The Power of “I Statements” in everyday communication

 

The Power of the I Statements

The use of the “I statements” in our conversations are a under used technique many people simply do not know and understand. The “I statements” can be used to express frustration, stress, anxiety, disappointment, uncertainty, lack of understanding, etc.

The benefit of using these statements is that they get your thoughts out in the open for all to see and hear without the potential negative impact that often comes when one confronts another individual’s behaviour, thoughts, opinions, etc. You are better able to manage the conversation and keep control of your emotions and often the emotions of others in check.

Instead of saying to someone, “you just said this…” which can get people to react often negatively because you have centered them out.

Instead by saying “I am hearing and understanding the following, that there is a general understanding that the organization may not stay in its current physical location and that is troubling for people, am I understanding this correctly?

Examples of “I statements” are;

I hear you…

I understand…

Help me out, I am frustrated with the following…

I am feeling the following…

I agree and hear is what I am thinking…

Based on the conversation, I am thinking the following…

I need help with this and with I am thinking…

I would like the following for clarity…

What I heard was…

What I saw was…

What I observed was…

What I learned was…

What I conclude is…

This me to think…

I suggest that we…

Another example of where one might use the “I statements” effectively is when a discussion is perhaps a sensitive emotionally charged one and you want to keep it from going the wrong way. One way to try to keep the conversation going in the right direction to avoid directing the conversation at the person and trying to not put the person in a defensive position. So when he or she makes a direct statement to you like, “I feel at times you are not providing me with clear direction and leaving me too much to operate on my own”.

Your response could be, “Great feedback, I am hearing and understanding the desire for me to provide more clarity and to take the time to spend more time giving more direction. Perhaps my management style has been a bit to hands off to early. I’m understanding things correctly?

Try using the “I statements” the next time you are in a conversation with another person and see for your self the results!

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