Tuesday, March 17, 2015

5 Types of Communication Styles

5 Types of Communication Styles If there is one thing a hospice Chaplain attempts to do, it is to communicate. There have been times when I either miscommunicated or just did not communicate at all. Those are frustrating experiences. Can you relate? From time to time I review notes that I gathered in CPE to remind myself of the type of communicator I want to be. Perhaps some of these thoughts will inform your chaplaincy. Type of Communicator Blamer: Shifts focus to another; tends to say “Why do you always…? Compliant: Passive/aggressive behavior is common; Assumes no responsibility in the conversation; tends to say, "Whatever you want..." Distractor: Destroys focus of the conversation; Can ask something like “What time is it?” ½ Process: Assumes the power position by saying: “I want, I think, I feel” Effective Communicator: Maintains context, protects self and others; He/she may say “I want, think, feel”, but will also say: “What do you want, think, or feel?" The Communicator has learned the art of negotiation. Key points of understanding: * “You” messages are always blaming messages. “Why” messages are always blaming messages. * The use of “what” and “how” will allow the other person to explain without having to justify. * “What” and “how” deal with structure. Structure explains rather than justifies. The only time that “why” is justified is when it is used as a means to discover “for what purpose?” The better way to express that type of request is simply to say, “What purpose does that serve?” or “I don’t understand.” * A good rule of thumb: “Why” always focuses on justification. “What” and “how” focus on structure. When a Chaplain is having a serious conversation it is incredibly important that he/she conveys the right message. A conversation of this type has three component parts: opposing opinions, strong emotions, and high stakes. Consider this scenario: A family is undecided if their loved one should be buried or cremated. The loved one supposedly told one of the family that he preferred cremation. Not every member of the family heard that. It was not written down anywhere and not signed by the loved one. Several of the family members are vocally opposed to cremation. The Chaplain is now involved in the decision making process. Would you consider this conversation to be serious? In your Chaplain meeting, discuss how you would handle such a situation. Bless you hospice Chaplain Colleagues. Yours is a sacred work. Do your utmost to serve effectively. Your comments are welcome. Send them to rbehers@cshospice.org

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