Communication , that is such a loaded word isn’t it? What feeling does that word bring to mind when you hear it. Do you automatically think about that coworker that has none? Do you think about your spouse who either talks too much about their day or too little? Maybe it’s while you are out there in the business world meeting and networking and you are trying to communicate effectively what you do and they look at your like you have two heads. I have been pondering that word and sheer art of communication. We are bombarded with communication now through Television, social media, email marketing, the news that shares the whole world with us not just our little corner of it, and through local papers like this one that share so much of our local news in our day to day lives. Yet, I what are they trying to say?
What is always so interesting to me is how easy it is to misinterpret communication and how many people walk away from an encounter with a totally different opinion of the same event. I saw this meme on Facebook that is so true. Take the numbers 6 and 9. If you draw one on the ground and have one person stand at the top and another stand at them bottom. One will see a 6 and the other a 9. Who is right? There is always your perception, their perception and then there is the truth, or is there? What did the artist of the number intend to write. You can’t know unless they communicate their intent or there is a another number like 7 or 8 next to it. Perceptions are never the same are they?
Let’s say you have a coworker and you are frustrated about something they either did or didn’t tell you. So you communicate in a less than positive way because it caused your more work. You think you are just telling them how you feel or your frustration at the situation, the other person hears that you are angry and becomes defensive and an argument ensues. You have just “mis”-communicated.
Communication is the key to any kind of relationship but it’s not just communication. Communicating in a negative way or unhealthy way is just as bad if not worse than not communicating at all. Communication has to be both positive and honest for it to enhance your relationships. So how do you do that when there as so many personality types trying communicate with each other?
First, it’s a good idea to identify the different personality types and then decide which one resonates with you. There are great books and classes, I teach a few on how to communicate more effectively.
There are basically 4 different personality types. There are many nuances, yet most people tend to fall into 4 main categories.
Aggressive; Loud, Pushy, Controlling or even Angry these personalities are going to have their way and aren’t going to let anyone get in their way and might just bulldoze over you if you let them.
Passive allows things to happen or accepts what other people do or decide without trying to change anything. They are either really at peace with the world or completely storing up all their issues in pot that will someday boil over.
Passive-Agressive; Avoid direct confrontation, may procrastinate, pout, or misplace important materials. Watch your chair with this personality. They keep smiling while they put tacks in your chair when you aren’t looking. Assertive; Self-assured, confident without being aggressive. they are willing to speak their mind and be less likely to allow themselves to be taken advantage of. They often seem to intimidate those who are less self assured and are not well liked when they call someone out on their crapola.
We have all these types of personalities running around the world being judged by each other trying to exist together at work, at home; with families and friends, all just trying to figure it out. Sometimes we do a masterful job at it then sometimes we botch it royally. So how do we master the skill of communication? I think we have to master it one person at a time. First, Ask yourself what are they trying to say? You have to want to improve communication and that takes 2 parties. Pick the people closest to you and then say two little words. “Let’s talk.” It will take practice, real effort, learning how to listen with your heart and not your head and a real desire to improve the communication.