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Styles of Communication
Passive – People who use passive communication tend to hint at their needsinstead of openly or directly stating their wants or needs. Many times, they do this to avoid initial conflict. Passive communicators will often use phrases
like “Whatever you think”, “It doesn’t matter to me”, OR “This might sound strange”.
Possible Consequences of Passive Communication: Passive communicators may allow hurts or anger to build up and once they have reached their tolerance level they may have explosive outbursts, which are out of proportion to the event.
Aggressive – People who use aggressive communication express themselves in a way that clearly states their wants and needs, but, in doing so, might infringe on the rights and needs of others. They may do this due to feeling unheard,
or unappreciated. Aggressive communicators will often use phrases like “You make me mad”, “You never...”, OR “It is all your fault”.
Possible Consequences of Aggressive Communication: Aggressive communicators often find themselves alienated from those around them as peoplelearn to fear their reactions.
Passive- Aggressive – People who use passive-aggressive communication often express themselves in ways that seem passive and agreeable, but are actually lashing out in anger in subtle ways. They may do this due to feeling powerless
or unable to directly confront the object of their anger. Passive-Aggressive communicators may mumble or mutter under their breath instead of speaking directly, use facial expressions that don’t match their words, or use sarcasm/humor to avoid
a direct confrontation.
Possible Consequences of Aggressive Communication: Passive-Aggressive communicators may become alienated from those around them as they are never able to directly confront the problem and therefore are also unable to work toward
any type of resolution.
Assertive – People who use assertive communication are able to express their wants and feelings in a way that doesn’t discount the wants and needs of those around them. Assertive communicators desire to hear other thoughts and
feelings,while still being able to express their own. Assertive communicators use phrases such as “I want”, “Tell me what you think”, OR “How can we work together?”
Possible Consequences of Assertive Communication: Assertive communicators feel connected to those around them and feel powerful as their needs and wants are being heard. They also feel a sense of power at being part of the solution
to a problem.
Communication Ground Rules
Following is a list of suggestions & tips to keep a conversation from turning into an argument/fight. This will allow everyone involved to feel less hurt or attacked and more understood and cared for.
Only one person speaks at a time.
Keep comments brief, so everyone gets a turn.
Challenge ideas, words, and actions...but make it clear you are not attacking the other person.
Take a time out if the situation is becoming too heated or upsetting.
Determine for how long, then return in an attempt to resolve the situation/issue being discussed.
Respect when the other person needs a time out.
Take deep breaths often, to keep yourself calm – ESPECIALLY when you feel like lashing out at the other person.
Do NOT bring up past hurts or arguments.
Do NOT “hit below the belt” or use the other person’s triggers/sensitivities as leverage.
Do not have arguments when there is not enough time, space, or privacy.
Do not allow one argument to “mushroom” into a battle over
EVERYTHING. Stay focused on one issue or problem at a time.
Allow humor to arise spontaneously. If done respectfully, letting a smile or giggle through when it feels genuine – perhaps at the absurdity of it all – can work wonders in defusing a heated argument.
When someone breaks a rule, point it out calmly and respectfully (otherwise the rules themselves will become something to fight about).
No name calling.
DO NOT try to "win" or be right!
It’s “ok” to apologize/admit you are wrong.
Taking responsibility for our feelings helps us improve our communication when we are feeling upset or angry. One way to achieve this is by using “I” Statements. This technique allows us to communicate what is upsetting us while minimizing blame
toward others. If a statement comes off as blaming, the person receiving the message will often feel attacked and/or become defensive.
Reasons for implementing "I" Statements:
To stop blaming others
To acknowledge your own wants/needs/feelings
The Four Parts of "I" Statements
What you want, need, or feel
The event that evoked your feeling(s) or desire
The effect the event has on YOU!
Combine these parts to create an “I” Statement as follows: “I feel really scared when someone doesn’t call if they are going to be late, because I worry that something may have happened to them.”
Inserting “that” or “like”: The phrases “I feel that...” or “I feel like...” are really expressions of thought, often an opinion or judgement. The use of “I feel” should always be followed by a specific feeling word such as frustrated,
afraid, glad, happy, etc.
Disguised “YOU” Statements: These include sentences that begin with “I feel that you...” or “I feel like you...”. These can come off as blaming/attacking to the recipient.
Accentuating ONLY your negative feelings: Some people spend a lot of time focusing on communicating their negative feelings and forget to communicate their positive feelings. Expressing your joy, happiness, relief, etc. is equally
Undershooting the intensity of feelings: When individuals first start working with “I” statements, it is common for them to at first send a message that minimizes the intensity of their feelings and consequently their communication
attempt has less of an impact on the receiver.
REMEMBER: Match the message yousend to the level of feeling!
Avoid “ANGRY”: It is much easier to hear the primary feelings of hurt, fear, etc. being expressed that it is to hear the secondary feeling of anger. HINT: Consider what feeling led you to feel anger
Scenario #1: Your friend keeps cancelling plans at the last minute. Last weekend, you were waiting for them at a restaurant when they called to tell you they would not be ableto make it. You left feeling hurt.
Scenario #2: You are working on a project with a group and one member is not completing their tasks on time. You have repeatedly had to finish their work, which has been very frustrating.Scenario #3: A friend who borrowed some movies from you
has brought them back damaged. They want to borrow one again but you are feeling worried
This outline is meant to help you create, work toward, and ACHIEVE your goals. Following these steps significantly improves your changes of doing so.
Write them down
Short-term (in the next 30 days)
Mid-range (30 days to 1 year)
Long-term (1 year or longer)
Make sure your goals are...
Specific (what exactly are you working toward?)
Attainable (can it be done?)
Measurable (can you tell if you are making progress?)
What are the possible road blocks?
What are the steps I need to take?
Who are my supports? How can they help me?
Consider your strengths AND weaknesses
Ask yourself, “WHAT IS MY MOTIVATION?”
Ask yourself, “HOW ARE MY GOALS RELATED?”
REVISIT YOUR GOALS REGULARLY
In 1979 there was a study done with graduates from Harvard University. They were asked one simple question: “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The responses showed the following...
84% had no specific goals at all
13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them
In 1989, ten years later, the researchers again interviewed the graduates from that class. The results were shocking...
-The 13% of the class who had goals, but not committed them to paper, were earning, on average, TWICE AS MUCH as the 84% who had no goals at all
Even more staggering – the 3% who had clear, WRITTEN goals were earning, on average, TEN TIMES AS MUCH as the other 97% put together.
Basics of Good Communication
Communication is the exchange of information between 2 or more people. There are several basicconcepts to keep in mind when communicating with others. These things will help ensure your message is received in the manner in which you intended.
Source Responsibility – make it clear that the thought or idea you are presenting is coming from you. This is typically done through use of an “I” Statement. These statements keep the person receiving your message from feeling
blamed or attacked
Directness – When speaking, it is important to be clear as to who you are addressing. It is also important that your message be specific so any confusion about your intent is minimized.
It can be helpful to ask the recipient if he/she has any questions after you have expressed yourself.
Brevity – Studies has shown that many listeners only hear the first 5-10 words of what a person says. Therefore, it is important that you keep your message concise/brief.
Behavior Specificity/Concreteness – It is important to be specific about the behaviors you are addressing at any time. Try to avoid speaking in general terms when addressing the behaviors you wish to address.
Congruence – Make sure your tone, facial expressions, body language, and other non-verbal cues match the topic you are trying to present.
Presenting Alternatives – typically, listeners are going to respond better when presented with alternatives/options/choices than they will to demands/directions.
Active Listening – it is important to pay close attention to what is being said. Active listening is not just about hearing what a person is saying, it’s about understanding it aswell.
IF there is any confusion, questions are a good way of clarifying information that has been received.