Now go back to your remaining “I can’t” communication behaviors and try substituting, “I don’t know how to” for the words “I can’t.” Instead of saying, “I can’t keep my staff focused on the discussion at hand during meetings,” try saying “I don’t know how to keep my staff focused on the discussion at hand during meetings.”
It is important that you not take the phrase “I don’t know how to” too literally. You may find that you do know how to do some of the things on your list, but you don’t know how to change from your existing poor habit to an improved communication behavior.
“I don’t know how to say no to a family member when they ask for my help” might sound strange to some. Of course you know how, you just say “no.” In reality however, saying no may not be that easy, it may not be your habit, may not come naturally, and so forth. In addition, you may not recognize that there is a time for “yes” and a time for “no” and part of rectifying this communication behavior is establishing criteria by which you evaluate the appropriateness of saying yes or no given the circumstances. Then, you develop the necessary skills, language, and so forth to say no effectively.
Make a list of any statements you revised to say, “I don’t know how to,” and describe for each why this is more accurate than the original “I can’t” statements. If there are any issues that you still feel belong on your “I can’t” list, include a narrative to describe why.
The “I don’t know how to” items on your list are the ones to consider for this project. These are the ones you can expect to change by taking this course. Select one of these problem areas to work on for the remainder of the course and for the purpose of this report. Describe your process for eliminating additional “I don’t know how to” items to narrow your list to the one issue that you finally selected for the project.