Proper communication is one of the keys to having successful relationships in both personal and professional life. If you have ever heard someone utter the phrase, “That’s not what I meant when I said that,” you know how easily miscommunication can enter into any situation.
The responsibility for clear communication always lies with the speaker. You must know your audience and communicate so that the person to whom you are speaking will hear exactly what you want them to hear. Let’s take a look at some of the styles of communication we all encounter – both helpful and unhelpful.
First, let’s discuss the unhelpful. Placating is a style of communication by which the speaker fails to address an issue promptly and forthrightly, thereby allowing someone to continue unacceptable or unproductive behavior. When it is finally time to fix said behavior, someone who has been placating will face resentment and a lack of understanding. People who have been placated will wonder why they are suddenly being criticized for something they’ve been doing for months.
Blaming is another communication tactic that is unhelpful. Blaming others for one’s own problems creates an absence of responsibility. Not only does this reflect poorly on the blamer, it fosters resentment from those who are blamed.
Computing is a way of avoiding communication altogether. The person who computes would rather think and reflect than take action by confronting the problem.
Distracting is another way to avoid communicating about a problem. By not answering questions directly and changing the subject, a distract-er slows down the resolution process and removes the focus from the primary issue at hand.
Direct communication, also known as leveling, is always the most efficient way to resolve problems. To level with someone, explain to him or her, in a simple and straightforward way, exactly what you want to be understood. For some, leveling may not feel comfortable or natural at first. However, give it a try and you will soon see that honest communication is the quickest, most reasonable way to address any issue, no matter how small or large.