This course exists of three parts that will all improve your understanding of different communication styles and that will help you get your message across.
Part 1: Communicative goals
In the first part of this course you will learn how you can influence others, by improving and utilizing your own communication style. We will explain that we all communicate in order to achieve certain goals. In order to better understand how you can achieve these goals, we will explain the basic laws of communication and how they work within a certain context.
Part 2: Your communication strategy
In the second part of this course, you will learn how to build your own communication strategy, based upon the communication laws we discussed in part one.
Part 3: Communication styles in practice
In the third and final part of this course, you will learn how you can read other people’s communication styles. And more importantly: how you can deal with these different styles. Once you know how other people communicate, you will know how to best approach them.
In the introduction we aim to explain the traditional definition of communication. You will learn that we radically changed it for this course. Next to this, we will cover the main reasons for communication. This will be our guidance throughout the rest of this course.
Welcome to the first part of the training ‘How do I get my way’. In this chapter we will look at different laws of communication. First of all, communication can be used as a tool to achieve your goals. But you must know how to use it in order to make it work! Having said that, we must accept that there are winners and losers. The winners, of course, being the ones who achieve their goals. Well, you want to be a winner, right? The solution is simple, but effective: you need to know the most important laws of communication and what they do. So let’s discuss three laws to begin with.
The first law of communication simply entails that it is impossible to nót communicate. Whether you want it or not, you always communicate. So the key take-away here is: always try to communicate as effectively as possible.
The second law. Communication takes place at different levels simultaneously. All levels are always present and depending from which side you look, you will see a different aspect of the communication. We distinguish four levels of communication within the second law:
1. The surface level: the physical experience - what we see, hear, smell, etc.
2. The level of intent: what does the messenger intent to say – and how can the physical signs be interpreted within the context of the sender and receiver.
3. The colour level: where we interpret messages from our context, experiences and emotions.
4. Hierarchy: positions of power and subordination can resonate in communication.
This lecture is about the first level: surface
Intent: this is where the translation takes place between our wishes and desires and our goals and objectives. Why do we have to translate these wishes or desires? Well, let's take a situation in which you are hungry. This might feel uncomfortable and so your objective could be to stimulate your partner to go make you some food. You will need to translate this objective into a communication strategy, in order to be effective.
Colour and hierarchy: colour is the tool we use to illustrate the balance between emotion and reason; logic and feelings or the formal and informal. You can have a rational opinion and an emotional opinion about something. But it is important to acknowledge and be aware of the difference between communication in a professional context and communication in a private context. The different approached will colour your communication.
Hierarchy: people are always relating to eachother in terms of degrees of seperation and positions. These ranks of positions are always subject to change, but they have to be kept in mind when communicating in order to be an effective communicator.
An explanation about the third law: our interpretations are always subjective. Reality is shaped and interpreted based upon our own expectations, norms, values and ideas. We only see what we want to see. This has an significant impact on what happens around us. To illustrate this we would like to share a quick test with you that will tell you more about the way you interpret information.
We will discuss how you can build a strategy based upon the communication laws that we discussed in the previous chapters. Communication is a tool that you can use to achieve your goals. These laws are based on strategy, content, behaviour and process (laws). The better you are at predicting what is being said by who, in which style and why, the more effective your own communication style will become. The most attention will go to the process itself, where all the participants come together. The communication process is compared with an old strategy game: chess. A game of chess consists on three phases: an opening game, middle game and end game. Each of these phases have a different function and play an importnant role in the game.
We will analyse every step in the communication process. This is like a game of chess. It always begins with an opening, which is pre-conditional for the rest of the process. Then you will have the middle game, that eventually leads to an end game, where the battle for the final result takes place. The good news is: you can influence the outcome of every step and predict what the outcome will be. This way, you are fully prepared for the next step.
In this part you will learn how to increase the effectiveness of your communication. Sometimes you will face communicative obligations and pitfalls which can influence your communication goals. An objection, for example, is an action that indicates that something is wrong which might prevent you from reaching your communicative goal. These indications can come in many shapes and sizes, such as yawning, voice internation or staying silent for a long time. How you best deal with these kinds of objections depends on the situation. First make sure to be aware of any listening barriers. There are internal and external barriers to consider that can both have a lot of influence.
In this part of our training we will determine your preferred communication style. Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. Understanding your personal communication style will go a long way towards helping you create good and lasting impressions on others. By becoming more aware of how others perceive you, you can adapt more readily to their communication style. By taking the test, you will gain more insight into your own communication style. And self-awareness is the first step towards utilizing your skills!
Many conflicts seem to be about content. While often it is about style instead. In this part, we explain the model on which the basic communication styles are based. The communication model will show you the different styles in four different corners based on: space/distance and formal/informal. We will give a small explanation about these four styles and we will discuss each of them in detail later on.
In this part we explain the expressional style and relational style. What are the characteristics of these styles? And how do these styles respond to the other styles? Expressives are usually very ‘present’. They may be very loud, too. They force their way into conversations. Won’t let you finish talking. Relationals share their informal approach with expressives. However, expressives will claim space, while relationals like to give it away to others. They will ask you how you are doing, and genuinely want to know. They have a lot of empathy.
In this part we explain the directive style and reflective style. What are the characteristics of these styles? And how do these styles correspond to the others? People who use the directive style tend to claim their space and prefer a formal approach when it comes to distance. The directive style characterises itself by getting to the point quickly, trying to keep a conversation strictly business, and sticking to facts and numbers. The reflective style is formal and gives space. Reflectives are businesslike, but much more detail-oriented than directives. They talk softly and quietly, and dive right into the heart of the matter.
Ferdi Oyen (1952), is boardroom consultant both in profit and non profit organisations and member of the supervisory board of a hospital. Based on his background as a psychiatrist, he considers communication as the driving power to improve personal effectiveness. Ferdi is co-author of several books and articles in the field of marketing, leadership and mental coaching in top sports and writer of two stage plays.