NEAT Communication – Skills 101

Thinking back through a recent mediation, I was trying to honestly evaluate how I’d done as a facilitator of the session. Normally, in these times of reflection, I discover a few things that bother me — missed opportunities, inelegant transitions, botched guidance. Oddly, on this one, I was pretty content with my performance. And that bothered me. So, I spent the next hour or so trying to discover what it was about my performance in this particular mediation that seemed to work so well. It turns out that I had simply practiced “NEAT Communication.”

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I’m an introvert at heart. I love to take time alone to process the information that flows around me. However, I often feel that the flow is a flood. So sometimes, as if I think I can overcome the current with the sheer volume of my information output, I overcommunicate. And occasionally in a conflict, possibly more often than not, I tend to overcommunicate as a defense to my personal anxiety. I’m not alone. I’ve observed many a mediation, either real or role play, and I’ve often seen this played out by the mediator. With the feeling that everything hinges on what we do or say, we do or say too much.

Thinking again about that recent mediation, I identified four essential elements of beneficial communication — NEAT Communication.

  • Necessary
  • Effective
  • Accurate
  • Timely

In future posts, I’ll be looking at each element more closely. In the meantime, I want to challenge you to make all of your communications NEAT.