EMCD – an Introduction

By Julian Edge

There’s nothing complicated about this. Let’s imagine a situation in which the Speaker’s name is Sarah Brown (SB) and I am the Understander (JE).

Sarah creates a document and calls it: EMCD1_SB-JE. (That means this is our first EMCD exchange, with SB as Speaker and JE as Understander.)

In that document, she heads the first page:



and makes her opening statement as Speaker.

She attaches this document to an email with the Subject line:


and she sends it to me.

Within 48 hours, she will get back from me an email with the subject line changed to:


Attached to that will be her original document that I have extended with my first Understander’s response:



When she is ready, she sends back the same document extended with her S2:



and I respond again with:


CD rules apply. The Speaker writes when s/he is ready to, the Understander responds within 48 hours (under normal circumstances). We finish when the Speaker says so.

Some time ago, a Speaker and I completed an EMCD session that had sixteen exchanges. We went through a full cycle of exploration, discovery, goal-setting, trialing and action. Along with useful specific outcomes, the Speaker expressed a broader sense of personal/professional development based on the concept of “thoughtful assertiveness” that she formulated during the session (and which she differentiated from “impetuous assertiveness.”) Reviewing the session in a final message, the Speaker said this with regard to her interaction with a high-status person whose decisions directly affected her career:

About the thoughtful assertiveness, I could always do better, but I’m not completely disappointed. If it hadn’t been for this EMCD session and how much thought I have given the issue, I would have followed my first instinct of just leaving things the way they are. So simply having been able to ask and clarify and express my doubts to someone as authoritarian is a big step forward.

. . . .

So, there is some frustration involved in how I acted, but all of the above are very important steps. I doubt it would have been possible without EMCD 🙂

It was very satisfying for us both, both learning in the different ways that CD makes available.

If you check the profiles that other interested participants have posted, you will see that some are keen to work as Speakers and some as Understanders and some as both, or either. We hope that this can be the basis for the establishment and support of an international CD community, some using EMCD.