Recently I read an article on communication tiled “Four Communication Barriers and How to Spot Them”. At times we all struggle with communication and how do we “get better” at it.
This article helped me, so I thought I would pass it on. Who doesn’t need a little help communicating better?
“Four Communication Barriers and How to Spot Them”
Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
Silence is not the cause of poor communication-the fear of pain is. It’s human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain. The truth is people actually avoid pain first, then seek pleasure. And under painful circumstances communication goes away and silence can set in.
There are four styles of miscommunication that result when a person feels threatened. Placating, Blaming, Computing and Distracting. By understanding these styles and recognizing when they occur you can ease your tension (and the one you are communication with) and get to the root of the cause before your communication breaks down
The Placater is a “yes” person. This person is eager to please and apologetic. You’ll frequently hear placaters say things like: “Whatever you want!” or “Don’t worry about me, it’s ok.” They want to keep the peace at any price, including feeling worthless.
Studies show that placaters have difficulties expressing anger and hold back so many feelings in they often become depressed. As a placater you should remind yourself that it is ok to disagree! If the person you are talking to is a placate try to recognize their actions so you can help them express their feeling when they are holding back,
The Blamer is a fault finder who criticizes relentlessly and speaks in generalizations. You’ll often hear blamers saying things such as “You never do anything right!” or “You’re just like your mother/father.” Deep inside, blamers usually feel unworthy or unlovable and can get angry at the anticipation that they won’t get what they want. Blamers tend to find that the best defense is a good defense.
If you (or the one you are talking to) are a blamer try to recognize when you feel the need to be defensive. You likely fear dealing with expression or pain – try to let this go. Once you recognize these behaviors, learn to speak on your behalf, without indicting others in the process.
The Computer is a reasonable, calm and collected person. This person usually never admits mistakes ad expect people to conform and perform. You’ll often hear the computer saying: “Upset? I’m not upset. Why do you think I am upset?” Computers fear emotion and prefer facts and stats.
If you or the person you are talking to often find yourself computing, then it’s time to open up the communication doors and express your real feelings. Computers need someone to ask them how they feel and out certain things. If you recognize this trait in yourself or the person you are talking to, having an intentional conversation with them may help.
The Distracter resorts to irrelevancies under stress and avoids direct eye contact and direct answers. Distracters are also quick to change the subject. You’ll often hear them saying something along the lines of: “What problem? Let’s go shopping.” Distracters fear fighting and confrontation can bring this on.
The solution? Distracters need to know they are safe, not helpless. Problems can be solved and conflicts can be resolved. Encourage yourself (or person talking to) to confront problems head-on with productive conversation, rather than burying them.
The next time you find yourself communication with a placating, blaming, computer or distracter, remember that this is likely the result of feeling stressed or hurt about something. And vice versa. If you find you or the person you are talking has resulted to one of these methods, ease your or their tension by being sensitive and trying to get to the root of the issue.
By opening up the communication walls before they completely close, you will be well on your way to a solid and productive conversation.