[MUSIC] I was coaching an executive who's boss belittled her. We talked about the specific behaviors he was engaging in that interfered with her work quality. I taught her I message, and in our follow up meeting the next week, I asked how it went, she said, it was awful. I said, okay, tell me what you said to him and she said, I said exactly what you told me to say. I feel that you are a jerk when you talk to me like that. I feel that you is not the I message. First, when you say I feel that, you are about to say something that is not an emotion. I feel that we did a good job. I feel that the customer might leave. People say I feel so often, it has become meaningless. Unless you are in a culture where all this hedging is necessary, save the I feel for the I message so that it has more power. But meanwhile, I feel that you is the opposite of the I message. The purpose of the I message is to affect change by letting the other person know their words or actions had a negative outcome. And giving them the opportunity to clarify if they did not intend that outcome and change their behavior. I feel that you is not going to be followed up by the impact you experienced. It's going to be followed up by your characterization of the other person, like my client did with her boss. I feel that you are a jerk. I've heard others think they're using I message by saying, I feel you are unethical. I feel like you are a liar. Don't assume someone's thoughts, feelings, or purpose. I feel like you don't care. Or I feel that you want to hurt me. Or I feel that you're jealous. The most common errors in using I message are when the speaker characterizes the other person or assumes their intent. These defeat the purpose. In any way, they nearly always put up a wall between the speaker and the other person. That's the opposite of the intention we have with the I message. So do not characterize, focus on the problem, not the person. Do not blame. You made me feel is not the I message. Do not give someone the power over your feelings, no one can make you feel anything. I hear this one a lot when students have just learned that I message and they have a hard time letting it go. Yes, there are some normal and natural emotional reactions to certain behaviors. It is normal to feel insulted when someone insults you. If you say to someone, I felt insulted when you said that and they say good, I meant to insult you. Well, in that moment I would advise you to tell yourself with tough luck buddy, you can't have that power over me. And if you say, I felt insulted when you said that and they say, I'm sorry, I did not intend to insult you, I only meant to express XYZ. Well, then you know their true intentions and they have learned a better way to communicate with you if they choose to use it. And by the way, a couple of times I have said I felt X and the other person looked stunned, had no response, and after a moment continued talking. And I realized that not only do they have no idea how they're coming across, but also they're not able to hear what I'm saying. That's about them, not about me. And from then on, whenever I interact with those people, I just tell myself, listen for the content, you cannot change another person. The I message gives the other person the opportunity to change, but they are not required to change. We do not have an inalienable right to not be insulted or hurt. In the US, we have the right not to be harassed or discriminated against due to protected characteristics, and that is different. I'm talking about the emotional response we have to others non harassing words and actions. There are people who seem to communicate their thoughts in a hurtful way. Let it go, look for the content. There is no point in blaming someone for something they cannot do otherwise. Again, with the exception of harassment or discrimination, which everyone is responsible for stopping. Accept your own contribution, look for what contributed to the problem rather than looking for who to blame. Do not assume, we cannot read other people's minds or emotions. One of the most common concerns I hear around the I message is that it will not fit the culture. Many people work in places where no one uses feeling words, and that is fine. You don't need to say, I feel. You don't even need to say you. You might have noticed that in the end of the previous video. I once worked in a very macho environment, and in the first week on the job, my boss, the company president, yelled at me in front of a large group of people. In our next private meeting, I said, I can't focus on what's being said when I'm being yelled at in public. Would it be possible to talk to me when you're dissatisfied with my work? He never yelled at me again in private or public. But I noticed, he did continue to yell at others. And if you think I might have appeared weak or lost the opportunity to get feedback from him, think again. He continued to provide direct and challenging feedback, and I was promoted within eight months. He heard me exactly as I intended. If he wanted me to hear the content of his message, there was no point in yelling at me. I gained his respect by speaking up. You can replace, I feel with I am, I was, it was, so long as you express the impact. I end up making unnecessary edits when you don't update our team chat with the status of the shared report. When I heard that you planned a vacation, I was surprised you hadn't mentioned it to me so I could arrange for someone to cover your hours. I'd be better prepared if you would provide me with a month's notice next time. I can't concentrate when people stand in front of my desk to chat, could you guys move into the conference room? And the impact might not be a feeling. You might get more of a response from the other person by stating the work related consequences of their actions. The teams make more mistakes when shift leaders don't use the checklist. Please be sure to check off each item as they're done when your shift ends. We lost time searching for the data and nearly missed the deadline because it was not organized according to the template, please use the template in the future. We had to work nearly 18 hours non stop to get this done because you were late with your section. Next time please warn us if you might not make a deadline. I haven't said much about the pluses at the start and end of the I message. If you watched the video about the tortilla method of giving criticism, you know what I think about starting and ending with something positive. Be brief, be specific, and wrap the entire conversation in respect and care. Thanks for meeting with me, I have a concern I'd like to work through with you. That's a fine start. And at the end, thank you for listening, what are your thoughts? That's a fine ending. One last thought. It is easier for someone to accept responsibility for a change than it is to admit they were wrong. Don't ask people to do the latter when all you need is the former. I hope you are inspired to try the I message. I recommend trying it in low risk situations with those who love you and won't judge you. You can even say, hey, this is awkward, I'm trying it out for a class I'm taking. The majority of conflicts I have seen, were not specifically related to limited resources, are due to a difference in intent and impact. The I message, when used correctly, is one of the most powerful communication tools around to ensure intent and impact match. By the way, you can use the I message to let people know when their actions led to a positive outcome for you. The more you do that, the more people will know what works for you and what doesn't. Just the other day I said to my husband, I feel loved when you make me my morning coffee, thank you. And to my son, I feel so much better after a long day at work when I come home to find you have cleaned the kitchen, thank you. Give it a try.