Published: 3 July 2018
The way you communicate has a big impact on your ability to get on with people and get the things that you want. Good communication skills can help you to avoid conflict and to solve problems. Open and honest communication is also important for making friends and having healthy relationships.
Basic Elements of Communication have two elements;
Verbal; the content, what is actually said
Nonverbal; including body language (e.g., eye , posture, facial expression), voice quality (e.g., tone and pitch, volume, rate, clarity), overt behaviours (what the speaker is doing while talking, e.g., sitting, pacing, gesticulating).
There are four commonly observed communication styles people may employ. Each is characterised by different verbal and nonverbal features and vary in typical outcomes for the speaker and listener.
1) Passive – people employing this communication style frequently find it hard to stand up for themselves and often aim to please others to avoid conflict. Characteristics include:
2) Aggressive – people employing this communication style frequently disregard the needs and rights of others. They often achieve the result they seek in the short term. However, personal and work relationships are frequently damaged and others tend to avoid future with them. Typical characteristics include:
3) Assertive – people using this communication style stand up for themselves in a way that is respectful to self and others, seek help when needed, feel comfortable saying ‘No’ when appropriate and express their thoughts and feelings when it is safe. Characteristics associated with assertiveness include:
4) Passive Aggressive—people who use a passive aggressive style communicate in a very indirect and confusing manner. This is because they indirectly express hostility via procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.
Which Style Do You Use?
People generally feel most comfortable using one style of communication, however they can change depending on the situation or people involved. You may feel safe to practice assertiveness with your friends but not your lecturers and therefore don’t ask for the help you need. Stay tuned for the next newsletter to learn how to be a more effective communicator by using assertiveness when it is appropriate.
Extract from Reach Out: