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Peak
Feeling &
Emotion
Ideas & Judgement
Fact & Data
Greetings & Small Talk
Withdrawal
Participant Handout 3

Communication Pyramid


We put ourselves in the mind-set that
we are daughters and sons of this area
living among our own people. We want
to facilitate and engage conversations
with our people in a natural way. We
will use the communication pyramid to
achieve this.

There are different communication
stages and levels. Varying degrees of
quality and depth. People initially talk
about the facts and figures of their lives
(data) at a superficial level. When
people openly share how they feel
about an issue they go beyond data and
share at the upper levels of the pyramid
(feeling, emotion and peak) where
impact is best identified and measured.
Let’s consider these communication
levels.

Withdrawal
No communication. It usually demonstrates withdrawal. People do not feel respected. There
is little trust. They do not feel free to discuss important things. Negative experiences e.g.
broken trust or trauma due to disaster can cause this. When there is trust and respect we help
create the space for people to share at a deep level.

Greetings and Small Talk
Every culture uses customary greetings. Respect and use these as they establish the
foundation for respect and trust. Initial light chat about general things creates rapport and a
positive atmosphere. Take an interest in the group.

Fact and Data
People usually begin discussion by first naming an issue – fact or data. Discussion is led by
the group as they describe the facts and data themselves. They decide which issues they want
to focus on.

Ideas and Judgements
The group discuss a topic and with our support, the group members begin to share their
personal opinions and thoughts on it. As facilitators, we do not share ‘our view’. We allow
the group to have its own conversation. We simply allow the discussion to progress naturally
from fact and data to a deeper sharing of ideas and judgements.
Feelings and Emotions
When the group members share their feelings and emotions we know that they are truthfully
opening up. They may be upset, frustrated, happy or angry. Respect and actively listen
The Communication Pyramid
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without controlling the topic. Shared feelings reveal knowledge and wisdom that data alone
cannot do. This level removes barriers to communication. Emotion is linked to motivation. It
is only issues we feel strongly about that we are prepared to act on. These are among the key
impact issues in a community that we want to hear, identify and record. Proverbs and
symbols are often used when people communicate at deeper levels. It is important to also
record these as they add depth of meaning to what is said. Encourage participation of the
whole group.

Peak
Depth of communication is felt. It is the level where the greatest and real changes are
expressed. Total openness – the group members are open and united – we are accepted. It can
be a moment of silence – no words. It may happen after a moment of deep personal
revelation. It may only occur when you are leaving and group discussion is over. Be attentive
to this.