Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thinking about improving communication.

Post 439 - Most of the organizations I work with start off by reporting problems with communication. "We know that communication is a problem, but the company isn't going to discuss it with the employees" - a quote from a switching supervisor at AT&T's Long Lines Division. That didn't sound like a very promising strategy to me.....

Here's a comprehensive list of communication characteristics compiled by therapist and author Phil Rich. Take a look and see what resonates for you.

Ineffective Communication:

* Indirect - doesn't get to the point, never clearly states the purpose or intention.

* Passive - timid and reserved.

* Antagonistic - angry, aggressive or hostile in tone.

* Cryptic - the underlying message or purpose is obscured and requires interpretation.

* Hidden - the true agenda is never stated directly.

* Non-verbal - communicated through body language and behaviors, not words.

* One way - more talk than listening.

* Unresponsive - little interest in the perspective or needs of the other person.

* Off-base - responses and needs of the other person are misunderstood and misinterpreted.

* Dishonest - misleading statements are substituted for true feelings, thoughts, and needs.

Effective Communication:

* Direct-to the point, leaving no doubt as to meaning or purpose.

* Assertive - not afraid to state what's wanted and why.

* Congenial - affable and friendly.

* Clear - the underlying issues are clear.

* Open - no intentionally hidden messages or meanings.

* Verbal - words are used to clearly express ideas.

* Two way - equal amounts of talking and listening.

* Responsive - attention is paid to the needs and perspectives of the other person.

* Honest - true feelings, thoughts, and needs are stated.

Susan Scott, the author of Fierce Conversations, says, “The two greatest communication technologies any of us possess are eye contact and purity of intention.” It's also worth noting an observation by the late eminent British psychoanalyst, Wilfred Bion, who said, “The purest form of communication is to listen without memory or desire.”

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