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Author Topic: Free State Communications Workshop  (Read 4145 times)


  • Guest
Free State Communications Workshop
« on: October 18, 2004, 10:38:31 am »

This Wednesday evening, Dr. Michael Edelstein* will be leading a discussion on Communication Strategies for Building Consensus.  The workshop will be held at at 9pm ET.  Hope to see you there!

Chat Schedule for upcoming weeks:

*  Wednesday October 20th, 9pm ET  Communication Strategies for Building Consensus with Dr. Michael Edelstein
*  Tuesday October 26th, 9pm ET Speaker's Bureau Workshop:  How to Find Speaking Engagements with Phil Denisch, Speakers Bureau Coordinator
*  Thursday November 4th, 9pm ET Resident Porcupines Answer Questions About New Hampshire with George Reich, Rich Tomasso, Jack Shimek and Fred Mitchell.

Location for all chat sessions will be:

Previous chat transcripts are available at:

Resources used during these sessions can be found at:

* Dr. Michael R. Edelstein is in private practice in San Francisco and is the co-author, with Dr. David Ramsay Steele, of Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, a self-help book for overcoming common emotional and behavioral problems. The book has been chosen as a selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club and by the Behavioral Sciences Book Club, and also as a featured alternate Laissez-Faire Books. Michael was awarded "Author of the Year" for the book by the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists.

Michael lectures nationally and internationally, appears on radio and television, and is published in psychological journals. He is the creator of a five-step audiotape weight-management program, and has produced tapes used for training psychotherapists. He writes the advice column, "Ask Dr.Mike," which appears in the San Francisco Intelligencer.

He is a Training Supervisor and Fellow of the Albert Ellis Institute and holds a diploma in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. He is Past President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy.  He frequently speaks to libertarian groups, having given presentations at Laissez Faire Books, ISIL, the Separation of School & State Alliance, Eris, Free Exchange, and the California LP annual conventions. His topic at LPCCon2004 was "Overcoming Emotional Blocks to Success as a Libertarian."

He is currently writing two books, The Revolution In Psychotherapy (Open Court Publishing) and Three Minute Therapy for Stage Fright (See Sharp Press).

You may find Dr. Edelstein's website at:


  • Guest
Re:Free State Communications Workshop
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2004, 08:28:12 am »

Great chat last night!  Thanks Michael and everyone who came.  The transcript will be availabe soon here:

And here are Michael's suggestions for improving communication:

Communication Strategies For Building Consensus (10/20/04)

1. Assume responsibility for your role in a dialogue. Do what  _you_ can to improve the process. (As good as it may feel for the moment, resentfully criticizing others for communication breakdowns doesn't help and often accelerates a downward spiral.)

2. Bring up and then address one issue at a time.

3. Remain positive and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. For example, if you suspect they may be using a sarcastic tone, assume the best.

4. Respond only to the constructive content of a message. Ignore, when possible, sarcasm, innuendo, name-calling, etc. (It's usually possible). This helps avoid escalation.

5. Avoid accusations, especially overgeneralized ones, such as: "You never...", You always...",  "Why can't you...?", "I can't believe you said that," etc.

6. Say "Please," "Thank you," "I apologize," "Great idea!," etc., generously. These words are the lubricants of communication--especially "I apologize." ;-)

7. Before criticizing a position, consider feeding it back to the person advancing it, to confirm you've understood it.

8. Do not label the individual you're speaking with, e.g., "You're a troll," "You're intolerant," " ...disrespectful," "...oblivious," "...obnoxious," etc. This rarely helps and often makes matters worse. Similarly, calling their arguments stupid, destructive, "I can't believe you said that," etc. is poor technique.

9. Keep in mind that "agreeing to disagree" is usually a fine option when stuck in a communication rut. There's often no
right or wrong in our disagreements. Differing opinions may rest on different styles, proclivities, or comfort levels.

10. If you wish someone to communicate more constructively, offer a specific suggestion and begin it with "I prefer..." For example, "I prefer you not call me intolerant. Rather, please cite specifically what I said that you disagree with." (Alternatively, trying to prove you're not intolerant, or launching a counter-offensive, rarely is constructive.)

11. If you feel the process is breaking down, discuss this with the other person. Collaboratively work to improve it by focusing on future behavioral change, rather than by assigning blame for past communication difficulties.

12. State negative feelings in a positive way by stating the other's best self, e.g., "I know you're a tolerant person," or "You often have excellent ideas." Then let them know you feel they're not living up to their usual high standard.

13. If you're communicating by computer, consider moving to the telephone should communication get stalled.

14. Give positive feedback, praise, appreciation, "atta boys" wherever possible.

15. Preface constructive criticism with positive feedback.

16. If disengaging is a viable option with someone who seems generally angry and negativistic, politely end the dialogue. Alternatively, consider suggesting ending it for continuation at a future date, when one (or both of you) will have had a chance to collect your thoughts and calm down.

17. Keep in mind that everyone is a free agent with free will, consequently you can't force anyone to understand or agree with you, no matter how self-evident your view seems to you.

18. Remind others--and yourself--of our common goal: to build a free society. Consequently, collaboration, rather than one-upmanship, is essential.
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