NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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The Power of “I” Messages

The Power of “I” Messages  12/23/16When discussing any difficult, uncomfortable or tough issue, the use of “I” messages is a tried and true strategy.  Using them to effectively express your thoughts and feelings helps the communication stay open and flowing. 

“I” messages can also be an effective tool for de-escalating  defensiveness.  In conversation, “I” messages could begin like this:

“I feel …”                                                                                                                                

“I’m upset because ...”

“I get angry because …”

“I am excited that …”

By contrast, “you” messages tend to lead to defensiveness and an escalation of emotions.  When that happens, the desire, willingness and ability to compromise and problem solve usually deteriorate.

The “if (when) I retire” and “what if” conversations that farmers and other business owners need to have with family members can be difficult conversations.  Learning to use “I” messages effectively can help those conversations be productive.  More information about “I” messages, plus opportunities to practice them, will be included in the southeast ND “Design Your Succession Plan” program that will be held later this winter.  Contact the Sargent County Extension Office for details about the program. 

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/text-type-font-typography-1318197/downloaded 12/28/16


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