The main reason for conflicts with our family, friends, colleagues, and team members is as ?lack of communication?. Effective communication skills are essential in our lives and in the home-business industry. More often than not, the problem is a result of a communication breakdown and it is a though each individual is actually speaking their own ?unique language?.
In this digitally inter-connected world, you'd think we could "fix" such basic differences. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as plugging another device into the system. Maybe they're the problem. Maybe you are. We all know difficult people - and, in fact, we can all be the difficult person.
A little background on communication styles can help us understand the issues and learn how to alter our approach to eventually make life a little easier for both parties.
The Basics--Every time we speak, we choose and use one of four basic communication styles:
1. Assertive 2. Aggressive 3. Passive
The most effective and healthiest form of communication is the assertive style. It's how we naturally express ourselves when our self-esteem is intact, giving us the confidence to communicate without games and manipulation.
When we are being assertive, we work hard to create mutually satisfying solutions. We communicate our needs clearly and forthrightly. We care about the relationship and strive for a ?win/win? situation. We know our limits and refuse to be pushed beyond them just because someone else wants or needs something from us. Surprisingly, assertive is the style most people use LEAST. Isn't this amazing?
Aggressive communication always involves manipulation. We may attempt to make people do what we want by inducing guilt (hurt) or by using intimidation and control tactics (anger). Covert or overt, we simply want our needs met--right now! Although there are a few arenas where aggressive behavior is called for (i.e., sports or war), it will never work in a relationship. Ironically, the more aggressive sports rely heavily on team members and rational coaching strategies. Even war might be avoided if we could learn to be more assertive and negotiate to solve our problems.
Passive communication is based on compliance and hopes to avoid confrontation at all costs. In this mode we don't talk much, question even less, and actually do very little. We just don't want to rock the boat. Passives have learned that it is safer not to react and better to disappear than to stand up and be noticed.
A combination of styles, passive-aggressive avoids direct confrontation (passive), but attempts to get even through manipulation (aggressive). If you've ever thought about making that certain someone who needs to be "taught a thing or two" suffer (even just a teeny bit), you've stepped pretty close to (if not on into) the devious and sneaky world of the passive-aggressive.
So now what?
Clearly, for many reasons, the only ?HEALTHY EFFECTIVE? communication style is assertive communication. Surely you can identify many people in your own life that favor each of the four styles. Most of us use a combination of these four styles depending on the person or situation. The styles we choose generally depend on what our past experiences have taught us will work best to get our needs met in each specific situation. If you take a really good look at yourself you've probably used each style throughout your lifetime in different situations with certain people.
Understanding the four basic types of communication will help you learn how to RESPOND most effectively when confronted with a difficult person. It is very important that you always use ?SELF-CONTROL? and do NOT ?REACT?! This is a skill learned through personal development. When we ?react? to someone we have just given our power away! It will also help you recognize when you are using manipulative behavior to get your own needs met. Remember, you always have a choice as to which communication style you use. If you're serious about taking control of your life, practice being more assertive. It will help you diffuse anger, reduce guilt, and build relationships - both personally and professionally.
Begin to pay attention to which communication styles you use throughout the day. How often do you use a communication style other than ?ASSERTIVE?? Watch and identify the communication styles some of the difficult people in your life use. Can you begin to notice how others use manipulative techniques to get their way? Learning to use effective communication will increase your success in all of your relationships.
Types Of Communication Styles
In this model, there are four communication styles that reflect four communication needs. Notice the needs and speak in kind and you speak to the needs and thus strengthen the communication.
To recognize the style of a person's communication need, you need only make two distinctions. First, is their communication about people or a task? And secondly, do they communicate directly or indirectly?
Sometimes, people talk about what they're doing, either the end result, the details, or both. I'm calling this a task focus. The task could be discussing an idea, making a decision, resolving a dispute or achieving an objective.
Sometimes, people talk more about the human side of life, either about the people around them or about themselves. This is what I call a 'people-focus' whether they are describing thoughts or feelings or views about others or themselves.
A person focused more on a task than on people may pay more attention to the end result of the task than the details they encounter along the way. Or, they may pay more attention to the details of the task than to the end result. You can notice this in the way they talk. A person focused more on people than on a task may express more interest in the opinions and feelings of others, or in their own opinions and feelings.
4 Communication Needs
1) Need for Action: When a person is focused on the end result of an interaction or an idea, she has a communication need for action. She needs you to speak directly and actively. She needs to hear movement in a direction in the way you talk.
2.) Need for Accuracy: When a person is focused on the details of an interaction or an idea, she has a communication need for accuracy. She needs to hear that you are paying attention to the details in the way you talk.
3.) Need for Approval: when a person is focused more on what others think and say than on her own thoughts and feelings, she has a need for approval. She has a need to hear in the way you talk that you have that same concern for her feelings and thought.
4.) Need for Appreciation. When a person is focused more on describing her own thoughts and feelings than she is in talking about the thoughts and feelings of others, she has a need for appreciation. She needs to hear that you appreciate her in the way you talk.
These needs, action, accuracy, approval and appreciation, get communicated through the style or structure by which a person speaks. And there are indicators (when you notice them) that allow you to speak to the need.
1. Action = Get to the point
The person with a need for action will speak directly, and to the point. There's no mincing of words here, as momentum and movement are of a high priority. She is apt to talk in an authoritative and commanding way. Blending reveals that when a person is direct and to the point, you want to be direct and to the point in dealing with her.
2. Accuracy = Give the details
The person with a need for accuracy will speak indirectly, offer a lot of detail, and take her time before arriving at the point. You may find yourself wondering... about the point of it, but eventually she'll get there.
When accuracy is important, she is likely to ask questions to acquire information, or make long statements to establish facts and stimulate thinking. The revelation of blending is that when a person is detailed and indirect with you, you can be detailed and indirect in your responses with her.
3. Approval: Be Friendly and Considerate
The person with a need for approval will speak indirectly and express concern for the opinions and feelings of others. This person will... consistently check that no offense has been given, and she will have sensitivity and respect for their time.
The revelation of blending is that whenever someone talks to you in a considerate and indirect way, you can can be considerate and indirect in your responses.
4. Appreciation = Speak with energy and enthusiasm
The person with a need for appreciation will speak directly and enthusiastically. Using exclamations and personal stories this person works to grab attention and evoke feelings, in order to hold the spotlight of your attention (and by inference, your appreciation for what they have to say.)
And you may be wondering why they're going on and on about it. Blending reveals that when a person is direct and enthusiastic, you want to be direct and enthusiastic in your communication with her.
An excellent way to use the needs-style approach in your persuasive communication, in order to make what you say more compelling and powerful, is to try delivering your ideas in each of these ways: action, accuracy, approval and appreciation.
Both Rose Kirkland & Rick Kirschner are contributors for EditorialToday. The above articles have been edited for relevancy and timeliness. All write-ups, reviews, tips and guides published by EditorialToday.com and its partners or affiliates are for informational purposes only. They should not be used for any legal or any other type of advice. We do not endorse any author, contributor, writer or article posted by our team.
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