The Basic IMap
The IMap. The IMap is a tool you actually place before you to learn the basic skills to effectivley speak for yourself and productively listen to others. It serves as a map to guide your talking and listening choices. I offer a placemat size that you can place on a table in front of you. I also offer a smaller handheld size, that you can hold in your hand but also post on your fridge, dash, or mirror. In workshops we actually use floor mats with the IMap and have participants stand on the skill they are trying to use at the moment as they practice. This physical involvement with the communication map greatly increases the learning of the skills. I call these "IMats!"
IMap Overview and Talking Skills.
I Talk, I Listen
The "I" Orientation One of the most important communication competencies a person can learn is to speak from the "I" orientation, especially during conversations where there is tension, stress, or conflict. Many communication courses teach the power of "I" messages. The IMap is "I" messages on steriods. It provides a much more powerful and flexible framework to speak for myself.
I Talk The IMap directs us to become aware of five distinct types of personal information we need to become aware of in ourselves and then decide how to best communicate. Self-Awareness is perhaps the most critcal competency that needs to be learned not only for communication but for our spiritual lives. We can only take responsiblity for and make choices about what we are aware of. The IMap gives us a simple framework to begin gaining that competency. The next step is to learn how and in what order to share these aspects of ourselves in a way that others can hear. The IMap guides us to make better choices about what to share and when.
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. (Proverbs 15:28)
Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)
Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly. (Proverbs 13:16)
I Listen The IMap directs us to become competent with five powerful listening skills. When we use these skills we are engaged in what is known as "active listening." These skills aim at not only ensuring we gain accurate awareness of what is going on with another person, but ensuring the other person knows that we are aware of and understand them. The highest objective of listening is the satisfaction of the talking. My own explanatin of active listening is "to become accurately aware of another person's awareness so that they are aware that I am aware of their awareness!" Gaining commpetency in these five basic listening skills is how we make this happen.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out. (Proverbs 18:15)
IMap and Listeninig Skills.
The Advanced IMap
Advaced "I" Messages and Directive Listening. As we shift from communicating for just knowing one another to influencing each other (See the Process Compass), we can use an advanced form of the IMap which prompts us to use advanced "I" messages and make effective requests. It also guides us in using something I call "Directive Listening." Directive listening modifies the basic listening skills making them effective tools for postive influence without having to make statements about ourselves.