Messages from the Masters
The "I Message" by Bob Burg

The "I Message," first brought to my attention in the book, Parent Effectiveness Training by Dr. Thomas Gordon is actually extremely effective when resolving a conflict in practically any situation you might encounter. The premise is that when challenged, most people will recoil into a defensive mode and not be open to "problem resolution."

For instance, pretend (since I know this would never actually happen) :-) your spouse or significant other has not been speaking to you lately with what you might consider the proper amount of respect and consideration. A "You Message" might be, "You're being rude" or "You're not being nice" or "You're making me feel badly."

Note that each sentence began with the word, "You" (as in, "You are at fault.") Typically, your "other" will be more concerned with defending their position of correctness rather than seeking a positive, win/win solution. Instead, we can temporarily put the "burden" of the challenge upon ourselves, thus disarming, and bringing out the best in, them. For example, "It might just be the way I'm interpreting it, but I feel as though I'm not being spoken to as nicely as usual. I'm upset by this, and wonder if we could work this out together." Note how many times a word containing "I" is in that message.

What you've done is to help make him or her a part of the solution, while also letting them know that their behavior is certainly not acceptable, and that it needs to be "adjusted." This works beautifully. Hint: Don't fear this being "detected as a technique" by your other. Instead, openly discuss it while things are good. For instance, you might explain that you find yourself blaming when in a disagreement, and that from now on you'd like to try something called the "I Message". And that next time you are having a disagreement, you'd appreciate him/her letting you know if you're speaking with a "You Message" so that you can correct yourself. Naturally, you're other will be interested in having you do the same for him/her. Suggestion: Teach this to your children, friends and team members as well.

As with anything, please don't be discouraged if the first couple of times you try this, the results aren't "exactly" what you want (although they may just be). Naturally, practice is involved. I'm telling you, though, this works!  And, it works whether dealing with your parents, children, boss, a client, the difficult customer service rep, your nasty neighbor, the banker who won't let you cash an out of town check ("I'm a bit confused, since I've been a loyal customer here for so long. Is there something I've said or done to appear to be less than willing to back up a check?") or practically anyone else.

Bob Burg is author of "Winning Without Intimidation" and "Endless Referrals." To receive 20% off on Bob's products visit or call 877-929-0439.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International