Have you encountered difficult communication in your life when you strain to explain your statements and the people listening to you aren't receptive?
So....what makes communication difficult? Like the tip of an iceberg, we tend to see the obvious problems of dysfunctional communication patterns, but there are many underlying personality traits that contribute to critical transactions between people. Some of these unconscious personality traits include distorted perceptions, indifference, judgment, bias, rigid thinking patterns, imposition of values, lack of empathy and emotional intelligence, and more.
If a person isn't aware during communication, these negative underlying traits that are tied to the ego can cause unpleasant effects in communication. That's why I'd rather call it communicating with a difficult person than just calling it difficult communication.
Today I want to talk about how we can deal with such communication...
I've been working in the human services field for a decade and have met people from all walks of life. When I approach them about their poor communication, I witness them disguise their dysfunctional interaction patterns as "being direct and straightforward." Some defend their poor communication skills with their prejudices and egos, while others mask their bad communication as "concerns or humor." Frankly, in my opinion, these behaviors and excuses only reflect their lack of self-reflection skills.
Understanding The Power of Straightforward Communications
Direct or straightforward communication works well when it's helpful, tactful, and deliberate. It should be expressed in a way that doesn't cause psychological and emotional harm to the listener. It's good to practice this method of communication to help others.
This method is also good for self-assertion and defense when the other party approaches you with a rude or harmful intention.
During straightforward communication, the quality of the words has to be raised while being mindful of the tone of voice and selection of words.
Communications In A Work Environment
Some authority figures often assume that they can say just about anything to their subordinates and then easily avoid the "after-effects." Their position and social status may boost their ego and make them less concerned about practicing effective communication.
There are also rhetorical and insubstantial leaders who say they like to hear your feedback and opinions, but they take information in a biased way. They may use your words against you and judge you. In the end, your feedback "lies buried in their backyard" and you become a potential target for them to aim at.
I'd say it's always good to be mindful of how we speak and who we speak to when it comes to expressing thoughts and raising concerns in the workplace. Also, it's important to practice good communication skills in any situation, whether we're superiors or subordinates.
So what to say when we are trapped in communication with a difficult (less conscious) person?
Here are 11 suggestions for verbal self-defense.
I've tried them and they've worked well in communicating with difficult people.
1. "I understand what you're getting at... But I need to tell you that I don't really like the way you're talking to me...........because......."
2. "I understand what you're getting at, but I don't like being asked too many personal questions...........because that doesn't come across...as being polite."
3. "Have you thought about reflecting on the way you think, speak and act?"
4. "Are you aware of how your speech and actions affect others?"
5. "The way you speak makes me feel... next time you can verbalize your thoughts to me more consciously........."
6. "Why do you say that.........? What makes you say that......? How did you come to those conclusions? So, are you saying that......?"
7. "I understand what you mean, but I'm afraid that I've to disagree with you because......"
8. Don't engage in small talk, lame jokes, or off-topic topics. This is important to conserve your energy. If you engage in such conversations, it'll lead to more rambling.
9. You can incorporate your own methods and start practicing them. Practicing helps us to prepare well for dealing with difficult communications.
10. Be aware of your own thoughts, feelings and language when you communicate.
11. Some bad communicators, knowing less about something, will argue about it all the more rigidly. They work hard to prove to you that they're 'all the way right.' Never exhaust yourself by dragging long communication with difficult people. To keep your peace, learn to speak laconically at times.
There are intelligent people who'd improve and restructure their bad communication patterns after hearing your point of view and doing some deep thinking.
On the other hand, there are those who see their ego hurt and want to argue aggressively with their half-knowledge and prejudices.
Some may see you as their complete adversary after you correct their ineffective communication methods. To put it simply, be prepared to encounter people with high egos and low emotional intelligence when dealing with toxic leaders and rude peers. It's always good to study a situation and apply smart approaches that will help you deal with difficult communications.
Always seek support from people who empathize and can truly help you cope. Be vigilant about who you talk to about your needs and problems. Deal with difficult communications in a smart manner without jeopardizing your mental and emotional well-being.
Thank you for reading my insights.