we're going to be looking at is how toe empathize, and we want to use this skill any time. We're talking to somebody who is having a really strong emotion when they're upset about something and it could be sadness, anger, anxiety, stress by the way it will work, even if you feel like the person with whom you're speaking is overreacting or they really shouldn't feel the way that they feel. It's not about agreeing with them, but we'll be getting into the nuts and bolts of how to do it. So it's hard to talk to someone who's upset. Ah, lot of us just simply don't know what to do or what to say. It's one of the things that makes it so hard to go to a funeral. You see people that you care about in pain and you want to help him feel better. But you might not necessarily know exactly what you should do or say. So that's why I'm gonna walk you through this process. We have all heard about the word empathy. We know it's a good thing. Perhaps you've heard some awesome statistics about emotional intelligence, right? So we know that it leads to strong leadership ability, overall success and happiness. But the problem is, it's a pretty abstract concept, so I really want to break it down and make it more concrete for you and understanding that it is a teachable skill that I can walk you through. So empathy is the ability to identify and relate to another person's emotions. Or, I should say in other beings emotions. Here we have Charles Darwin back in 18 72 pointing out that the young and the old of widely different races both man and animals, express the same state of mind by the same movements. So what does this mean? Basically, Darwin is pointing out that emotions are the greatest common denominator of living species . Similar facial expressions are basically showing us that there's a similar internal state of mind, similar emotional experience that another being is experiencing. And this research has been replicated here in 2017 people like Paul Eckman are able to identify micro expression, so very, very subtle changes in the muscles in your face show other people what what you're experiencing. So Daniel Goldman is an emotional intelligence expert, and he breaks down the concept into three different categories. So the 1st 1 is cognitive empathy, which is an intellectual understanding of one's emotions. Okay, so that's basically it makes sense to me that you feel this way. Emotional empathy is attunement or the ability to relate. If somebody is sad, you're kind of relating to remembering what it was like for you to be sad and empathic. Concern takes it to the next level in the form of compassion. So empathic concern is basically when I see you in trouble, I want to help you out, and that's ultimately the highest form of empathy. We know that empathy builds trust. When you are able to understand someone else's emotions and and connect to a legitimate sense of basically walking in their shoes, you'll develop a more trusting relationship. Whether it's romantic, family, friendship or business is always true. Empathy builds trust, but you might be making it worse. Expressing empathy takes a certain amount of delicacy, and things can go south quickly if you're not careful. So in the next lecture, I'll be showing you some really common pitfalls that people fall into, as well as surefire ways to help people out when they're feeling upset. 12. How to Empathize Without Making Things Worse: So now we're gonna talk about the nuts and the bolts of how to actually empathize. Like I said, this is probably one of the most important skills that you can possess in a lifetime. And the good news is that these seem skills will work. Whether somebody is feeling angry, whether they're feeling sad, grieving, super frustrated about something. Ah, little kid that's having a temper tantrum. So empathy is really a universal strategy. It will work even if you think somebody's being entirely unreasonable, because you're going through a process within yourself to help you, to try to, to relate to where they're coming. So like I said before, empathy is a teachable skill. Many people don't recognize that the important thing to know is that you don't have to solve the problem. You don't even have to find the right words, but you do have to learn how to connect with your own emotions. Like we said, cognitive empathy is a process of really thinking about why it makes sense that the person in front of you is feeling the way that they're feeling so cognitive is another word for thoughts, and that's where you're thinking about OK, they're feeling a feeling, and you try to understand why. Oh, I remember this person is sad because they told me the other day that their cat had died. And when. When that information comes to your brain, that's the first step in beginning to empathize. Then sometimes that's enough that most of the time it's really not. The next level Down is emotional empathy, and what we do with emotional empathy is we actually pay attention to the feelings that are coming up within us as we're listening to what's being said. So remember what we said about how emotions are universal, and that's what makes emotional empathy possible. So if the process of connecting to your own emotional awareness and notice whether or not it's sadness, anger, fear so basically what you want to dio is pay attention to to what it's like to feel that feeling. So in other words, of somebody's sad and you're not sad because your cat didn't die, Or maybe you're having a really great day. But you know what it's like to be sad, because it's a common experience. So at some point in time, you have been sad, and by going through that process of first understanding the emotion and then relating to it as a common experience, you're one step closer to really connecting to what's going on for that of a person. Empathic concern is the deepest form that empathy can take. And just as we talked about when we were talking about defensiveness, Ah, we talked about how species would not have survived without self defense. Well, it also would not have survived without care taking and nurturing. And we know from Sue Johnson's application of attachment theory to adults that its not just babies who need to be loved and taking care of human beings need one another as well. So when we see that someone else is in pain, someone is very upset about something. This empathic concern is the process of finding compassion. So the question then becomes okay. You've gone through this process, which is all internal, but I want to remind you you haven't said a single word. You just thought about why they're upset related to your own emotional experience with that feeling, and then notice that you really do want to help. So I'm gonna start with what not to Dio. So, as we now move to the phase of what is said out loud, I want to caution you that sometimes attempts at empathic concern can backfire even though they're coming from a desire to help. They're coming from a place of compassion, but I want to tell you a list of common mistakes. But the 1st 1 is. Do not try to cheer the person up because minimizing the others person's pain will actually maximize it. People often try to cheer somebody up, hoping that that's gonna make them feel better. But actually it can cause the other person to feel more misunderstood and sometimes a worst case scenario. They can feel patronized. The other thing that's kind of good news is that you don't have to solve the person's problem in order to help him feel better down the line. You might have excellent advice for them, but giving them unsolicited vice too early could actually make things worse and cause them to feel disrespected. So if a surgeon recommended surgery before asking you a whole lot of questions, you'd probably decrease the amount of trust whereas if they really listen to you, showed you that they cared that you have this medical problem. Then when they got to the point of advice giving you you would really have much more energy going toward listening to what a are saying. And the third mistake that many of us make is that we think that empathizing is talking about a time that we went through what the other person is experiencing. But this is the opposite of what I talked about in terms of taking accountability. You don't want to talk about yourself in this situation. The other person then might turn around and feel like they need to comfort you. So you're on the right track in terms of thinking about a time that you felt a similar feeling. The Onley thing I recommend is not to say it out loud quite yet. Okay, so what to do? The good news is that true empathy is actually easier than all of those things. I just told you not to dio step one, summarize what has been said. This is really easy to do. Don't make it more complicated than it is. It might feel weird in the beginning, but you're literally are going to summarize what they say so. What I hear you saying is you're really sad because your cat died. So what I hear you saying is you're really frustrated that the meetings haven't been starting on time. You're not making any other comment other than what they said. You're not. You say what they've said, Even if it you believe that is an absolute Layton and total lie. You just summarize that you're hearing what they're saying, step to validate the emotion that is being expressed. It makes total sense that you feel due to do whatever it is that they're saying. Here's the hard part. It might not make sense to you that the person feels the way he or she does. You might think that he or she shouldn't be upset because it's not that big of a deal. But the key to empathy is not pretending that you would feel the same way. It's understand that the person with whom you are talking truly does feel the way that they feel and you look at it through their point of view through their perspective. So it makes sense because you were listening so closely not because you would feel the same way. So in the beginning, when we're talking about really thinking the cognitive empathy, that's where it might not make sense to you or you wouldn't feel the same way. But you remember. Oh, you know this is particularly This is an area that this person is particularly sensitive to . Therefore, it makes sense that that person feels the way they feel. Step three. Make sure that the words match the music. This is a picture of the tectonic, I think. Eso When I was in camp, we used to sing this song that basically was like it was that so sad. It's sad when the great each went down to the bottom of the husbands and waas, you get the point anyway, So the whole idea is that you're talking about something horrifically tragic. But if the words don't match the music, even if you understand and you've got the paraphrasing right, then it's gonna be dramatically dismissive to the other person. So the way that you say the words your tone of voice, connecting to your emotion as you're talking is really going to come through purses. It was so sad when the Titanic went down. Husbands, wives little kids lost their lives. Lots and lots of people die. And that way it's Congress. The words do match the music and we need new words for that little song. I just saying to you, Sorry about that, by the way, anyway. So people often believe that it's patronising to paraphrase, and it will be. It will appear patronising if you don't get Step three, right. If the words aren't matching the music, you're just gonna sound like you're going through the motions like Ah, Laura Silverstein told me toe paraphrase. I hear you saying that you're really frustrated because the meetings, you know, that's the idea that you really are gonna sound like a parrot. And it's gonna come across as if you're just doing a communication skill instead of really doing the work around emotional empathy. That's that's where the rubber meets the road. Okay, so when the next step, we're gonna go ahead and do the practice exercises 13. Project #3: Practice Expressing Empathy: in this section. We're going to be practicing what we've learned about empathy. And I'm gonna be giving you different scenarios and go through the practice of the different stages first, with cognitive than emotional empathy, all the way down to compassion as you're looking at each of these scenarios, and then try to imagine what you I would say and write down your response, but also think about the manner that you would use in delivering that message. So the first scenario is your neighbor has just gotten word that her mother has passed away after a long battle with cancer. In the second scenario, a co worker is coming in just going on and on, complaining about traffic and why meetings shouldn't be scheduled at 10 o'clock in the morning, especially on a Monday. And in the last scenario, you're flying internationally with your cousin, and as soon as the engine turns on, she starts to breathe very heavily and grip the arm rest tightly. So think about what you would say and how you would say it. So thanks so much for taking this course all the way through. I really look forward to being in contact back and forth as you're learning these new skills and using the entire community as a resource to practice and grow together. Thanks so much. 14. Acknowledgements and Resources: