Key to Success How to Understand Four Communication Styles
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 or maybe you are. We all know difficult people - and, in fact, we can all be the difficult person.
A little background on communication styles, as a key to success, can help us understand the issues and learn how to alter our approach and eventually make life a little easier for both parties.
Learning how to communicate effectively is a key to success and will help us reach financial success. Every time we speak, we choose and use one of four basic communication styles. It is important to learn that only one of them is effective and is the only one as the key to success.
The assertive communication style is the most effective and the healthiest form of communication. It's how we naturally express ourselves when our self-esteem is intact; giving us the confidence to communicate without games or manipulation.
When we are being assertive, we work hard to create mutually satisfying solutions and 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.
Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an open, honest, and direct way. It recognizes our rights while still respecting the rights of others. It allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people. It is a key to success and it allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists. Surprisingly, this 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, by using intimidation, and control tactics (such as 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. People that use passive communication styles have learned that it is safer not to react. They lack so much confidence in themselves that it feels better to disappear rather than to stand up, be noticed, and have a voice.
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. People that use this communication style operate out of fear and clearly do not have the courage to stand up and say what they need to say. Therefore, they use the cowardly form of passive-aggressive communication. They are the ones that will smile to your face and then "stab you in the back".
So, now what?
Clearly, for many reasons, the only "HEALTHY EFFECTIVE" communication style is assertive communication. It is the only form of communication that is clearly a "key to success" and an effective communication skill. 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 to 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 it is best to practice being more assertive. It will help you diffuse anger, reduce guilt, and build relationships - both personally and professionally. This is a "key to success" and a principle that requires a high degree of self-confidence and discipline.
1. To communicate effectively begin to pay attention to which communication styles you use throughout the day. How often do you use a communication style other than "ASSERTIVE"?
2. 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 communication effectively will increase your success in all of your relationships and it is the only one that is a "key to success".
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