Six Agreements for Better Conversing

What are these six agreements that are going change the way we relate, forever?
Obviously this is my subjective view but let’s see what you think.
The six agreements that I am hoping to get with you are broken up into two parts.
Three for listening with and three for speaking with.
The Listening for agreements that I am proposing are:

1. Adjustable

2. Accountable

3. Acceptable

1.That is we agree to use Adjustable language when we are conversing or making our point.
Examples of this are reminding each other that these are only our opinions and prefacing our statements with “I think…” or “to me” etc. No room of absolute language like “that’s perfect”, “it can’t be done” or “that’s impossible” without these prefaces. At any point we can enquire if the other person is still speaking from opinion rather from fact.

2. Accountable language being pretty self explanatory in that we take responsibility for what we say or do and not attribute things to others. For example “You make so frustrated” changes to “I get frustrated when we talk about this”.
No room for victims and persecutors. We make our bed and we lie in it.

3.If we find something that was said that we did not like but were unsure as to why we do not have to accept it and can let the other know that there is something wrong and we will get back to them on it. It might very well be that someone used very cleverly worded language that was not adjustable or accountable but we need some time to work on it.

For Speaking with I have three other agreements that I am proposing for better conversing:

1. Appreciate

2. Apologise

3. Acknowledge

4. Appreciate works by us remembering that no matter what is said that we cannot converse in a vacuum. That we cannot expect to hear perfection or even what we consider perfect. If we notice that the delivery is not adjustable or accountable enough for us we can let them know by first thinking them for their feedback and explain how we think their delivery can improve according to the first three agreements.

5. Apologise: If one of us lose it (the plot) then we and the relationship has lost it (the benefit). The Apology is for both of us do in response to this loss. Now granted one person is more than likely to seem to initiate this break down but we are both responsible for ensurng that it does not happen. So when it does happen we are both responsible for making such an apology. One for the overt aggression and the other for contributing and not spotting it early enough to prevent it getting to that point. The Apology consists of what I did, why I did it and what I will do (try) next time. Obviously to apologise to this level would take a lot of humbleness but the benefit is more for the person making the apology than the receiver. By reminding us how we can do better and avoiding blaming the other person for what occurred. As the saying goes “It takes two to tango”.

6. Acknowledge each point that is made when conversing. This requires discipline and patience on both sides not to introduce too many extraneous topics into the conversation until each issue is dealt with.

This is a basis of this book Rethink Perfect and how we relate with each in the course of improving our concepts and knowledge through conversing.

If anyone can explain why these proposed agreements would not be effective in improving conversations
especially when disagreements occur then please let me know and why and I would love to hear your opinion.

As we have not got any of these agreements at this stage can we please try to resort to common courtesy when replying to this post until such agreements are achieved.

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1 Response to Six Agreements for Better Conversing

  1. Comment from Franis from Edward de Bono Community Society

    “Good point Kim. Changing the way you talk is probably one of the most difficult things to do. Most people talk as best they can. It’s nice that you have these ideas about what is “best,” Desmond. But do you have the right to impose your ideas on someone else when they don’t seem to be effective for you?

    Desmond, IMHO, to be a solution, your book most needs some creative ideas about what to DO when you can’t get an agreement on one of your six points. That is, something else besides write someone off your list as a “bad risk” for a relationship because they won’t agree with you. It also is an unworkable solution to defensively make the other person write you off their list – by adding new “Rules of Engagement” as you go. (Such as, “You can be explicit as you want, but I’m only going to read the first ten lines!”) Really, that was bordering on trollish behavior.

    Given the previous conversation, classifying the attributes of what seems to you to be the essentials of respectful communication rather obviously doesn’t work as a “first-aid” when things go wrong. Maybe wiping the slate and starting again (as you have done by starting this thread) might work eventually. That is an “Action.”

    What you DO, (not what you SAY or intend) is what is effective. A tacit agreement means “what seems to be happening.” Whatever is discussed, it is the tacit agreement that is operating. When you change the tacit agreement unilaterally, the other person is likely to withdraw because you have abandoned the original set of agreements.

    Aha! Now maybe you’ll see the need to learn to use some thinking tools, instead of picking our brains in order to write your book…”

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