"Moves," "follows," "opposes," and "bystands" are the communicative stances that comprise one of the four levels of the Structural Dynamics theory.

 

It's happening again.

The conversation is becoming tense and everyone is retreating to "their usual roles." He goes quiet. She gets assertive. You resist. You retreat to your corners and hunker down until it passes. From here on out words continue to hit the air but for all other intents and purposes the conversation is over. The conversation is stuck again, and you don't know why.

It's usually at this point that a story begins to take shape in your mind. A moral story. A story that explains why the others act so poorly, even maliciously, and how you would be vindicated if circumstances -- usually those pertaining to them -- were different.

Luckily, there is something you can do about it.

Research shows that evil actors indeed exist, but they are rare.

In most cases the issues causing our communicative gridlock are not moral but structural in nature. There's something out of balance "at the bone level" of our conversations, and the good news is that that something can be diagnosed and attended to, with training.

The theory of Structural Dynamics exposes this hidden meta-level code of communication and provides us a framework for intentionally altering our speech to counteract imbalances, misinterpretations, and gridlock that occur at the structural level of our interactions.