Conflict is caused when an expectation is not met. In communication, if you expect someone to communicate like you do, you’re setting yourself up for a high stress conversation. During every conversation you have, there are 4 unspoken communication styles that, when understood, will improve your communication skills and the connection with the other person. When we don’t understand these 4 communication styles, it can cause the reverse affect and cause a complete disconnect with others; which is one of the main causes of stress. This happens because we don’t understand the 4 ways that people experience life. You see, all of us are hard wired with predictable, behavioral patterns which determine how we interact with others. A disconnect occurs when we expect people to interact the same way we do. We end up frustrated with them for being different. Something to remember, is this: “You will never be able to see someone’s strengths, when you’re only focused on what you perceive to be their weakness.” When you understand that people don’t communicate the same as you, then you can adjust your communication style to match theirs, and start building a successful and stress-free relationship.
How to Improve Communication Skills By Understanding the 4 Ways We Connect With Others:
Some people are fast paced and others are slow paced. Slower paced people like to take their time, get all the details and not be rushed. When they’re with someone who’s speaking too fast, their energy gets drained and they often feel overwhelmed. If someone feels overwhelmed by your pace, they stop listening and start feeling frustrated with you. In the same manner, slow paced individuals frustrate fast paced people by speaking way…….too……slow. Faster paced people are usually on a mission, and when you speak slowly, they get impatient, agitated and feel like you’re holding them back. Both of these pacing’s are normal. However, they are very different and can cause stress when you don’t understand someone’s pacing style.
Pacing tip: Simply speed up or slow down your pace to match the person you’re with, and you will automatically attract people to you, rather than push them away.
2. Information Needs.
Some people have general information needs. They only want the bullet points and nothing more so they can get things done as fast as possible. Others have specific information needs. They want you to give them all the details and the step by step process so they can make sure it’s done correctly. Stress comes in when we GIVE information, the way we prefer to RECEIVE it. Delegating a task to others is a great example of this. If you don’t give enough information to those with specific needs, they may not start tasks, because they don’t have enough information to get going. They end up stressed out and feel like they’re going to let you down. If you give too much information to those with general needs, they’ll check out half way through the conversation and will lose respect for you, thinking you’re not smart enough to get to the point sooner. Neither one of these styles is right or wrong but they are different; which is what causes us stress.
Information Needs Tip: Get to know the person you’re communicating with. A sure sign that they need more specific information is if they ask you more questions. You can honor them by not getting annoyed and provide them with more details. When someone gets directly to the point with you, that is a sign that they just want general information. Give them bullet points and they’ll be happy with your interaction.
3. Social Interaction.
There are 2 ways we socially interact with people. We’re either outgoing, feeling free to voice our opinions and ideas; or we’re more reserved and tend to internalize our feelings before we speak. How is that stressful? Say that you’re in an office meeting. Outgoing people will share ideas and sometimes speak over those who are more reserved. Reserved people tend to wait until they’re called upon to speak and will often get over looked for their great ideas. Reserved people may feel that you don’t respect them if you speak over them, and outgoing people may feel that you don’t want to participate if you have nothing to say. To lessen office stress, ask everyone to come to your meeting with one idea each, and give everyone an opportunity to share. Your team will feel that you value each of them individually.
Social Interaction Tip: When you’re with someone who’s more reserved, give them an opportunity to speak so they don’t feel left out. When you’re with someone who’s more outgoing, prepare topics to discuss with them and speak up so they feel you want to interact with them.
This is the top communication style that causes us the most stress in life. Some individuals focus more on getting a task done, and others focus more on building relationships. Everyone has both of these traits, but you will have one in you that is stronger than the other. Task focused people enjoy making a list, checking it off, being efficient and getting things done. Relationship focused people are more concerned about connecting with people on a deeper level. The conflict comes in when we expect someone to operate the same way we do. Take 2 managers for example. The first manager is task focused. He goes about his day, getting one task done after another and doesn’t really stop to ask how everyone is doing or if they need help. He expects them to have the same “get it done” mentality that he has. The majority of his staff, however, are relationship focused. They feel like they’re just another number and the boss doesn’t care to build a connection with them. This causes stress and a lack of loyalty from his team. The other manager is relationship focused. She spends most of her time socializing with her staff and planning the next office bbq party. Who wouldn’t love a boss like that? Her staff, unfortunately, are more task focused. They feel like their boss is a distraction and lose respect for her. To build a better relationship with someone that is more task focused, help them accomplish tasks in a timely manner. If you want to connect with a relationship focused person, ask them questions that help them feel engaged with you.
Focus Tip: There’s a question you can ask when trying to figure out what someone’s main focus is.
“Is this a relationship this person wants to build, or is this a task this person wants to accomplish?”
Answer that, and you will eliminate up to 90% of the stress you currently have in your relationships.
By understanding the 4 methods of how to improve communication skills you will build more credibility when you speak, you will gain respect as a leader and you will be seen as a more effective communicator.
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