Braverman's Blog
Terry Braverman and Company

Plumbing the Depths of Communication

In the last blog I delved into the three primary modalities we use to give and receive information – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Today I’ll go into the three submodalities of communication.

The first one I call the attraction-avoidance submodality, i.e. the tendency to be primarily motivated by something (or someone) that attracts, or conversely, repulses. As an example, let’s say you’re a loan officer and giving it your best to motivate a customer to apply for a loan: “Ms. Hayes, we offer the lowest interest rate in town, without any pre-payment penalty.” Ms. Hayes isn’t motivated. Why not? She wants a loan, and the terms seem very attractive. What if the loan officer adds, “and Ms. Hayes, you won’t be faced with a huge balloon payment at the end of the term.” Now she wants the loan, because her motivation is inclined toward avoidance of something perceived as undesirable.

Tower of Babble

Listening is a lost art in our fast paced world. In our haste to get things done, people can easily misconstrue communications, with consequences such as conflict, delays, and errors in judgment. Clearly a more conscious, deliberate form of listening is desirable to enhance communication.

Have you ever wondered why we can’t seem to communicate well with some people, even if we’re all speaking the same language? Some people process information in a different “sub-language” than we do. Psychologists Richard Bandler and John Grinder developed a set of concepts and techniques intended to understand differences in communication styles, known as NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I never cared for that name…sounds too much like psychological warfare. I’m teaching soft skills, not torture. So I had to make up a softer name for it – PML, or Primary Modalities of Language.

Executive Order

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: “Give me levity, or give me death!”
- Terry Braverman

One of the most revered American leaders personifies the marriage of humor and persistence to triumph over adversity. In his lifetime, he got fired from his job, failed in business, ran for the state legislature and lost, lost a re-election bid for Congress, twice ran for the Senate and lost, and was unsuccessful in an attempt to be nominated for vice president. Despite the misfortunes, periods of extreme depression, and the death of three sons and a childhood sweetheart, he somehow was able to access a sense of humor to give him the courage to carry on. His name: Abraham Lincoln.

Revelation in the Rush Hour

Several years ago a friend of mine took me to see a meditation guru from India speak at a local auditorium. At the close of the event, the master was taking questions from the audience. One person asked, “What is the best form of meditation when you’re feeling upset?” The guru sat and ruminated for about a minute with a smile spreading across his face, then said, “There is no best way to meditate. If one is stuck in rush hour traffic on the Hollywood Freeway and fully embraces the experience in a pure state of awareness and acceptance, that is meditation.”

A Minute of Silence More Productive Than an Hour of Debate?

We continue in hot pursuit of communication excellence with this week’s blog on disarmament, i.e., disarming those who are intent on creating conflict. Let’s begin with this parable….

A clever African sage and trickster named Edshu was strolling on a piece of land disputed by two farmers. The conflict between them had raged for months, grinding to an impasse. Both farmers noticed the strange wiry Edshu, who was wearing a funny hat. They didn’t quite know what to make of the intruder. The presence of Edshu compelled the two combatants to engage each other in conversation for the first time in weeks. “Did you see that man with the funny blue hat?” one said to the other. “It was a red hat,” the other replied. “No, it was blue. I saw it with my own eyes!” shrieked one. “That hat was red, I tell you!” snapped the other.


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