Communication is all about story telling. Everyone can think of a good story.
But what are the elements of a good story?
Two tools that I’ve found recently:
- SCQA (Situation, Complication, Questions, Answer)
- Nonviolent Communication
These two tools might feel completely different, however, I’ve found a lot of similarities.
Non-violent communication is a helpful way to build better relationships. Think of it as a tool to help you communicate with your partner and resolve conflict.
It has the following fundamentals:
- Fact (make an observation)
- Feeling (state how you feel, typically this is one word)
- Specific Request
Good and Bad Examples
First, the bad:
Your room is a mess. It’s so annoying, why can’t you always keep it clean?
This is using evaluations. It’s making the receiver of this information feel wrong or bad.
Now, the good:
Your bed is unmade, there are dirty clothes on the floor, and you have a pile of trash in the corner. I’m feeling annoyed because keeping the house clean is important to me. Would you be willing to spend 20 minutes and take out the trash and put away the dirty clothes?
This states observable facts. It shares why the mess is bothersome. A clean house is a need. It makes a specific request to try and resolve the conflict.
In the same way nonviolent communication has four components, so does SCQA.
- Complication (the problem and its cause)
Example (modified from here)
Situation: People who are injured often need to do physical therapy to recover. This includes doing exercises at home.
Complication: Around 70% of people do not do exercises at home. This is why they recover more slowly or not all. These people lack the motivation to do it on their own.
Question: How can you motivate people to do physical therapy exercises at home?
Answer: Gamification. A webcam feeds the patient’s movements to a video game. This means the patients recover faster because they’re motivated and engaged.
Tying it all together
When we compare each component, we discover the similarites.
- State an observable fact or describe the situation.
- Share how you feel or define the problem.
- State your unmet need or ask how can we overcome the problem.
- Make a specific request or share what action will resolve the problem.
Both of these tools can help shape a better story. A story that is well-defined and cohesive.
Because we all have a story to tell, why not make it a good one?