Talking Stick, Talking Mirror—Be Fully Expressed & Fully Heard

This is a technique for having a conversation between two people in which both people feel fully expressed and fully heard at the end. Although the pattern may seem familiar to you, it is actually quite different from most applications of these communication techniques.

This method suggests using physical props. At the beginning, use them! They will prevent you from being distracted from the formal conversation when emotional topics come up. And they will come up!

After you’re comfortable with the technique, you can move on to using virtual props, as suggested in step 1.

Here are the instructions for doing this exercise.

Step 1:     Some people like using a special talking mirror and talking stick for this method. It could be, for instance:

  • A beaded or decorated stick, used exclusively as a talking stick.
  • A Fung Shui mirror.

However, any mirror and any stick will do. Furthermore, if you’re talking over the phone or in a public place, just use a virtual stick and mirror. Pass them back and forth by just saying that’s what you’re doing.

Step 2:     Create agreements, such as:

  • How long will the session last?
  • No cross talk. Only the person with the talking stick may speak.
  • No name-calling or personal put-downs.

Step 3:     Take turns deciding what to talk about. In other words, if it’s your topic today, next week it will be your buddy’s turn to choose the topic.

Step 4:     At the beginning of the conversation, the person who chose the topic (Speaker #1 ) holds both the talking stick and the talking mirror and speaks until finished.

Step 5:     Speaker #1 gives the talking mirror to the listener (Speaker #2). Speaker #2 mirrors back what Speaker #1 said, using Speaker #2’s own words.

  • Speaker #1 indicates that he or she feels understood by giving the talking stick to Speaker #2.
  • If you’re Speaker #2 and you think you’re done, ask, “Have I missed anything? Have I gotten anything wrong?”
  • If Speaker #1 does not feel understood, keep trying.

Step 6:     If you’re Speaker #2, you now have both the talking stick and talking mirror. Now it’s your turn to talk. Repeat steps 4 and 5, and give the talking stick to Speaker #1 as soon as you feel heard.

 

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