Do you know what approach you take when communicating with others? In other words, do you just use communication as a tick the box exercise or do you use communication to build trust and enhance relationships. Read through the below and see which approach you generally use.
a) Keep conversations at a surface level and just talk at what I call a ‘non-involvement’ level? For example ‘horrible weather out today’
b) Only feel comfortable by keeping your level of communication to facts and figures?
c) Feel comfortable presenting your ideas and opinions to others?
d) Feel secure in opening up about your feelings and emotions?
e) Feel confident and uninhibited when communicating. In other words, you don’t fear judgement or reproach of others?
So what does this mean?:
As you can see, there are 5 different levels of communication. Starting at levels, a and b involves very little risk. It also feels comfortable using this level of communication in most situations. However, if you only communicate at these levels, you will find it difficult to build trust and understanding.
How to improve your communication approach:
Moving up from c and onwards up to e may feel risky and leave you feeling vulnerable. However, only when you communicate at these levels will you enhance the relationship with that person. I’m not saying that you start communicating with someone at level c, d and e straight away but it’s something to work towards once you get to know them better.
The flip side to these levels is you need to be willing to allow people work up through these levels with you. A question to ask yourself is – do you allow people to open up about their feelings and emotions without judging or reproaching them?
Communicating at the lower end of this model is what is known as ‘transactional communication’. In other words, you exchange words with someone in order to achieve something or vice versa. However, in doing this, there is no real meaning or depth to the conversation or subsequent relationship.
I encourage you to start improving your communication and relationships by working your way up this model and see what rewards those conversations bring.
Until next time.