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Simple, practical and powerful communication tool
March 06, 2018

The Four Sides of a Message

Last month I talked about TWO active listening techniques – to help you dramatically improve the quality of your communication, the quality of your decision-making, and to get rid of misunderstandings (misunderstanding are very expensive, aren’t they?)

This month, I am going to give you a THIRD active listening technique – to help you turn into an even more successful communicator.

This technique is called the “Four Sides of a Message” – also known as the “Four Sides Model”

Friedemann Schulz von Thun – a German psychologist expert in interpersonal and intrapersonal communication – created this model.

It’s a very simple, practical and extremely powerful tool in managerial communication.

Every time you say something – to your direct reports, to your superiors, to your suppliers, to your clients, etc. – you communicate four things (whether you are aware of it or not):

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First: Comprehensibility

You communicate to them factual information.

“Facts”

Second: Focus on goals and solutions

You communicate to them what you want.

“What I want you to do is …”

Third: Relationship quality

You communicate to them what you think about them.

“What I think about you is …”

Fourth: Self-revelation

You communicate to them how you feel and/or what you think.

“What I expose about myself is …”

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That’s it.

Usually, you ARE conscious about the first side (facts) – and also about the second side (what I want you to do is).

Usually, you are NOT conscious about the third side (what I think about you) – and about the fourth side (what I expose about myself).

To be an effective communicator – you must be purposeful about all four sides:

1) Comprehensibility -

What are all the facts that I must include in this communication, in order to be clear, coherent and understandable?

2) Focus on goals and solutions -

What exactly do I want this person to do?
Am I being crystal-clear about what I want?

3) Relationship quality -

What do I want to communicate to this person about what I think of her?

Do I want to communicate to her that I dislike her?
Do I want to communicate to her that she is incompetent?
Do I want to communicate to her that I respect her?
Do I want to communicate to her that I don’t believe her?
Do I want to communicate to her that she is superior to me?
Etc.

Obviously - this does NOT mean that you are going to explicitly say out loud any of this.

It means that you are going to have the awareness about this side of the communication (relationship quality) - and as a consequence - you are going to be purposeful about it.

4) Self-revelation -

What do I want to communicate to this person about myself?

Do I want to communicate to her that I have fear?
Do I want to communicate to her that I am confident?
Do I want to communicate to her that I am nervous?
Do I want to communicate to her that I know what I am talking about?
Do I want to communicate to her that I am pessimistic?
Do I want to communicate to her that I am certain?
Etc.

Here again …

This does NOT mean that you are going to explicitly say out loud any of this.

Again, it means that you are going to have the awareness about this side of the communication (self-revelation) - and as a consequence - you are going to be purposeful about it.

I repeat:

To be an effective communicator – you must be purposeful about all four sides:

1) Comprehensibility -

If you don’t include all the necessary facts – you open the door for misunderstandings.

2) Focus on goals and solutions -

If you are not crystal-clear on what you want – you open the door for misunderstandings.

3) Relationship quality -

If the person you are speaking with perceives that you don’t like to work with her, she might not perform (as you would like her to).

If the person you are speaking with perceives that you think she is incompetent, she might become demotivated.

Etc.

And the opposite is just as true …

If she feels respected by you, her commitment to her work might increase.

Etc.

4) Self-revelation -

If the person you are speaking with perceives that you are not open and honest, she might not trust you.

If she perceives that you are not confident, she might not believe in you.

Etc.

And the opposite is just as true …

If she perceives that you are optimistic, she might more easily get on board with you.

Etc.

As you can see, the “relationship quality” side of the communication (what I think about you is) – AND the “self-revelation” side of the communication (what I expose about myself is), are just as important as the “comprehensibility” side (facts) and as the “focus on goals and solutions” side (what I want you to do is).

Whether you are the speaker or you are the listener, the four sides of the message are vital in order to have an effective communication.

It’s a very simple communication tool with tremendous positive implications for your day-to-day performance.

Conclusion:

Just remember:

Whether you are the speaker or the listener - keep in mind these four sides:

1) Facts.
2) What I want you to do is …
3) What I think about you is …
4) What I expose about myself is …

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What other active listening techniques have you found to be practical and helpful? Hit the “reply” button and let me know.

Thank you.




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Most recent 12 "Leader Newsletter" issues:

One of the most effective communication tools
New Year & Your Direct Reports
Are you conscious about this responsibility?
Are you being unconsciously reactive?
Your Emotional Intelligence
Your main challenge within the team you lead
Are leaders born or made?
Improve your team’s performance - faster!
Your adjectives are your worst enemy
Job Design & Intrinsic Motivation
Communication Skill You Must NOT Lead Without
Performance Management Made Sexy


See you next month!
Joseluis Romero - Publisher
www.Skills2Lead.com
March 6, 2018. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month
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