The IPIG model shows 4 levels of communication and helps to understand where things are going awry in communication and how to restore constructive communication.
At the content level, you discuss the assignment, task, goals and results with each other. So it is about answering the question ‘What do we have to do?’
During the procedure, you will agree on how to proceed. This level is about the procedures, structures and resources that ‘enable the content’. At the procedural level, the ‘how’ side of the ‘what’ question is discussed.
Interaction is about how you interact with each other. This level is about behaviour. Questions at this level are: ‘Who is dominant? Who follows? Do we allow each other to finish what they are saying? Who is being listened to? Is there laughter and why?’
The emotions people have in a given situation affect the quality of the top three levels. This valuable level, like the interaction, often plays under the table. Feelings are often not explicitly expressed which can cause confusion.
In conversations, we often talk easily about the content, occasionally suggesting a procedure to adjust the conversation. The two are “above the table” in a conversation. Interaction and feelings are more hidden “under the table”. These are generally more difficult or more tense to discuss. However, if a conversation is not going well, you will find the keys for improvement here.
Switching between the levels
The four levels influence each other. In fact, we encounter them to a greater or lesser extent in every conversation. However, we don’t usually use them consciously. The different levels allow you to steer a conversation well. When we use the four levels (consciously), we speak of switching. This is switching from one level to another. You use this when it appears that you are not making progress at one level because another level is creating a blockage.