When we communicate we do so by expressing either facts, opinions, feelings or needs:
Facts are simply observations that are true.
Opinions include thoughts, beliefs or conclusions based on one’s own observations and life experiences.
Feelings are the emotions one experiences.
Needs are those things that are necessary to achieve an objective.
That’s it – all communication falls under these four categories. Simple and straight forward, right? Yet, we have had recently had far too many examples of a current and prominent politician presenting opinions as if they were facts AND, seemingly, able to get away with it.
When conducting communication workshops with students I would often provide each group with a copy of our daily newspaper and ask them to find examples of each category. I would also ask them to determine which sections of the paper were most likely to feature each type.
As teachers and parents it is important that we understand what we are attempting to say and to respect each category of communication. For example, “YOU’RE LATE!” is the expression of a fact; however, what you really mean to say is, “I am disappointed that you are late again.”
When you hear someone say, “I am going to be alone tonight” what they might actually be saying is, “I need someone to talk to.”
Communication is a two-way experience. If we do a better job of delivering the message, and try harder to understand the information that is actually being expressed, we can only become better parents and teachers.
Your Homework – Can you find the flawed logic?
R: “He claims that there were millions of illegal votes. There is no information to substantiate that fact.”
P: “He has a right to his opinion.”
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