Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Styles of Communication

There are four styles of communication.  Each time we communicate in any way, we choose one of these styles. Often, employees say, "I don't consciously decide how to communicate; I just do it!"  Everyone has options, though.  Becoming aware of these styles will allow you to be more in control of what you say and how you react.

Styles of Communication:
Assertive: Straightforward, Honest, Caring, Reliable
Aggressive: Loud, Angry, Whining, Guilt-inducing, Manipulative
Passive: Timid, Avoiding, Tentative, Non-responsive, Frightened
Passive-Aggressive: Guilt-inducing, Dishonest, Sniping, Devious

Your goal is to use assertive communication as much of the time as possible. Use an "I" message to take responsibility for the issues ("I feel...").  State your opinions respectfully, acknowledging that the other person may see the situation differently.  Listen attentively, without bias, pre-judgment, or counterattacks.  Most importantly, follow through.  Others know that the assertive person always means what he/she says and will do what is promised.

It takes a strong commitment and willingness to say what you mean in a positive, non-threatening way. Sometimes we are tempted to give in to pettiness and game playing, but if we resist and are determined to be assertive, people will get a strong sense that they are being told the truth in a fair and tactful way.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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