I’ve had many people come to me with concerns over how they are being perceived, with frequent feelings of being misunderstood. Much of the time, issues in this realm boil down to communication styles and patterns.
Bringing awareness to ones communication style, can be very helpful. Often, I will suggest some assertiveness training, so that when communicating with others, people can adopt a sense of, “I win, you win” instead of simply trying to, “get what we want.”
We all have different ways of getting our points across. Most communication styles fall within four categories: Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, or Assertive.
What type of communication style do you typically use? Does your style change depending on your audience? In which situations would you be most likely to try to improve your assertiveness?
When someone comes at you more aggressively, it’s important to consider the source. Why might this person be saying what they are saying? It might have nothing to do with you, maybe they’re just having a bad day, or a hard time. Try and take a moment to reflect before responding. If it is personal, not all criticism is bad. In this case, can any of what they are saying be true and helpful? Is there something to learn and grow from here? If so, maybe say to this person that you hear their perspective, and you would like to do better. Ask if they have any specific feedback you can use to improve. Then remember that this is just someone’s opinion. Sometimes you will want to take that in, and sometimes you won’t.
The next time you draft an email or text message that could be interpreted different ways; re-read it to yourself and imagine someone was sending you the same message. Is there anything you would change?
Contact me if you would like to work on your own assertiveness skills, or for a company training.