NEW DELHI: Communication is an integral part of our lives. However, while some of us are able to get the best results from our communications, many of us are not so lucky. Our communication patterns are not uniform though. There are occasions when we are very frank and outspoken about matters; and instances when we refrain from expressing our thoughts for fear of spoiling relationships or annoying others.
We also come across different kinds of people — ranging from those who do not care and say what they want to those who are totally aloof, disengaged and have stopped taking interest in anything happening around them.
The communication styles adopted by different people can broadly be classified into four categories, depending upon two important parameters — the amount of respect they have for themselves and for others. Here, respect is just a perception and expression of value for the thoughts, beliefs, emotions and opinions of self and others.
In this context, we come across four types of behavioural patterns:
1. People who have great respect for self but none for others: These people are confident, loud, direct and forceful in their communications. While they push through their thoughts and views, they tend to be disinterested in listening to others and demons-trate none or very little inclination to listen. They are generally un-responsive and impatient in their interpersonal dealings.
2. People who have no respect for self but immense respect for others: These people believe that the thoughts and viewpoints of others are more important than theirs. Hence, they are inexpressive, would not share their viewpoint and agree to what others are saying, even when they have a different opinion. They are good listeners and very responsive.
3. People who have no respect for either self or others: These people prefer to stay isolated and aloof — neither do they speak much nor listen.
4. People who demonstrate a healthy amount of respect for self as well as others: These people express their viewpoints confidently, but are polite and courteous to all at all times. They give equal importance to the views of others and hence are good listeners and very responsive.
While the first category is aggressive communication style, the second demonstrates accommodating, the third a passive and the fourth is what is referred to as assertive communication style. With an aggressive communication style, people can get work done, however, the gains are temporary and they are not able to build relationships, which hampers their progress and growth in the long run. The advantage of an accommodating communication style is that the person will have good relationships, however, he would not be effective in getting the work done. Also, others will start taking him for granted and may also take advantage of him sometimes. A person with a passive communication style will have no tensions as everyone will leave him alone and he will have no work — however, he will not progress in life.
Assertive communication is the most effective style as the person using it will be able to get the work done, have good relationships and will progress in life and career. The only flip side to it is that it requires patience and practice and has to be inculcated.
(The author is a learning and development professional and runs her own company — Kiai Peoplez Solutions at New Delhi. She can be reached at email@example.com)