I received a handout this weekend regarding multiple communication styles: expressive, driver, amiable, and analytical. The reason for this handout is irrelevant and the man that handed it out was wacky. However, let me give you a little preface of the story. I had a substitute in a class last week and we were asked to do an exercise regarding our personal goals. He asked one of the women in the class about her response. Unhappy with what she said (keep in mind the exercise was strictly relative to the person answering) he berated her for a good five minutes, forcing her to answer questions that she honestly didn’t have answers to. Apparently, unbeknownst to the rest of the class, he was doing this as an example of the different communication styles. He was a driver (whose primary motivation when speaking is control) while the woman he was speaking with was an amiable communicator (whose goal when communicating is acceptance). He then explained that she and the rest of the class should alter our style of communicating to fit his because he had “the P word”, power. He then proceeded to proudly announce that because he was a driver he “went straight for her jugular”. I never realized talking was so violent.
I’m going to look back on that class as a how not to communicate effectively. I’m not advocating that we should never mold our communication style to fit those around us; in fact I believe just the opposite. However, communicating is a give and take and the goal of communicating is ensuring that the message is understood the way it’s intended. What that man was doing was speaking at us, not to us. He spent a majority of the class telling anyone that spoke that they were wrong (given how most of what was said was opinion-based, we have wrong opinions) and he made it clear that his primary goal was to make us feel uncomfortable. I believe his mission was accomplished. When having a conversation or speaking in general, keep in mind that people are receptive to what’s being said. We should all be so lucky to have everything we said interpreted exactly how we want, but it doesn’t work like that. He assumed people would mold to him, well we all know what that makes him.
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