Communication: The Four Essential Parts of Speech

It seems that Communication, Connection and Relationship as important priorities are more necessary now. Today am discusssing an important part of the Communication process that is one leg of the tripod. I traveled the country this month to introduce and facilitate team alignment in several organizations. I am fortunate to experience firsthand the power of communication and connection.

The results that are possible are integrated teams and team members that follow through in the same direction. They make the goals of the team more important than personal goals and develop trust and productive interactions that were not possible in the past.

There are four parts of speech that are essential to having a presentation/conversation that gets the point across and more importantly creates the connection that is so necessary for people to really hear each other, gain clarity and agree to move forward.

Four Parts of Speech:*

  • Framing
  • Advocacy
  • Illustration
  • Inquiry

Framing: This is often a step that is missed especially in spontaneous conversation so that one can develop a habit of beginning with a reference to what the intention of the conversation is, what is to be covered and what you are hoping the results will be.

Advocacy: Most often we engage in conversation and joint ventures with an intention to advocate or to go in a specific direction. It is important to have a balance so that this element does not overshadow the others.

Illustration: Examples and stories that illustrate the things you are requesting, presenting or discussing.

Inquiry: Asking questions about what the other person thinks about what you are saying or if they have another point of view. This is where the actual connection between people is made and what creates a successful interaction.

My biggest learning in this process was the recognition that I did not use Inquiry nearly enough when I realized that my intended results and actual results were not the same.

If you would like to learn more about the essential tripod of the Team Alignment process, please be sure to visit the rest of my website at:

*Action Inquiry, by Bill Torbert and Associates, 2004, Berrett-Kohler Publishers