Do the following statements observe clearly, or do they evaluate what we think is happening? (The reason this is important is that if we are evaluating, people could argue with our conclusions. We don’t want to invite argument. We want to specifically communicate about what is going on.)
1. Jason is smart.
2. Samantha swept the floor.
3. Brian did a good job on his drawing.
4. Elizabeth was naughty this morning.
5. He’s being selfish.
6. Janice laid on the floor, kicked her chair and said in a loud voice, “You’re mean!”
1. Evaluation. It states what we think he is.
2. Observation. It states specifically what she did.
3. Evaluation. The words “good” and “bad” compare people on a scale. When we do this, we imply that we know what the behavior should be weighed as on that scale. It does not allow for the other person to be “right” or to talk to us about why they made that choice. So it does not communicate effectively.
4. Evaluation. “Naughty” is a word that implies there is an opposite on a scale, which would be “non-naughty.” Any time we put someone on a scale, we are judging or weighing their actions/behavior. We are right - they are wrong.
5. Evaluation. We do not know specifically what he did. We are saying that “selfish” is who he is - always. This does not allow for any other way of being.
6. Observation. It tells us very specifically what Janice did.