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The Consensual Communication Style and Paid Servants - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
The Consensual Communication Style and Paid Servants
The other day I was at a restaurant with a friend of mine for whom specific communication styles is a subject of intense interest. At one point in our conversation the waitress came by and asked if everything was okay. I told her, "You took my knife when you took the salad plate away..." and the waitress shot off before I could finish with, "... could you please bring me another one?"

One of my kids had a fascinating class last year, the FLASH (Family Life And Sexual Health) program offered by King County, and incorporated into not a few schools. Needless to say, my kid aced the class; that's sorta unavoidable given who her parents are. But one of the best things they had in the class was a series of lessons entitled The Consensual Communication Style.

The CCS is basically described as a way of setting the ground for a conversation about getting what you want. It basically consists of a two-sentence mechanism: (1) express a fact or an emotion, and (2) request a change. Of the eight examples, only one was positive: "I like when you hold my hand. Can we hold hands more often in public?" All the rest were negatives: "It makes me uncomfortable when you put your arm around me like that. Can you not do that?" But the basic premise of the material, that you silently formulate a set of possible outcomes, set the ground for a conversation, ask for the best possible outcome and, if rejected, ask for the remaining outcomes, is probably one of the better ways of teaching people how to negotiate for their needs. It's weird to see what the kink community has been teaching its members for the past twenty years starting to show up in other places and with such parallels.

I was oddly jarred to discover that this communication style I'd been practicing was suddenly dysfunctional. It seemed to work pretty much everywhere else. But a service professional is there to anticipate your needs and respond to them even before you get to the "being polite" part of the conversation.

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Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 18th, 2014 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi, linked here by a friend. Just wanted to also point out, the service professional is usually also attending so many others they just don't have time for extraneous information. "Could I please have another knife?" for example gets them the really necessary information, and they can ask if they feel they need clarification.

Not to butt in or anything, sorry, succinct communication is just an interest of mine as my mother has always been a babbler and I've tried hard not to pick up the habit - anon babbles lol.
gipsieee From: gipsieee Date: November 18th, 2014 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
But did she bring you a knife?
Because I have worse than 50/50 odds of getting what I wanted in that sort of situation.
From: katybeth Date: November 21st, 2014 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
But a service professional is there to anticipate your needs and respond to them even before you get to the "being polite" part of the conversation.

Quite possibly they are also used to people stopping with the accusation (statement, in your case), and not bothering with the polite request. :-/
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 26th, 2014 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Please clarify:

"the waitress shot off before I could finish with, "... could you
please bring me another one?""

I took this to mean that the waitress' script ("specific communication
style") was so overpracticed that she doesn't pay attention to a
customer's response to "Is everything OK?"

But then you say "a service professional is there to anticipate your needs".
implying that the waitress hurried away to fetch a knife.

So was the waitress' hasty departure a good or a bad thing?
elfs From: elfs Date: November 27th, 2014 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, she did the correct thing, and her job. It was more an observation that the consensual communication style needs to be tuned to specific circumstances; using it as a blanket method for "getting your needs met" in a social setting doesn't mean it applies in a commercial one.
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