Team Unity and How To Improve It

Team unity, also known as culture, is the glue that sticks together the members of sporting teams so that they work together and not against each other.

Does your team work together or are you just a group of individuals?

It may come as a surprise to some readers that one of the aspects of performance we a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work with is team unity. Known more commonly by many other names such as culture, team cohesion and team chemistry team unity essentially describes all the little factors that can result in some sporting team being completely unified whilst others can resemble the boys from the famous novel The Lord of the Flies.

The first point to accept when it comes to team unity is that the chances of it being organically excellent are very, very unlikely. In other words, the culture of most sporting teams, even the professional ones, is typically not that flash. The second factor is that regardless of the current state of your team’s culture is can be improved. That’s right, if it’s currently poor it can be bettered and if it’s already excellent it can still be improved further.

How Is Team Unity Best Improved In Sporting Teams?

Well, the best way but also the most costly is to engage the services of a qualified sport or performance psychologist who has helped hundreds of teams to improve their culture already. I can’t speak for all sports psychologists but certainly, at Condor Performance the way we go about this is reasonably simple. We work mainly with the coaches so that we make ourselves redundant. As the CEO of a business or the principle of a school, one of the main jobs of the coach of a sporting team is to unify the team and them keep them unified.

The problem is, most of them (90%) attempt to go this delicate work underequipped. This results in millions of well-intended coaches around the world doing an average job of this key component of performance.

So we work with the coaches, ideally one-on-one and put what we call The 10 R’s under the microscope. The 10 R’s refers to five pairs of words that each start with the letter R that tend to provide most of the clues about how to improve the unity of any given team.

Roles and Rules

It is virtually impossible for a team to be unified if the individual members are not clear about their role and what the rules or expectations of the team are. If these can be established clearly during the offseason it can go a long way to helping make sure the team remains together during the highs and the lows of the season coming up. 

Relationships and Respect

It is important to mention that the members of a team don’t actually need to be the best of friends – in fact, they don’t even really have to like one another. But they do need to respect one another. Mutual respect tends to result from teams whereby cliques are not allowed to form. In other words, there is some kind of relationship between all members of the team. 

Reassurance and Reasons

Maybe more for the coaches but important nonetheless is the art of giving frequent reassurance and reasons to the playing group. Humans are not mind-readers, if you feel they’re doing a great job then let them know. If on the other hand you – as their coach – are not that happy with something then explain why you’re not staffed as well as how to improve it.

Ready and Relaxed

There is a huge furphy (furphy is an Australian slang word for an erroneous or improbable story that is claimed to be factual) in elite sport that one of the best ways to help the members of a team to come together is by helping them win more. This is like putting the cart before the horse. In actual fact, one of the best ways is to help them prepare very well and feel relaxed and confidence come game time.

Recognition and Rewards

In sports, the obvious wins are often too obvious. In other words, there really is no need to celebrate winning the league or going the entire season undefeated. I am a much greater believer in recognising and celebrating the less obvious wins. What about the time that your teammate smashes her PB on the Beep Test or when all of you are able to attend training without anyone having an injury concern. Not only do teams with a strong culture recognise these smaller milestones but they’ll often reward them more than the obvious ones.

If your sporting team is only a tight budget and you’d like to learn more about The R’s then sign up for free to our online Mental Toughness training program – Metuf. If, on the other hand, you have some funds to spend on performance consider contacting us at info@condorperformance.com with the details of your sporting team and one of our psychologists will be in touch to explain who we can assist with factors such as team unity.

Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness. What is it, can it be measured and most importantly for success-seekers; can it be improved? Sports psychologist Gareth J. Mole muses these questions and more in this edition of the MTD:

Mental toughness is the interplay between motivation, emotions, thoughts, unity and focus.

What Is Mental Toughness?

The term mental toughness is getting used more and more across many domains but in particular in competitive sporting circles. On the one hand, this is great news as finally, the mental side of performance is getting the attention it deserves and requires. The downside is that it is increasingly used in the wrong way – for example as a synonym for mental health.

At Condor Performance we typically consider mental toughness and mental health as both being important to performance but referring to different areas that can be targeted. Mental toughness by our definition refers to the ‘extra mental abilities required by those trying to achieve abnormally hard goals’. The key here is the ‘extra’ part – the part that if improved would benefit elite athletes much more than everyone else. This is what makes mental toughness difference from mental health. Mental health is something that every person on earth would benefit from improving as described in more detail via this previous blog post.

This is not to say that mental toughness and mental health are 100% unrelated nor opposites. The fact that your mind (brain) is involved in both correctly suggests there is a degree of overlap between these two psychological concepts.

One way that I like to explain it to my sporting clients is by using physical health and physical strength as parallels. Elite athletes need to be much stronger than most people will ever need to be. If you took a normal, healthy woman and asked her to play an international woman’s rugby match she’d be found wanting from a physical point of view. Yet, her actual physical health (blood pressure, skin folds etc) may well be the same – if not better – than elite female rugby union players.

So mental health is more or less like the mental basics. If you have clinical depression then this will impact on all aspects of your life. However, if you get nervous before certain sporting contests then the rest of your life might well be completely unaffected by this rather specific mental challenge.

As explained in the Intro video via the free, online, self-guided Metuf for Sports program sporting mental toughness can be thought of a being like one of four engines on an aeroplane whereby the rest of the plane is like mental health and wellbeing:

Mental toughness is like one of four engines on an aeroplane whereby the rest of the plane is like mental health and wellbeing

And just like how one of the other engines – Physical Capabilities – can be broken down into subcomponents (such as fitness and flexibility) so too can Mental Toughness.

As explained in Metuf for Sports sporting mental toughness might better be considered as an interplay between motivation, emotions, thoughts, unity and focus. In other words, when we, as sport and performance psychologists, assist our clients to improve their mental toughness what we are really doing is helping them improve or maintain these five areas.

And of course, we when say motivation, emotions, thoughts, unity and focus in this context we are referring to these concepts as they relate to training and competing much more so than in everyday life.

For example, it’s quite possible for someone to have no signs of depression – which basically means their ‘motivation towards life’ is fine whilst at the same time not wanting to either train nor compete. Logically, interventions designed to improve clinical depression are not going to be much in this case. This athlete needs mental skills designed to help improve his/her motivation in the area(s) they lack motivation for – training and/or competing.

The same applies when referring to sporting emotions, thoughts, unity and focus. The emotions of walking down the 17th hole with a two-shot lead on the final day are not the same as those who experienced by general anxiety sufferers. The thoughts likely to trip up a Formula One driver before the light has turned green are unique and should be shaped accordingly. If you are part of a sporting team that lacks unity you will never be successful. And focus? The kind of focus needed to keep your eye on the ball as it’s coming towards your head at 100 km/h is not the same as the kind of focus that would help you do better at school.

Can Mental Toughness Be Measured?

If you’d like to read a full post dedicated to answering this question then click here. But in summary, the answer is ‘yes, but not directly’. When we measure mental toughness we do so by asking – normally via a questionnaire – about the five areas already mentioned (motivation, emotions, thoughts, unity and focus). There is no way to assess these directly in the same way that a physio can measure flexibility – for example. Some aspects of sporting mental toughness can be measured via observation by an astute onlooker but again this is just a best guess.

For example, when I first start working as a sports psychologist with a new sporting team I typically spend the first week or so just watching and taking notes. I make estimates on areas such as team unity but I am mindful of the fact that a) what you see is not always what you get and b) the week might not be a typical week.

Having said that when I combine the ‘data’ from my notes with the numbers produced after all athletes and coaches complete one of our Mental Toughness Questionnaires then this is certainly more than adequate.

How Can Mental Toughness Be Improved?

Of course it can and like so much in life how you go ahead it will likely depend on your budget. The expensive way is to work 1-on-1 with a qualified sport and performance psychologist like the ones that are part of the Condor Performance team. The cheap way – in fact so cheap it’s free – is to complete the Metuf for Sports online course.

This course should never be considered as a substitute to working with a psychologist in the same way that reading a book about driving a car should never be considered as a substitute to having driving lessons with a qualified driving instructor. But reading a book about how to drive a car is better than doing nothing at all!

Raising Young Elite Athletes

A Quick Guide For Parents / Guardians

Trying to be the best parent you can be to you elite athlete son(s) or daughter(s) requires a lot more than just remembering to pack the fold-up chairs.

A significant number of the regular readers of our Mental Toughness Digest blog are the parents or guardians of young athletes that we are either currently working with or who we have worked with previously.

With very few exceptions I have generally found that the parents of our young sporting clients have acted impeccably before, during and after the mental conditioning process. Almost all of them are readily available if need be but tend to be very respectful of the psychologist–athlete relationship and tend to give their child (or children) plenty of space and privacy. 

In fact if I think back to all the young athletes that I have assisted myself over the last 15 years – which would easily be more than a thousand – I can only think of a single occasion whereby I felt that’s a parent was obstructing my attempt to help their son to improve both sporting mental toughness and overall well-being.

What is far more common is for the relationship between the young athlete and either one or both parents to become a topic that needs some attention when putting complex concepts such as emotions and motivation under the microscope. 

For example questions such as “how do I explain to my father that’s I would rather he not attend my competitions because of the win-at-all-costs mindset that he has?” or “I would like to have a boyfriend but I know that Mum would see this as me getting distracted from my long term sporting goals” or “if I start having sex will this have a negative impact on my sporting abilities?”.

Humdingers like this are common – especially after the coaching relationship has become very comfortable whereby the young athlete feels they can tell their sport/performance psychologist “anything” (at Condor Performance we really pride ourselves in the rapport building / maintaining aspects of our 1-on-1 work).

As a general guide when it comes to providing advice in the face of these types of difficult but important questions it is exceptionally rare that we try and change the parents’ way of thinking in any way. For example, if a parent has a “win-at-all-costs” attitude it’s very unlikely that I would try and explain to that parent why that way of thinking might seem productive but is actually anything but (for more on this topic read this Blog post from 2018).

For a start we prefer to spend all of the consultation time that comes with our various monthly options with the athletes and although we’re happy to have the occasional brief conversation with a parent (particularly if it’s adding to the overall process) we do not have the luxury of allowing extensive conversations with those involved in our client’s lives if they themselves are not one of our clients. This is where email/text message has revolutionised sports psychology services as it allows parents/guardian to share concerns or ideas with their son or daughter’s performance psychologists but without having to use up any of the 1-on-1 consultation time that we have with their son or daughter (or both)! 

So the advice that we generally give in these scenarios is roughly along these lines:

Genuine mental tests come in many packages but one of the most common is that the people you spend time with will not always make what you’re trying to do easy. Sometimes on purpose (e.g. sledging) but more often by mistake managing both family and non-family relationships can be very, very hard. The Mental Toughness process will remain incomplete untill this is something you can manage regardless of who you spend your time with

If family comes up as an “issue” during the mental conditioning process this provides us with a golden opportunity to get some genuine mental toughness training done. In other words – instead of having to try and make a situation mental harder on purpose then we can use the “issues” to practice our new found mental skills.

Real confidence only really happens when you have seen it work in actual, real life situations

How Much To Push?

Of the Mothers of one of our clients recently asked the psychologist working with her daughter if he had any advice on the overall topic of how pushy to be or not to be. In other words given the added demands faced by young athletes how much pushing, nagging, cajoling is necessary and when does it become too much?

This is an excellent question

I have had a few weeks to think about this since the question was sent to me and now that I have this is my response.

The clues to many – but not all – psychological dilemmas is often “somewhere in the middle”. In other words, trying not to end up at either extreme is useful. A analogy of water temperature can be useful here. When running a bath for your baby son/daughter we take huge care of making sure that the water temperature is “somewhere in the middle” (warm) and would never think about bathing the infant in water that was too hot nor too cold.

In fact, when my daughter and son (now 6 and 4) were babies I had a thermometer to ensure that the water temperature was as close to 37.0 degrees as possible. As they aged the “degrees of freedom” grew so nowadays anything between 35 and 40 degrees is fine.

From my point of view this analogy is the ideal guide for the parents of young athletes. The younger they are the more I’d suggest that you reduce the possibility of extremes (for example too much practice and too little, too many competitive situations and not enough). But as they grow older we’d want to allow more and more degrees of freedoms. In other words, although you still try and motivate them to do their homework the acceptable range becomes bigger and bigger. You might insist on them doing some homework each day but you become flexible with when this takes place and the duration.

In other words, if you’re the Mum or Dad of a 10-year-old athlete who is inclined to overtrain then I’d suggest making it virtually impossible for this to take place due to their age. However, if your son/daughter is almost an adult (16 – 18) and is “not putting in the work” then it might be better for everyone if you just become a gentle reminder service + helper.

Sometimes simple little strategies such as helping take the training equipment out before some home training and helping them pack away can do wonders when it comes to helping teenage athletes find the “sweet spot”.

8 ‘Quick Wins’ for Sporting Parents:

  1. Communicate with your child in a way that shows you are more interested / invested in their effort (highly influenceable) than their sporting results (somewhat influenceable).
  2. Get them to complete the free Mental Toughness Questionnaire for Athletes here and go through the results with them.
  3. The relationship you have with your son/daughter will always be more important than their sporting success – try not to sacrifice the former for the latter.
  4. Be there for them during the good times and the not-so-good times. Let them ride the ups and downs that come with elite sport with you always being available if they want someone to talk to.
  5. Try not to assume what is best for you is best for them. If you are telling them what to do all the time with few / no choices this should be a red flag.
  6. If you want to be a parent-coach (both their Mum / Dad and their coach) then first discuss the pros and cons with them and second clarify the dual role on paper before you jump in.
  7. Read this blog post from 2018.
  8. Read the below guidelines from the Western Australia Department of Sport and Recreation – Clubs guide to encouraging positive parent behaviour:

What Is Mental Toughness?

What Is Mental Toughness is one of the questions that international sports psychologist Gareth J. Mole addresses in his new book – due out in Oct 2019.

What is Mental Toughness? It’s a bit like one of the engines on a four engine plane.

I am sure almost everyone thinks about writing a book at one stage in their lives. I have felt like I have a couple of book in me for many years but for reasons beyond my control I have not ‘stepped up’ … until now. Since the start of 2019, I have been tapping away behind the scenes and am delighted to confirm that we’ll be seeking interest from publishers around Sept / Oct of this year. I am yet to pick a title for the book – which will be aimed at serious athletes and sporting coaches – but a large chunk of it is about mental toughness.

What is mental toughness, what is it not and how to improve it permanently are amongst the main topics that I explore in what I am calling a ‘guidebook’?

Partly due to the fact that my kids are currently on school holidays (which halves the amount of time I get to work) and partly to ‘test the water’ of my penmanship for this latest Mental Toughness Digest blog I have decided to paste an expert from the book – which is about two thirds finished. Enjoy, forward and constructive feedback via the comments sections below might just get you a free copy of the hardback in the post after we go to print.


Mental Toughness Targeted By Mental Preparation

Before going through the subcomponents of Mental Toughness I need to address what I assume will be the main point of controversy about this book – separating the mental side of performance from general wellbeing.

Or using terms you’re more likely to come across – considering both mental health and mental toughness as important but different.

For some of you, the aeroplane analogy will automatically do the explaining for me. Although the aircraft can be thought of as a single vessel in the same way that a person can be thought of as one being the fact is that each of these is made up of different interconnecting ‘bits’.

In the event that the aeroplane analogy doesn’t quite get the job done let me justify this approach future using some of the other engines as examples.

Most human beings do not require super fitness, amazing physical strength nor excellent flexiblity in order to function, thrive and be good at what they do. In fact, only relatively small amounts of physical activity may be needed in order for most people to experience the day to day benefits of exercise on their wellbeing. 

But if this person happens to be an athlete – and in particular an athlete of a physically demanding sport – such as biathlon or triathlon – then these small amounts of psychical activity will not be sufficient if they want to go as far in their chose sport as possible. 

Just Like An Aeroplane

If the purpose of the aircraft is simply to go for short 20 minute flights as part of a hobby group for amateur fliers then it still needs to function but the efficiency of the engines is less critical compared with an aeroplane that wants to fly as far as possible (safely).

So Mental Toughness joins the previously covered Physical Capabilities, Technical Consistency and Tactical Wisdom to make up the fourth and final engine – the four groups of ‘extras’ needed to go much further than might otherwise be possible. 

With this in mind, I will be guiding you through a number of different ideas that most people really never need to consider adding to their weekly routine. But the mental requirements of becoming the best possible athlete or sporting coach you can be are far from the mental requirements of basic functioning and wellbeing.

So what is Mental Toughness then? What are the subcomponents of this engine, what areas can we target for improvement in our quest to become mentally tougher?

After 15 years of helping mostly athletes with mostly their performance mental toughness, I believe that it is best broken down into these five key psychological subcomponents:

  • Motivation
  • Emotions
  • Thoughts
  • Unity
  • Focus

In other words the best possible answer I can give at this stage to the question ‘what is mental toughness’ is something along these lines:

Mental Toughness is an umbrella term that refers to varying levels and combinations of motivation towards training and competing, the ability to manage the full spectrum of emotions and thoughts, knowing when and how to switch on or off as well as team related factors such learning to respect your teammates.

Gareth J. Mole – Sports Psychologist – 2019

Most of the other labels that you’d expect to be here are either synonyms of one of these words or a type of one of the subcomponents or a combination of the both of these. For example, the words concentration and attention are both synonyms of focus. Confidence, pressure. fear and feeling relaxed are all types of emotions. Flow, one of the most common words in modern-day sport psychology, is really just a blend of high focus and relaxation.

In fact, I’m happy to invite any fan of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory to compare what you currently do to get into a state of flow with my suggestions below and let me know which is more effective.


If you can wait until the book gets published to find out what the ‘below’ means then get in touch via our Contact Us form and ask for some information about our 1-on-1 mental toughness training options. We typically reply in less than 24 hours.

This Thing Called Culture

David Barracosa, Performance Psychologist from Condor Performance, discusses ‘culture’ in the aftermath of the ball tampering scandal in Australia.

The "Culture" of Aussie Cricket was tested and questioned in 2018.
The “Culture” of Aussie Cricket was tested and questioned in 2018.

Note: This article was written and published before major improvements were made in late 2018 to Metuf – the name given to the collection of mental skills that we use with our sporting and non-sporting clients. Due to this, the 5th paragraph mentions Commitment, Confidence, Communication, Concentration, Creativity and Consistency. In the latest version of Metuf, these have been replaced by Motivation, Emotions, Thoughts, Unity and Focus. For more information about Metuf please visit The Metuf Online homepage.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to read the previous edition of the Mental Toughness Digest would have been introduced to the story of Thomas, the young fisherman. The interesting part of Thomas’ story from a Mental Toughness perspective was that despite him not catching any fish for 14 days straight he maintained a motivation for the sport due to his focus on and enjoyment of the process. Reading this got me thinking about how this story of an individual would relate on a bigger scale to either a sporting team/organisation or even for an individual sports athlete training within their camp. It’s my belief this is where one of the biggest buzzwords in sports at the moment comes into the discussion – ‘culture’.

The idea of culture has been spoken about extensively recently due to the ball tampering saga that came over the Australian Cricket Team during their recent tour of South Africa. After the dust had settled and the individuals who were responsible for the act were handed down their punishments, a lot of questions were still being asked about how a group of highly regarded / paid professional athletes could have ended up in a predicament such as this?

What was going through their minds and through the locker room that led them to making such a decision? The talk switched from individual motivations to team culture and the importance of this mental element within the fabric of sport was, and potentially still is, being debated in social and professional sporting circles. Before I go on I wish to acknowledge that not every Australian cricketer was involved in the act of ball tampering and their names should not be smeared as a result. However, every Australian cricket player, coach, official and any other support staff has a role within and a responsibility to the culture within the team.

Culture is the collective mentality and values of a particular organisation and group of people.

It is something that can be inherited from those who were previously members of the said organisation but can also be quite fluid as some individuals depart and new individuals join. The right culture should never be “assumed”. A culture of sorts will always exist when a group of people come together and form a team whether they’re active in creating it in their preferred way or by letting it happen naturally. I’m of the opinion that it is something that should be named openly among everyone and worked on actively so each individual associated with the organisation can have a sense of ownership and pride over what they have created. Not only this but a strong and positive sense of culture also gives the organisation an identity; provides a guiding light to the individuals that can both be used as a motivator as well as creating a sense of accountability for everyone’s individual actions; can promote the wellbeing of an individual as they can feel accepted and belong; and, maybe the biggest thing of all, gives everyone the chance to develop a strong sense of each of Other Cs of Mental Toughness (Commitment, Confidence, Communication, Concentration, Creativity and Consistency).

If you are a leader of a team, or even a member of one, I hope as you read through the list of consequences that come from creating the right culture it gets you thinking about your organisation and what you can be doing to create an environment where all of this is possible. If this is the case, then my recommendation is that you waste no time in creating a situation where people can begin to contribute to a discussion and the shared values of the organisation can be formalised. From our perspective, one of the key things that should be kept in mind and included within the process is that we can only control our efforts and therefore the culture and pursuits of the organisation should focus on giving people the opportunity to achieve consistent and high quality effort, rather than having an obsession with results. People often talk about a “winning culture” within a team but for us, if this idea of “winning” is only focusing on the results you attain then you leave yourself and your organisation vulnerable when things are not going to plan, something it’s fair to say occurred for those individuals within the Australian Cricket Team. The team can have goals that strive towards certain achievements but along the way the true reward and meaning comes from how the team and individuals within it worked towards their achievements, not what was reached at the end of the road. Think about Thomas and his fishing endeavours.

A big part of our role when we work with an organisation is helping them to create discussion and opportunities that drive the ideas of culture for themselves. Every organisation is different and if you wish to discuss how you can achieve the right things for culture within your organisation then we would love to hear from you.

This article was written several months before a review into the culture of Australian cricket was released. The full review can be viewed or downloaded below in PDF format.

Communication is King

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

Plato
Chris Pomfret communicating with legendary mountain bike coach Donna Dall.
Chris Pomfret communicating with legendary mountain bike coach Donna Dall.

Note: This article was written and published before major improvements were made in late 2018 to Metuf – the name given to the collection of mental skills that we use with our sporting and non-sporting clients. Due to this, the 5th paragraph mentions Commitment, Confidence, Communication, Concentration, Creativity and Consistency. In the latest version of Metuf, these have been replaced by Motivation, Emotions, Thoughts, Unity and Focus. For more information about Metuf please visit The Metuf Online homepage.

Warning: If you’re not part of a traditional team sport and therefore think that an article about communication doesn’t apply to you in the same way it might apply to a rugby or soccer player for instance then think again. “Team” by our definition basically means group which basically means more than one person (typically with a common goal). So if you’re an individual sport athlete then your team is probably your family, your coach(es), your sport and performance psychologist (hopefully one of us) and anyone and everyone in your life with whom you have a relationship and therefore could help or hinder you with your goals. Of course for athletes of traditional team sports all these “support” people also apply but the overall number of personnel in your “team” is probably larger as you would include all the people you compete with.

Let’s start with a question. Is communication really a mental skill or is it more of a life skill? Well to be honest most psychological skills are life skills (some obvious whilst other are in disguise with a fake moustache and a wig) if you think about it. Let’s take commitment as an example. Yes, commitment (motivation, drive) is a mental nugget that is hugely valuable in sport and performance but really it’s useful for everyone in every situation. The kind of commitment that high performing athletes have to get up at 5am and train is not that different than the commitment shown by plumbers who get up at a similar time in order to earn an honest income.

Simply put, as human beings (no offence to any animals reading this we just don’t know enough about what makes you tick yet) our mental strengths and weaknesses spill into everything we do. Although at Condor Performance we tend to assist athletes, coaches and performers improve mental areas such as communication mainly for performance enhancement in most cases it benefits them well beyond their chosen sport and performance area (a nice side effect to working with someone trained in both general psychology as well as sport and performance psychology).

First we’ll clarify exactly what communication is and break it down and then afterwards we’ll provide insight into a couple of simple mental methods for improving it.

Although some people / professionals like to regard communication to include “communicating” with oneself our system of mental toughness training (Metuf) doesn’t as we feel there are better words for concepts like self-talk (e.g. thinking). Anyway, the word itself in English derives from the Latin communicare meaning “to share” and it’s technically not possible to share with yourself.

So how do we share (communicate) with others then? Basically, in either a non verbal (body language and facial expressions) way or a verbal way (words and all the things associated with the spoken word such as tone, volume, pitch etc). Then of course there is both the production of these (e.g. talking, grunting, throwing our racket etc) and the receiving of them too (e.g. listening, sensing distress just by the look on someones face).

As both sporting and non sporting clients of ours know one of the greatest strengths of the Metuf approach is the “breaking down of complex concepts into smaller, clearer more manageable parts” and we feel the best way to start improving communication is through a combination of exactly this and our Controlling It mental method.

Rather than rate yourself in terms of the 2 x 2 matrix formed by Non Verbal and Verbal along the side and Productive and Receptive along the top just assume all four facets of communication are important (by the way reading and writing are also technically part of the communication picture but have been left out of this article for the sake of simplicity). Try to spend 5 minutes a week on trying to improve each cell of the Matrix (20 minutes in total). For example, for Non Verbal x Productive you might practice doing something more conspicuous when angry such as squeezing the grip of your racket/bat/whatever you have nearby. For the Verbal / Productive cell it might be worth seeing if you can navigate the content of what you’re saying towards more Controllable / Highly Influenceable topics such as effort and away from less influenceable ones such as other people and uninfluenceable distractions such as your genetics.

As well as experimenting with how different WORDS can impact on your relationships why not also try seeing how difference ways of saying things can impact on the message too. For example try whispering “please send me more information about your services” and then say exactly the same eight words again in your normal voice.