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Trapped in your Communication Style – Break free!


“All human beings are ‘trapped’ to different degrees, by belief, emotions and behaviours, which are outside of systems of rational analysis”[1]

It’s a frightening realisation, but true. Without some degree of self-awareness we are all living inside our own experience shaped by our past, a product of culture, upbringing and our education, environment, gender and a long list of other influences. Every communication we make or receive is coloured by the filter of our experience.

Ever feel you keep turning up with the similar result even though the situation changes? Sometimes it even feels like you are locked in to a cycle of communication and response at work and at home. It might be time to step back and take a look at this in order to move forward. We can all learn to communicate more effectively, no matter how long you’ve already been working at it. The first step is to become aware.

Communication filters are formed from our whole life experience, age, gender, cultural background, life experience. Even the environment and mood are just a few of the complex factors that effect communication and your results. Managers often experience frustration with some employees. I have worked with managers who say they may have team members who no matter how often they address the issue feel like they are not making any headway with a particular team member. In this scenario I will often get them to step back and consider the cultural background and communication filters that may be in play.

The good news is by carefully and purposefully considering the elements of communication you can eliminate some of the ‘noise’ that can interfere with your communication and its intended purpose. By removing as much noise as possible and communicating on purpose you increase your impact and results.

You might hear people say or even have heard yourself use this phrase – “it’s just how I am”, but is it? Or are you that way because of external factors? Is that who you really are? Can you be more than that, different, if you try something new, will you still be you? Choosing new ways to communicate takes insight and leadership, the ability to flex your style and read a situation requires emotional intelligence. Much has been said of emotional intelligence, the illusive factor that can make an executive or leader great, setting them apart from others. How do we get it?

You first have to be aware what is happening verbally and very importantly non verbally.

An appreciation of whether the team member you are communicating with is from a high context or a low context culture is a great place to develop an understanding. Attempting to communicate differently can be difficult and require concerted focused effort. It may also feel uncomfortable and awkward.

I recently worked with a banking executive who incrementally implemented some of the small but intentional changes gained through self awareness and 8 weeks later he was astounded that the mood in his office had changed and people were asking what was different. Our own communication style sets the tone for those around us.

We are not trapped in cycles of being and great leaders have developed the skills to flex between communication styles according to their purpose.

Try something new, outside of your usual mode of operating and see the difference.

If I can assist you or your business please contact me directly on kayte@voiceconsultantsadvocates.com. I am happy to schedule a complimentary 30 minute assessment to assist with tailoring a solution for your situation.

For details on our upcoming workshops here.

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Some testimonials from my clients:

I have worked with Kayte in both Sydney and Melbourne. Her sessions are interesting and engaging - I never knew you could communicate so much with your body. Kayte provides simple tips that are highly effective. I highly recommend Kayte