Chapter Nine: Improving Communication Climates
Life is an Echo
What you send out--Comes back
What you sow--You reap
What you give--You get
What you see in others--Exists in you
Communication Climate: The Key To Positive Relationships
Communication climate refers to the emotional tone of the relationship.
Satisfied customers have a 5:1 ration of positive to negative statements
The ration for dissatisfied couples is 1: 1
Studies show that performance and job satisfaction increase when the communication climate is positive.
Teacher confirmation plays a significant role in college student's learning.
[The verses below reportedly were engraved on the wall of Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta, and are widely attributed to her. However, according to The New York Times, the verses actually were written by 19-year-old Kent Keith in a motivation booklet for high school counselors published while he was a student at Harvard in 1966. In 2002 Keith was communications director at the Honolulu YMCA.]
People are often unreasonable, illogical,
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Confirming and Disconfirming Communication
Confirming communication-messages that convey valuing
Disconfirming-messges that show lack of regard.
Types of Confirming Messages
: Come here, fatty!
Why can't you clean up after yourself.
Ignoring the other persons attempt to communicate
Using the other person's words as a starting point for a different topic.
Loaded with clichés; Get used to it, that's life.
Have more than one meaning
Contain messages that sees to contradict one another: A: I love you B: I love you, too (Giggles)
Being ignored can be more discomforting than being dismissed or attacked.
It is psychologically healthier to have someone disagree with you than to ignore you.
Communication is the lifeblood of every relationship. When open, clear, sensitive communication takes place, the relationship is nurtures. When communication is guarded, hostile or ineffective, the relationship falters. When the communication flow is largely obstructed, the relationship quickly deteriorates and ultimately dies. Where communication skills are lacking, there is so much lost love-- between spouses, lovers, friends, parents, and children. For satisfying relationships, it is essential to discover methods that will help us at least partially bridge the interpersonal gaps that separate us from others.
Robert Bolton in his book People Skills as reported in Becoming Aware.
to "let go" does not mean to stop caring;
it means I can't do it for someone else.
to "let go" is not to cut myself off;
it's the realization I can't control another.
to "let go" is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
to "let go" is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
to "let go" is not to try to change or blame another;
it's to make the most of myself.
to "let go" is not to care for, but to care about.
to "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.
to "let go" is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
to "let go" is not to be in the middle
arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
to "let go" is not to be protective,
but to permit another to face reality.
to "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.
to "let go" is not to nag, scold or argue
but instead to search out
my own shortcomings and correct them.
to "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes
and cherish myself in it.
to "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
to "let go" is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
to "let go" is to fear less and love more.
- Author Unknown -
How Communication Climates Develop
After a climate is formed it can take on a life of its own and grow into a self-prepetuating spiral: a reciprocating communication pattern in which each person's message reinforces the other's.
Escalatory Conflict Spirals happen when one attack leads to another
De-escalatory Conflict Spirals: Rather than fighting, the parties slowly lessen their dependence on one another, withdraw and become less interested in the relationship.
Defensiveness Causes and Remedies
suggests guarding yourself from an attack.
Probably no communication pollutes and interpersonal climate more often than defensive spirals.
- messages that challenge the image we want to project. Often results in defensiveness.
Types of Defensive Reactions
Attacking the Critic.
:" Where do you get off calling me sloppy? At least I pay my share of the bills on time."
Disguising the counterattack in a barbed, humorous message: "You think I ought to study more? Thanks for taking a break from watching soap operas and eating junk food to run my life."
Distorting Critical Information
is the invention of logical but untrue explanations of behavior that is acceptable to the self. " I would help you out, but I really have to study."
: Uses a strength in one area to cover up a weakness in another: "I may not be around much but I give those kids the best things money can buy!"
: Play helpless: "I'd like to have a relationship with you right now but I just can't. (Won't should replace can't)
Avoiding Dissonant Information
: Steering clear of people who attack a presenting self.
We mentally block out dissonant information
Acknowledging unpleasant information but pretending that you don't care about it.
: We vent aggressive of hostile feelings against people or objects that are seen as less threatening than the people or objects that threatened us originally.
Jack Glibb studied the relationship between communication and interpersonal climates. He identified communication that promotes defensive climates and those that foster supportive climates.
Categories of Defensive and Supporting Behaviors
Judging another's actions as good or bad
You don't know what your talking about
Those jokes are disgusting
You have no discipline
Your sleeping too much
You shouldn't have done that
You did the right thing
You shouldn't feel that way
This is the worst paper I have ever read
Describing another's behavior or actions
I don't understand how you came up
with that idea/
When you tell off-color jokes I get really embarrassed.
I wish you hadn't have done that
You seem more sleepy lately
Your running late
You seem pleased with your decision
You seem to be experiencing lower grades this semester
Certain that only one opinion can be correct: Mine
This is the only idea that makes sense
Only a fool would vote for that person
There's no point in discussing it any further
If you don't see it than you are a dumb as they say
Shuns absolutes and is open to possibilities
One way to look at it is....
It is possible that...
The way I tend do see the situation is...
I feel strongly on this subject, but I would like to hear what you have to say.
(Don't assume everyone sees thing the same way you do)
This is a situation I will control
Well, I like the Honda more than the Ford you want, and it's my money that's going to pay for it.
This is a problem we can solve together
It seems that we have really different ideas about how to spend our vacation. Let's talk through what each of us wants and see whether there's a way for both of us to have a good vacation.
Appearing withdrawn or detached: Whatever
Like what I think really matters
I don't care
It doesn't matter to me
Identifying with another's emotions
It sound like you really feel uncomfortable with your job
I don't blame you for being worried about the situation
My opinion is better than yours
I know a lot more about this than you do?
You just don't have my experience...
Is this the best you could do?
I remember when I used to that..
As long as you live in my house...
We both have opinions lets hear each other out
I want to hear what you have to say about this
Let's tackle this problem together
Manipulative, fake, having hidden agendas
Would you do something for me if I told you it really matters
Remember when I helped you with you math last semester?
If you love me, you will...
Straightforwardness-directness and honesty
I really need your help with this computer glitch.
Would you help me with my English assignment, I'm struggling for a topic.
Why is Communication Difficult?
When two people talk, six possible messages get through
What you mean to say
What you actually say
What the other person hears
What the other person thinks he hears
What the other person says about what you said
What you think the other person said about what you said.
Responding Nondefensively to Criticism
1. Seek More Information
Ask for specifics: What did I do that is unfair?
Guess about Specifics:
So you object to the language I used in writing the paper. Was my language too formal?" "When you say that I'm not doing my share around the house, do you mean that I haven't been helping enough with the cleaning?'
Paraphrase the Speaker's Ideas:
" Your salespeople seem to think its a great inconvenience to help a customer find anything around here." "So you didn't get enough help locating the items you were looking for, it that it?"
Ask What the Critic Wants?
Ask about the Consequences of Your Behavior:
"Why does it bother you when I lose money at poker? You know I never gamble more than I can afford?" "It's not the cash itself. It's that when you loose, you're in a grumpy mood for two or three days, and that's no fun for me. "
Ask What Else is Wrong
: "Is there anything else wrong?"
2. Agree with the Critic
Agree with the Facts:
"You're right, I am angry."
"Now that you mention it, I did get pretty sarcastic."
: "I can see how you might think that."
What you are
speaks so loudly
I cannot hear what you say
Ralph Waldo Emerson