Hi. I am Dr. Neha, a physician, communications expert and creator of the i-Five Conversation, a practical tool that’s at the heart of the communication cure. The i-Five Conversation is for anyone who’s interested in handling challenging conversations with ease in order to improve their interpersonal relationships, decrease your stress levels and improve your overall health.
The i-Five Conversation makes five important connections that allow you to have challenging conversations with ease. These five components are interpreting your body, thoughts, feelings, desires, and integrating all of those into taking action in order to have honest dialogue.
The i-Five Conversation can best be understood by using an example. Let’s look at two interpretations of the same scenario. Suppose it’s the morning of your performance review and you walk by your boss’ office, say hello, your boss looks up, says nothing and then looks down and continues texting.
There are multiple ways that you can interpret this interaction. The first aspect is interpreting your body’s signals. They come in both externally and internally. Externally your body gathers data through your five senses, what you see, hear, taste, touch and smell.
In this scenario you saw your boss in his office, you said hello, you saw him look up at you, you heard nothing and you saw him resume texting. The senses used to gather data in this scenario would have been your sight and your hearing.
Your body also communicates with you internally. It sends you messages and signals. For example, when your boss didn’t answer you, your heart may have started racing or your stomach turning. These are also indications from your body that you need to pay attention to.
As you interpret your body’s data, you then move into the second part of the i-Five Conversation, your thoughts. From what you’ve just experienced you gather this data and you put it together to create a story about what it means. You might have thought that because your boss didn’t acknowledge you it meant that you didn’t perform as well as you did last year. The story you make up will lead to how you feel, and feelings are the third component of the i-Five Conversation. In this scenario you would likely be feeling disappointment, worry or fear about your upcoming review.
This leads us to the fourth component of the i-Five Conversation, interpreting your desires. From this last experience, if you felt disappointment, worry or fear about your upcoming review, this may lead you to want to talk to your coworkers and tell them that your boss is in a bad mood and to avoid him at all costs. It may even cause you to want to avoid your review all together.
The final component of the i-Five Conversation is integrating all the other components in order to take action. In this experience you may show up at your review with closed body language and be unreceptive to feedback.
Now let’s look at this through another interpretation of the i-Five Conversation. What you gathered objectively through your body externally to what you saw and what you heard as well as internally, your heart racing, your stomach turning, those remain the same in the second scenario. What’s different in this scenario is your thoughts and whether or not you get curious.
It’s about the story you make up about the data you’ve gathered. In this example, instead what if you chose to think I wonder if my boss is okay? I wonder if he has something going on? Maybe there’s some way that I can be of support to him. Better yet, I wonder if he heard me?
If that’s the story that you make up from the data that you’ve gathered, it’s obvious that you may feel different feelings from the first scenario. Rather than feeling disappointment, worry or fear around your review, you may be feeling curiosity or concern for your boss. This will lead you to a very different desire. Instead of dreading your performance review, you may actually be looking forward to it and show up and take action by being open, curious and receptive.
From this example, you can see how the same scenario can create dramatically different outcomes based on the story you make up and how you interpret the five components of the i-Five Conversation. Those five components, again, include your body, thoughts, feelings, desires and how you integrate all of those into taking action.
How you interpret and integrate the i-Five Conversation matters. To learn more about clear, direct, compassionate communication, get a copy of TalkRx: Five Steps to Honest Conversations that Create Connection, Health, and Happiness.