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. .

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