". . . imitation of communication."

Imitation of Communication—for everyone

Imitation of Communication—for teachers

The primary difference between this article for "everyone" and the one for "teachers" is that the article written for teachers uses language and examples appropriate for educators. Some of the examples are used in both articles.

Imitation of Communication—for everyone:

For the purpose of our tutorials we make a distinction between talking and communicating.*

Instead of defining what communication is, we define it by the results. We say that communication has taken place when we've produced the results we all say we want, when the results are mutually satisfying.

When the results are not what we thought they'd be, when they are not what we say we wanted, then we say we lapsed into talking, or doing our imitation of communication.

I know that communication has taken place when I've manifested my stated intention and, when the results are mutually satisfying.  When the results are not what I envisioned I discover that somewhere during the interaction I had gone unconscious. I had lapsed into talking or doing my imitation of communication, in which case I manifested an intention—just not one I thought I was intending.


v 12.28

"The single biggest problem
in communication
is the illusion
that it has taken place."

George Bernard Shaw

illusion of an agreement

communication model

enrolling skills

agreements are honored

adversarial model examples

fear of students/parents

agreement curriculum

becoming vs. being a teacher


coaching appointment

Note : Mouse over asterisks* for


For example:

 ". . . to honor and obey, in sickness and in health . . . till death do us part . . ." 1

If you've said such words and you are now divorced then we say that communication did not take place; you did not communicate what you really meant.* At some level your ex (clearly not a devout [no divorce ever] Catholic) got that you did not mean what you said. What happened was you unconsciously lapsed into doing your imitation of communication. You only created the illusion of an agreement  (it was in fact a wedding vow with an implied non-verbal agreement that cheating or a divorce would be allowed). The implied agreement was, "I'll stay married to you as long as it's working for me."

What's also true is, you lied. You said something and didn't mean it. All truths and all lies have consequences (even those lies of which you are unaware). A lie believed does not make it true.

It's not your fault—you've been introduced to the subject of responsibility but no one has taught you a definition of the word responsibility. "Taught" here meaning that you can quote verbatim any definition of the word responsibility.

I repeat, it's not your fault. It's rare that any couple have the same definition of the word responsibility; neither partner has been taught a definition.

It takes a communication-skills coach about 30-hours, over a weekend-long communication-skills workshop, to communicate the word responsibility so that all workshop participants are clear about, and are communicating from, the same definition of the word responsibility—not the "right" definition or "the" definition, just an agreed upon definition to use during the workshop.

When both/all parties in a conversation communicate from the definition of the word responsibility as defined in our tutorials there are seldom any arguments.

Another example:

In a communication-skills workshop when the facilitator communicates—

"It's time for a bathroom break. Please be back in your seats in 15 minutes. The time is now 9:30. Be back in your seats at 9:45."

—that's what happens. With few exceptions during an entire weekend-long workshop everyone is in their seat at each designated time. Communication takes place even with a large audience. The difference? The break is communicated with intention. The facilitator knows with certainty that at any moment during a workshop the mind of some participants are preoccupied/daydreaming.* This is a given. Therefore it's the facilitator's job to command attention before putting content, such as a bathroom break announcement, into a mind that already contains other thoughts. The facilitator must create [some] space for communication to take place. 

It's the facilitator's (teacher's) job to intend that all participants not only hear the words but that they intend to recreate the facilitator's intention.

We use the word "communicates" above to make a  distinction between announcing or telling [talking] and communicating.

For example:

Announcing a bathroom break results in several participants returning to their seats late. When a break is "announced" participants have no reality that they have an agreement to be back in their seats at a specific time.

With teachers, when homework is "announced," "put out," or "assigned," it results in some students not doing it as envisioned. Read The Homework Story —a must for teachers.

When a parent tells  their child to do their homework the child doesn't get that he/she has an agreement to do so.  The parent's poorly made agreement (referred to as an imitation of an agreement) results in thwarting arguments. The parent irresponsibly blames their child for their (the parent's) inability to cause communication to take place. It's never ever the child's fault. A thwarting/misbehaving child is communicating something non-verbally.

It takes about 500 hours to train a Communication-Skills Workshop Co-Facilitator Trainee to communicate a bathroom break. Most of the training has to do with a trainee learning to recreate a Workshop Supervisor's intentions. "Put a sharpened pencil under everyone's chair. Place it this way." Thousands of similar instructions are communicated throughout a three-day workshop. All instructions are recreated, no excuses, no reasons.

Unlike a military drill instructor's communication model, referred to as an authoritarian or the adversarial communication model, (characterized by abusive yelling and condescension), a workshop supervisor uses what's referred to as Intentional Communication, also referred to as the Mutually Satisfying Communication Model. In other words, military-like precise results can be consistently achieved without raising one's voice or being abusive.

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A lie believed does
not make it true


















. . . break is communicated with intention.




When a teacher becomes stuck
doing his/her imitation
of communication they create
the illusion of an agreement
 when it comes to
 announcing homework.



Enrolling Skills

Enrolling others to recreate one's intention (co-creating an agreement) is not taught to high school or college students, or education majors at the level of skill.

"Skill" (see definition): The result (honored agreements) can be produced consistently, at will, and, most importantly, one is constantly teaching others how to do it through example.

Again, it's not your fault. Most principals have not been taught to how to cause all their teachers to hand in the various daily, weekly, and monthly reports completely filled out, neatly, accurately, and on time. Because principals have not been taught how to co-create agreements they cannot model the skill, therefore many teachers create the illusion of agreements with students and their parents.

A teacher is able to enroll students and parents in honoring agreements; whereas someone in-the-process-of-becoming-a-teacher causes some students and parents to not honor agreements.

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". . . agreements are honored."

We say that agreements, which are always co-created, are honored.

When you are unconsciously stuck doing your imitation of communication you create the illusion of an agreement.

Creating/co-creating agreements is not included in any education major's speech-communication curriculum. Ironically, it is covered in great depth, through to a skill level, in advanced sales/communication training programs in the insurance, banking, automobile, and real estate professions.

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Communication Model

The communication model used throughout our various tutorials is called Intentional Communication. It's also referred to as Mutually Satisfying Communication.

Intentional Communication is different than the prevailing university and education-major communication model which interestingly is referred to as the "Adversarial Communication Model," the same model used by our legal system.

The word "adversarial" is used because all parties communicate from, are driven by, survival. The focus is on passing not failing, winning not losing, better than, more money than, succeeding at the expense of another. It's easier to see the model when interacting with attorneys because they are concerned with fault-finding and blame.

When couples begin to have relationship communication problems virtually none return to any of their former speech/communication teachers for guidance or support. In fact, when couples use the university-taught adversarial communication model, it most always generates acrimonious divorces. Few have learned how to communicate any other way.

The adversarial model is further characterized by withholding thoughts, gossip and talking negatively about another behind his/her back. 

Most often a listener of gossip, say at a party, will hold the opinion that gossiping is wrong, yet not stop it mid-sentence when they hear it, directly, or even in the background. Instead they condone it, put up with it, unconsciously intend it, with self-righteous judgmental silence. They do this in a way that causes others to think highly of them while they themselves think less of the actual badmouthers. This is called covert sabotage—of both the badmouther and the person being trashed.

If you "find" someone gossiping to you, you know that they do not respect you, they intuitively know (because of the way you communicate non-verbally) that they have found someone who will support them in badmouthing others. I say find  because it should read, [if you "cause" another to pass on gossip to you].

The fundamental motivations of adversaries are fear and survival. The implied agreement is that it's ok, even necessary, to withhold certain thoughts from others, for fear of . . .

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Adversarial Model Examples:

Most couples communicate from an us/them paradigm. They use this same adversarial model when they argue and fight about the divorce settlement. Such arguments are characterized by name-calling and blame—"I contributed more money, you had no possessions when we married." High school graduates, thinking this is the right/only way to communicate, emulate their parents, teachers, and clergy and fight and argue similarly in most all such matters.

Quite often someone will say something negative about another behind his/her back. It's considered the norm, ". . . everyone does it, etc."

High school faculty members will say negative things about students and parents in the faculty lounge (this is not unethical as long as the teacher follows through and shares with the student or parent what they found themselves saying behind their back).

Education majors emulate their mentors, especially the Speech/Communication faculty's adversarial communication model; they become addicted to blaming.

For example an employee might say to his/her spouse:

"My cheap boss won't give me a pay raise." —this is a blame statement (the spouse unconsciously intends and reaps the negative karma of such a blame statement) —as opposed to, "I don't know how to communicate so as to produce a pay raise." 

  • In lay terms this means that most employees are addicted to blame. They dump responsibility for their failed results on others.

  • The word "dump" is used here because it is irresponsible to relate with another as though they operate from your definition of the word responsibility.

  • A definition of the word responsibility is not taught in schools—through to clarity—consequently, each teacher/professor has his/her own definition. Each have his/her own point of view of things for which they are willing and not willing to be responsible. This tutorial presents a definition and uses it throughout the tutorial.

  • Whereas it's understood that it's a college student's responsibility to be clear about homework, it's also known that the mind of most high school students is preoccupied at any given second and therefore they might not be in the now, not present, not conscious, when words are exchanged between teachers and students. Many high school teachers operate from the same point of view as a professor's, "If you don't hear/get me then it's your fault that communication didn't take place."

  • For example: I, this web page author, am not responsible for ensuring that you are absolutely clear about the contents of this page (the word "absolutely" is redundant here; it's used because the word clear could be misunderstood).  I do however, as coach, accept responsibility with tutorial participants. That is to say, we communicate through to mutual satisfaction.

  • For the most part, college students withhold most judgments, criticisms, and resentments, the negative thoughts, they have of certain faculty members, out of fear of recrimination. Faculty have not been taught how to create a safe space for the truth to be told. A thought withheld serve as a barrier to the experience of communication [i.e. subject matter].

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Education majors emulate
 their mentors, especially
the Speech/Communication
 faculty's adversarial
communication model.





In lay terms this means that
 professors and high school teachers dump responsibility
for getting their communications
(the subject matter) on the student.






The fundamental motivations
of adversaries are fear and survival.



". . . fear of students/parents."

Most teachers have fear in their relationship with some of their students and parents and fellow faculty members. 

As education majors they were not taught how to tell certain truths and have others feel good upon completion. They are afraid to deliver verbally certain kinds of important, extremely uncomfortable, feedback to the parents and their child. This keeps everyone producing more of the same.

Behind the doors of the teacher's lounge some teachers say things they wouldn't dare say to a parent's face.

It turns from a "clearing" to badmouthing/gossip when the teacher does not afterwards tell the parent what he/she was saying behind his/her back. 

Other teachers in the lounge, the "nice" ones, (quite often the ones that receive the awards) condone [intend] the gossiping behavior with silence. These teachers, with their unconscious "nice/polite act," are surrounded by gossipers because they continually non-verbally reward/reinforce the behavior.

Ironically, suppressed gossip (gossip communicated non-verbally) has the same detrimental, more-of-the-same, effects as does irresponsible verbal gossip.

For every teacher stuck in poor performance there is another teacher observing them, sitting silently, self-righteously, on their judgments, criticisms and valuable feedback, thereby keeping the whole school stuck in mediocrity. Notice that I do not say that an observer is communicating ineffectually, thereby keeping others stuck in mediocrity. In truth an "observer" is unconsciously communicating brilliantly using their adversarial communication model, and in so doing they are extremely effective in support of everyone staying stuck in mediocrity, also they get to look good or better than.


1) When a leadership-communication skills coach gets into communication with someone in-the-process-of-becoming a teacher  the effect is so profound that the educator will experience a transformation—not just a change but an actual transformation. That, or the effects of such a conversation will inspire the wannabe teacher to voluntarily leave the school in support of the school system's integrity, and in so doing also effect a transformation.

2) In reality most school systems cannot hire a coach because interviewers, those that hire, do so using their university-taught adversarial communication model. The interviewer/screener will automatically "accidentally" question the integrity of the coach. The coach will point out the abuse which usually triggers upset; after which the interviewer will find a reason to not hire the coach. The interviewer creates dozens of insulting jump-through-this-hoop hoops. Consequently, coaches seldom offer their services to a school system. To offer is considered suicidal behavior [behavior detrimental to the aliveness of the coach].

3) A coach will not enter into a prolonged conversation with an educator (outside of a consultation or workshop) because educators are addicted to arguing. That, and educators cannot be trusted to communicate openly, honestly, and spontaneously. During conversations they withhold certain thoughts, for reasons. Without an agreement to coach a coach does not have permission to teach others how to communicate—if a coach hears a lie or are spoken to condescendingly (abusively), which is most always the case, they simply, quietly, extract themselves from the conversation.

4) It is virtually impossible for a coach to not hear a lie/error within the first few minutes of a conversation with an educator. With a coaching agreement the educator gives permission to the coach to interrupt them for clarification, feedback, or correction. With a coaching agreement the feedback is valued—not argued with.

We use the word "conscious" to draw attention to the fact that when our mind becomes clouded with stuff (thoughts of guilt, perpetrations, and withholds) we become shut down. We can barely see it except through another's feedback. We no longer are the sharp awake person we are capable of being. When we go unconscious we "accidentally" take as many people down with us as possible.  We set others up to awake us. Ironically, when they don't catch us (wake us up, get into communication with us) we lose respect for them and we settle into mediocrity.

During some forms of Zen meditation the master will notice a novice going unconscious (to sleep) and whack them on the shoulder with a split-ended bamboo stick. This effectively returns the meditator to reality. Later the novice thanks the master for supporting him in being awake.

As a teacher, it could be said that when students and parents are recreating your intentions then everyone is awake; when they go unconscious your job is to first wake yourself and then them—yourself through coaching, they with a communication.

Your mind is conditioned to protecting you from the reality of how you caused a student/parent problem. Your mind stops short of responsibility. With the support of a communication-skills coach you can trace a problem back to the exact communication in which you caused it, to when you went unconscious. There are no exceptions. Others always mirror your communication-leadership skills.

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Some teachers are afraid to
 verbally deliver certain
 kinds of important,
 extremely uncomfortable, feedback
 to the parent and his/her child.
 This keeps everyone producing
 more of the same.















































It could be said that when students and parents are recreating your intentions then everyone is awake. When they go unconscious your job is to first wake yourself and then them—yourself through coaching, they with a communication.


". . . illusion of an agreement."

What does "an illusion of an agreement" mean?

Throughout the Communication Skills Tutorial for Teachers we say that an agreement is determined by looking at the results.1 A well-crafted co-created agreement is virtually as good as kept, except for the doingness, at the time it is made. With homework, the test of whether you created an agreement, as opposed to doing your imitation of communication—creating the illusion of an agreement—is on the day the homework is due.

Between adults who have a track record of reliability, of honoring their agreements with each other, both know that they have an agreement. Seldom is the word agreement used. In a teacher-student-parent relationship it's the teacher's responsibility to support both the student and the student's parents in honoring agreements. If a teacher lets even one broken agreement go unacknowledged then the teacher has become stuck, and they have lost some respect. They only created the illusion of an agreement. Students and parents know when they have co-created an agreement with a teacher, it's usually an experience unlike any with other teachers. Often such a teacher, because he/she is so different, is described as tough, mean, and strict.

It is important to keep in mind that education majors are not taught how to create agreements. They are not taught how to communicate with a student and his/her parents in a way that co-creates an agreement for homework to be done to the teacher's satisfaction each and every day. To master this skill an education major would require an entire school year of Leadership Training or, attending a 3-hour support group twice monthly for the first five school years.

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For the purpose of the tutorial
 we say that an agreement is
 one that is kept.





If a teacher lets even one broken agreement go unacknowledged
then the teacher has become stuck,
and they have lost some respect.


Here's part of what an Agreement-Creating Curriculum looks like:

  • Creating agreements that work. (notice it does not say, learning about agreements . . . , or, introduced to agreements . . . )

  • Supporting others in honoring their agreements.

  • Acknowledging broken agreements and creating/recreating new ones.

  • Acknowledging (getting/recreating) the anger that sometimes gets triggered when you are supporting someone in honoring an agreement.

The above Leadership Training program requires a total of 16 hours class time, thereafter—for life—continual coaching-monitoring by a communication—skills coach. The classes can be two 8-hour sessions, or four 4-hour sessions (the principal and the superintendent of schools must attend).

Because agreement-making skills are missing from an education major's speech communication curriculum, most teachers end up doing their imitation of communication, to include creating the illusion of agreements. The result is that a teacher unconsciously sets it up for a parent to not honor the imitation agreements. The parent then unconsciously thwarts the teacher by sending their child to school without the homework done.

This way of communicating is irresponsible and unethical. It has disastrous effects, especially when it comes time for graduates (citizens) to vote for school funding and pay raises.

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Here's part of an













. . . a teacher unconsciously
sets it up for a parent
to not honor 
the imitation agreements.


". . . becoming vs. being a teacher."

There are teachers and there are those in the process of becoming teachers.

A teacher, having confronted and being willing to let go of his/her ego, will ask a communication-skills coach, "What am I doing or not doing that's producing this undesirable result?"

Someone in the process of becoming a teacher will continue trying, using their own home-made communication model, doing what we refer to as an imitation of communication. Their ego will not allow them to ask for help. A predictable percentage of their students will not learn the subject matter.

A teacher knows that when a student does sloppy work the student is covertly communicating something. The student is also checking to see if the teacher is awake and worthy of the extra effort it would take to do neat complete work all the time. Respect is lost when a student is supported in doing sloppy incomplete work it. Poor penmanship indicates that the penmanship teacher didn't do complete work. When taught correctly legible penmanship becomes automatic—a muscle memory—for life.  Each student, at the beginning of each new school year, needs to be given a penmanship test to determine if in fact they have mastered legible penmanship (or printing if cursive is not taught). If they fail the test they need to be referred to the penmanship teacher for remedial penmanship classes. A teacher supports the success of the school's penmanship teacher else they too will be unconsciously thwarted and sabotaged.

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A teacher must support the
success of the penmanship teacher
else they too will be
unconsciously thwarted/sabotaged.


Talking vs. communication

It works to make a distinction between talking and communicating*.

With talking unwanted problems persist.

With talking a teacher will report to a parent that their child is not doing his/her homework. Then the "teacher" and the parent  will create the illusion of an agreement, ostensibly in support of the child doing their homework on time and neatly. Each walk away from the interaction honestly and sincerely believing that communication took place. The child performs well for a few days and regresses.

Few C students rise to A students when a teacher is stuck talking. Once a teacher has experienced the difference between talking and communication they eventually have no choice but to communicate.

It has yet become the norm for a teacher who is failing to get into communication with a student and his/her parents to ask for support from a communication-skills coach. Most teachers simply have no choice other than to keep trying to make their communication model work—it's much the same arrogant behavior of men who ignore their co-pilot's suggestion to stop and ask for directions when driving. The co-pilot rewards and enables the arrogance.

When a teacher gets into communication with a parent the source of the problem is identified. Agreements are co-created and the student's performance improves remarkably. There are no exceptions to this phenomena.

When communication takes place the student does his/her homework to everyone's satisfaction.

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1 If you and I make an agreement for you to borrow and return a tool on Friday, and you do not return it on time, then we both get to see that unbeknownst to either of us at the time we had no intention to have the end result be mutually satisfying. What we did was make what's referred to as an imitation of an agreement. We know this by the results. During the interim I had been unconsciously relating with you as though you were a trustworthy reliable person, whereas you had been relating with me without the respect required for you to make keeping your word with me important.  Had I been conscious (awake) and intent on you keeping your word I might have said, "Is Friday going to work for you? Can you think of any reason that might get in the way?" With these two questions it would have woke us up, specifically, we would have looked at our intentions (the end result) at the beginning.

1 Looking back, now that we are conscious (or at least more conscious), we can see how out-integrity we were.  ". . . til death do us part . . ." is one hell of a commitment. We were either incredibly sneaky or equally unconscious. i.e. Most couples co-conspire non-verbally with each other, to not include a fidelity agreement; not surprisingly, the very couples that had fidelity issues.















Most teachers simply
 have no choice
 but to keep trying to make
 their communication model work




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