Behavioral Change Requests

Words are like magic. A thought occurs in your head, sounds come out of your mouth, and the physical world around you conforms to your will! (or doesn't). But like a magic trick that looks simple but is hard to master, it can be frustrating to see everyone else around you getting it when you don't.

Behavioral change requests are the "abracadabra" of the magic word game. But despite all of the magic analogies, people cannot read each other's minds. It is important to learn to make firm, timely, and respectful behavioral change requests. In groups this week we worked on learning how to make them effectively and in a way that clears a path for future positive interaction. Like all good magic tricks, it comes in three easy steps. 

Step 1: Identify/describe your own feeling in relation to the other person. "When you knocked over my project, I felt frustrated." PRO TIP: Leave off the "it made me", your feelings are a result of your internal landscape and external factors trigger, but do not create emotion.

Step 2: Identify your needs in relation to the other person. "Could you please give me some space while I finish".  PRO TIP: Steady "soft: eye contact demonstrates your engagement in the conversation without seeming challenging or angry. 

Step 3: Put your conversation partner at ease. It doesn't always feel good to have someone ask you to change your behavior, and it can easily turn into bad feelings. So be sure to smile, and say something like, "but come back in a few minutes and I will show you how the project turns out!".