by Connie Podesta, Hall of Fame Speaker
In many of my keynote messages, I share with my audiences some facts about the psychology of human behavior—insights into why we do what we do, say what we say, and react the way we react. That’s handy information, because very few of us are flying solo through this world. We’re all interconnected. At work. At home. In our communities.
If we want to get along and work effectively with other people (loved ones, friends, colleagues or neighbors), we need to learn how to be excellent communicators. Especially when we face conflict. And, quite frankly, that’s an everyday event for most of us.
So how can we do that? It starts with understanding the four basic types of communications.
Those who know me will tell you that I am a straight shooter. In other words, I have an Assertive communication style. Which happens to be, hands downs, the most honest, healthy and effective type of communication there is. The alternatives? Aggressive. Passive. Or Passive-Aggressive. Familiar with any of those styles? Not so healthy. And those kinds of communication inevitably involve game playing, hurt, and guilt. Hard pass, thanks.
Becoming a more assertive communicator should always be your goal. That requires being prepared to say what you mean…and mean what you say. Direct and straight-forward. With a few caveats, of course. There are some rules of engagement to keep in mind, especially if you’ve spent your adult life leaning into one of the other, less-desirable communication styles.
Here’s an example. Maybe you and your significant other need to create a safe space to have fully open and honest conversations that don’t result in defensiveness and judgment. Those negative emotions are deal-breakers, even when you’re hearing something that is potentially unpleasant. Like the meal you just made wasn’t great. Or one of your personal habits is driving someone crazy. Ouch.
Despite the awkwardness, both of you can be deliberate in choosing to apply assertive communications. Make the commitment to listen and talk things out rather than resorting to anger or tears, which will likely slam the door of communication shut. And, in the long run, that closed door will make change virtually impossible.
Granted, it’s not always easy to communicate assertively during prickly interactions, but it’s the best thing you can do if you want to increase your success in business and in life. Stay calm. Listen carefully. Curb the negative emotions. It might take a little (or a lot of) practice but, ultimately, your relationships will be stronger for it.
Watch this to learn more:
To learn more about these four communication styles and what makes people tick, I invite you to order my award-winning book, Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t For Other People.
If you’ve got a team who could benefit from strong, timely communication skills with a serious psychology spin to help them listen more, connect on a stronger level, and develop better client, customer, and colleague relationships – give me a call. I’ve got just the topic for your next event.