A Simple Tool for Powerful Communication

Karen Gimnig, Imago Facilitator and co-author of ’The
Cooperative Culture Handbook’, led a large workshop  of 
Washington Commons’ members and Explorers interested in
building community and deepening our connection to one
another. Karen asked each of us to write 10 responses to the
prompt, “Our vision is realized, we have moved into our new
homes, and we have fabulous relationships. I can tell because I
see, hear, or feel…”. She created the image above with our

Karen asked, “What gets in the way of attaining our vision”?
She showed us how our conditioned survival strategies on a
biological as well as a social level kick in when we feel our sense
of belonging threatened. These strategies put us in our
competitive habits where we inflict rules, employ power, and
judge right and wrong. Such strategies have kept us alive but are
counterproductive to communication or creating connection. Even
when we are not in fight or flight response, Karen told us, “only
17% of what gets said gets listened to”.

Then Karen taught us the simple but powerful technique of
‘Mirroring’ or ‘Active Listening’ which to do at all we had to get out
of our competitive habit of preparing our rebuttal. We practiced
using this tool in breakout rooms with one other person for 2
different 20-minute sessions. This single tool enabled us to begin
to hear each other in ways that brought people back from the
breakout rooms bubbling with cheerful chatter at what they had
learned, savoring the connection they had made with their future
neighbor, and childlike joy that, “my partner really got me”.

Washington Commons is a forming community located in West Sacramento, CA.

Category: Creating Relationships


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