Maria DeCarvalho

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  • Maria DeCarvalho
    October 15, 2015 at 9:32 am #2314

    Hi, Simon! I would be very happy to paint the picture here in broad brush-strokes and follow up by phone at some point if you would like. I “divide” — the word feels a little ironic here, because my ultimate hope is that people will see these skills as overlapping as well as complementary — the communication skills I teach into three topics: Listening to Understand, Delivering a Challenging Message and Expressing Authentic Appreciation. Sometimes I add (as I did for our work in NYC, where we were supporting peer-coaches) Listening to support Positive Change.

    The content comes from about ten years of learning from sources as varied as the Harvard Program on Negotiation, Non-Violent Communication, David Rock’s Neuroleadership work and a bevy of other specific books and programs. I try to combine (among other things) helping people reframe how they think about each of these aspects (e.g. Speaking is not the opposite of listening. Listening is a form of speech.) with an awareness of how important it is to think through and plan conversations in advance and some specific technical tools, moves and even specific phrases that can help make conversations both safer and more effective.

    What’s really great about sharing all this with people who are tuned in to their Big Assumptions is that this material can help them in creating their Continuum of Progress — all three aspects, because of the reframing we do — and to help them identify other more specific assumptions they hadn’t realized were holding them back.

    Thanks for your interest! Please let me know if you’d like to know more.

    Very best,


    Maria DeCarvalho
    October 8, 2015 at 10:13 am #2282

    Hello, Johannes! I am always so glad to hear from you!

    I really appreciate your questions and I share your view. I have come to believe that shifting mindset about and developing new skills in communication are part of lots of Column 1 Improvement Goals, even those that appear to be completely unrelated on their face. For instance, I worked with someone on weight loss who really needed to figure out what to say when he felt people were pressing food on him. Someone who chooses a goal of setting and honoring priorities needs to know how to have the conversation in which she says, “no” to people to whom she has always previously said, “yes”. (It can be helpful for her to reframe the NO to a new project as a YES to focus, clarity, effectiveness, peace of mind — so there’s the mindset shift — and then find the technical skills to have that NO conversation in a way that feels as positive and connecting as possible for the other person.) One more example: someone who wants to stop micromanaging still needs to have conversations with people who report to him, and those conversations need a new frame AND some skills to make them effective.

    One of the reasons I say “toolkit” is that I think there are some good basic, specific practices for listening, giving feedback and expressing appreciation (a specific kind of feedback). Over the years, I have developed a set of questions, phrases, sentence structures and vocabulary I count on to help make conversations safe and productive. When I share them sometimes people tell me that they feel relief because they don’t have to invent the whole thing every time. I believe that having trustworthy tools can nourish and support a sustainable shift in mindset.

    When you say, “It is hard to do a communication training without the adaptive change in mind – even if i know a lot of trainers do – but i guess you cannot do it.” I am with you! The great thing about this program was being able to be so explicit about what we were up to.

    Thank you, Johannes!!

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