Thursday, January 26, 2012

Communication Styles and How They Work

Communication Styles and How They Work By Peggy Grose Have you ever noticed how your own style of communication often triggers a corresponding, negative or positive reaction in others- children and adults? Coming on strong, scolding, demanding and criticizing evokes defensiveness and resistance and generally regbellious responses, even from adults. Speaking in a non-threatening, non-demanding voice works better for all concerned. Our oldest son Edward was a rebellous teen. We couldn' tell him a thing. He was irresponsible, unappreciative, and combative --you name it. It seems as if we were always on his case. In his senior year, he volunteered in a city department in the afternoons, working on the “Think Trees” project. At a reception one evening for parents, his supervisor reported that he was one of his best interns. He said, “Edward is so conscientious! He gets here on time and gets right to work. He gets along with the staff and his ideas have been valuable.” We looked at each other, wondering, “Is this the son we know?” You see, away from our parental, authoritarian, constantly-on-his-case approach and disapproving style, he thrived. We were doing him more harm than good. Here’s a suggestion: Try to speak in modulated ways, using a “You’re o.k.” tone, rather than a "You’re not o.k. tone". Be as courteous to your own loved ones as you would to a colleague or friend. Avoid scolding and criticizing. Decide what change you’d like to see and ask for it. Negotiate if necessary. Listen to them. O. K. O.K.—you’re still in charge. They’re still your kids. But even if you are the parent, you can speak to them adult to adult. The same goes for your spouse, co-workers, neighbors, in-laws. Give compliments, celebrate small and great successes, praise effort, and forgive. Remember, the more we push, the more others push back. Listen to yourself. .
How to Talk so They’ll Listen Alice wanted to talk to her husband, Sam, about the way he went around with a toothpick in his mouth. She knew from experience that he could be defensive. She could already hear it in her mind: “What difference does it make? I’m not hurting anybody.” And he would be perfectly right. This is a values issue. It’s not hurting or hindering anyone. It’s simply bothering Alice’s somewhat more-polished taste. She rightly cares about how her husband is perceived. So, she gently brings it up in a way that will most likely get the results she wants. “Sam, Honey,” she says, “I know this is no big deal, but the toothpick in your mouth annoys me. You are a good-looking, well-put-together guy and the toothpick takes away from all that. Would you just toss it when it’s done its job?” Now Sam can’t come back with the argument that it doesn’t matter, because Alice has covered all that. “O.k.,” Sam says, “I’ll try to remember.” And Alice thanks him. What if he doesn’t remember? What does Alice say the next time she sees the dreaded thing hanging there? Perhaps Sam gave Alice permission to remind him. Perhaps a gentle remember is acceptable. She might ask, “Help me understand this.” After that, it’s nagging. There are worse things that husbands could do! Here are some pointers in how to get what we want and need without harming the relationship: 1. Ask yourself, “Is this something that is harming or hindering me, or is it simply a matter of taste?” Then, decide whether or not to mention it. 2. Approach the subject when everyone is in a fairly good mood and rested. 3. Set it up as a behavior issue and not a character issue. Bring up one request at a time. 4. Don’t bring up the past or something that cannot be undone (his or her sorry relatives. the dent she put in the car last week). 5. Don’t ask for something the other person cannot provide. 6. Avoid blame. 7. Express appreciation for changed behavior. 8.Be equally willing to accept suggestions from others. nr
COMMON, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNITY, COMMUNION DEVELOP THE ART OF SKILLFUL INQUIRY BY ASKING SKILLFUL QUESTIONS Some time this week, make a list of important questions that you might ask another employee in order to know who that person really is. Here are some examples: How and why did you choose the work you do? What part of your job brings you the most satisfaction? What is disappointing about your job? Please tell me one thing you are hoping for. What have you been disappointed about recently, either personally or professionally? What can I, or others, do to help make your work more satisfying? Other questions ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Then, listen, without judgment or criticism, and with a receptive mind. Imagine that you will be enriched by learning what is “going on” with this interviewee. Suspend assumptions to more fully understand another’s perspective. People don’t care whether or not you agree with them as much they want to be heard.

How to Talk about Religtion and Politics without Losing Your Head

How to Talk about Religion and Politics without Losing Your Head by Peggy S. Grose A friend once told me about a time in law school when each student was to take a certain case and prepare an argument from one side or the other. After their presentations, they were instructed to prepare the same case, but to argue it from the opposite viewpoint. The students were astonished at how passionately they took each position, based solely on choice. He said, “I realized then how fiercely I tended to hold on to my own viewpoint, at all costs but, when I made the decision to look at the other side, I was just as passionate about that one.” Sometimes, an opinion is sort of like a suit of clothes that we don each morning. “I like this outfit so much that I won’t wear anything else. This suit is me. It’s who I am, my Self. It feels comfortable, safe. I don’t want to hear about what else may be on the rack.” But, of course, we are not what we’re wearing any more than our opinions are who we are. Neither has to be permanent. We can choose to change or hold onto our opinions and still keep them separate from who we are. Dr. Jerry Jampolsky, author of the book, Love is Letting Go of Fear, and founder of the Centers for Attitudinal Healing, wrote that negative emotions are mostly fear of not being loved. So, if there is no boundary between our opinions and who we are, then, surely we will react defensively to protect our Selves when dealing with controversy. Little wonder there is so much venom in the air. We don’t want to be found wrong. Long-held notions, even if proven wrong, are hard to let go of. Here are some suggestions 1. Let’s examine and re-examine our leanings, read and study and discuss, expanding our universe. Trying to understand where the other guy is coming from is hard, but it would contribute to a more peaceful world. Remember that he has a right to his views, which are just as precious to him as yours are to you. 2. If you want to promote peace and understanding, ask questions, but don’t cloak them as a challenge; state them out of the desire to understand. Listen to her insights. Listen without interrupting, and without hostility. Help the speaker make herself clear. Nod, not in agreement, necessarily, but to indicate that you hear. That’ll ease any potential hostility. If you don’t understand, ask again. You can think of this as an experiment. 3. Remember, many people think they are communicating when they are simply taking turns talking. 4. If a different angle feels like a threat, don’t put up your fists. Take a deep breath. You are safer if you don’t appear threatening to the other person. 5. If you must, speak your own side of the issue. If he takes offense and wants to quarrel, explain that you’re only trying to understand. Notice how fearful he seems. Help him feel safe. 6. Remember that the things we are most afraid of are those that we don’t understand. Once we understand that air moving faster over the plane’s wing than under it, causing the lift, we won’t be afraid of flying. 7. Fear is triggered by the amygdala, a tiny organ on the top of the brain stem. Without a brain, it has no capacity to think. It doesn’t ask questions or make informed decisions. It only reacts. It needs time to consult the cerebral cortex before we can make an informed decision. 7. I dare you to do this: Find someone whose opinions you totally disagree with. With completely neighborly intentions, try your best to understand his opinion without getting into a brawl. Relax and listen. 8. Stop the name-calling. Stop vandalizing cars featuring bumper stickers with which you disagree. Forgo the hand signals. Behave yourself. Grow up. 9. Ask yourself, “What’s the cost of being right? What am I missing?” 10. Give up the need to be right, dog-gone-it. 11. Watch out. You may change, stretch and grow a little. Your blood pressure may normalize Your world will enlarge. You’ll have more people to talk to. You will be less fearful. Your can get more done with less energy. From our example, our children will learn more mature behavior, problem-solving skills, how to think for themselves. And your world will be a happier place.