Assume Responsibility For Your Communication Style

Engaged listeners understand the communication you share!

Teaching the adult learning cycle in Uyghur, Shanshan, Xinjiang, China ~ everystockphoto.com ~ Photographer: P. Morgan
Teaching the adult learning cycle in Uyghur, Shanshan, Xinjiang, China ~ everystockphoto.com ~ Photographer: P. Morgan

Why is it important to learn to adjust your style of communication?

Improve Your Communication Skills

If you want to be truly excellent at communication, one of the best ways to judge your level of excellence is by how well you are understood. If you frequently have misunderstandings with people, and it seems people just can’t comprehend what you are saying, the only way to remedy the situation is to assume responsibility for it and try to think of ways to present your information that will resonate with your audience. To do this, you must be willing to be flexible and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. When you are able to view a situation with empathy, from the point of view of another, it will help you to communicate more clearly because you will be able to see what aspects of your communication will be most important to your audience.

While you may feel that you are presenting information to others to be friendly, affectionate, helpful or persuasive, yet they respond with resentment, boredom or ridicule, clearly your presentation is not fulfilling the meaning of your communication. If your audience’s definition of your meaning is entirely different from your own, something is missing between your presentation and their reception, and you are the only one who can change that. You will not be able to change your audience’s perception, so you must simply assume responsibility for adjusting your presentation.

What are some situations in which adjusting your style would be helpful?

In every realm of communication, from personal interaction to making business presentations, understanding and empathizing with those receiving your message is of primary importance. For example, you may feel that when dealing with your family members, you are showing your love and affection by buying gifts and giving compliments, and those are good things. However, if these words and actions don’t resonate with your family, your efforts will be lost. Rather than blaming your family members for their lack of appreciation and responsiveness, it’s important to be sensitive to their responses in order to determine how you could better express your feelings. This is assuming responsibility for your communication style.

Another example might be at work. Perhaps you want to help your co-workers or employees understand how to use a new piece of equipment or use a new procedure, so you prepare a scholarly presentation, yet when you attempt to share it, you are met with yawns and looks of boredom, and the information you present seems to go in-one-ear-and-out-the-other. You could decide that your co-workers or employees just aren’t smart enough to understand what you were saying; however, that wouldn’t be very productive. If you can turn it around and figure out how to connect with them, you will be assuming responsibility for your communication style.

What if being more direct would help?

To determine what would elicit positive responses from your family members and your employees and/or co-workers, you must combine observation with communication. Observe their interactions with each other and with you and try to empathize with their positive responses. Chances are, you will see more positive, spontaneous responses in cases of direct, sincere interactions. Whenever you separate yourself from your intended message with props (gifts and cliches) and excessive pontification (assuming an inappropriately scholarly air) you separate yourself from your intended audience. By striving to see the situation as your intended audience sees it, you can achieve more successful communication.

How can I assume responsibility for my communication every time?

  1. Adjust your goal. Rather than having your goal be to say your piece, transform it into engaging your listeners. Engaged listeners generally understand the communication that is being shared.
  2. Throw “blame” out the window. Assume 100% responsibility for the success of your communication.
  3. Be flexible and sensitive. Understand that, while you may be attempting to convey one meaning, your audience may be perceiving another. Take your time and be sensitive to their perceptions. Adjust your presentation of information accordingly to successfully blend your communication style with theirs.

Copyright:SuzanneBennett:January 15, 2012

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Comments 4 comments

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

This was all excellent advice. For a time I did classroom training sessions for corporate employees. Almost always, there were multiple trainers presenting identical material to several classes at the same time. One trainer/instructor always seemed to have a difficult time and usually got poor feedback at the end, and her students were often complaining and expressing confusion over the material during breaks. Clearly, her communication style was at fault, yet she always seemed to find other excuses. She really could have benefited from the excellent advice you have presented here.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 4 years ago from Tucson, Az

I am working on some scripts for work and this helped me a lot! Thank you!


mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

This are some great tips! Thanks for communicating these!


Virtual Treasures profile image

Virtual Treasures 4 years ago from Michigan

Great information! Rated up and useful. Thank you for sharing!

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