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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Communication Styles

In the last few posts we looked at different communication styles, in this post we will summarize these and end off with Changing your Communication: Step 3 of Anger and Conflict Management. Here are some exercises to do in order to end of with communication:
In the following exercise, state whether the response given in each situation is assertive, aggressive, passive or manipulative.

1. You are part of a group that deals with helping to better the community that you live in. This group has meetings once a month. The date is being set for the next meeting. You really want to attend, but you can’t make it on the proposed date. Everyone else has accepted this date. When the chairperson of the group says; “Is that OK for everyone, then?”

You say; “Well alright, as it seems to be convenient for everyone else.”

2. Jack is having trouble getting started on an assignment that he has to do for school. He doesn’t really know where to begin because he has skipped many classes lately. He just felt that school was boring and decided not to go.

He says to Janet; “I’m useless at doing assignments, I have no idea where to begin, I wish I didn’t miss so many classes but I have been having so many problems at home. My dad beats me up a lot and will do it again if I fail. Won’t you please do the assignment for me?”

3. Rajesh works in the computer field. Part of his job is to go out and install computers for people. He has taken very long with installing a computer. His manager asks him what went wrong when he was installing the computer.

He says; “You wasted a lot of my time! You never even told me he didn’t have the area ready, and the people who work there don’t have any idea what they are doing, they should all be fired, they are just useless!”

4. Somebody in your neighbourhood asks you for a lift because she works in the same area that you do. You don’t mind giving her a lift but you don’t have enough time in the morning to go an extra 10 minutes to pick her up from her house.

You say; “I don’t mind giving you a lift, but you would have to find your own way to my house.”

5. Fatima is on an important call with her sister when her husband interrupts and asks her something.

She says; “Can’t you see I’m busy, my sister really needs to talk right now! I will answer you later, just wait OK! I can’t even have a conversation in peace!”

6. Naledi works at a clothing store. A colleague of hers hears her dealing with an awkward customer. Afterwards they praise the way she handled it.

She says; “It was nothing really, I only really came in at the end.”

7. Ahmed is a trainer who trains people to run HIV/AIDS workshops. He sat in on a workshop presented by one of the people that he trained. He felt that it was highly successful.

He says; “I think that was a really good presentation. I particularly liked the way that you made the material come alive.”

8. A salesman has been pushing hard for you to buy a piece of equipment. You are not sure; besides, you had thought of looking at several makes before deciding.

You say; “Well, I suppose it’s more or less what I’m looking for. I was going to look at other makes, but perhaps this will be OK.

9. A friend of yours has put your name down to help out at a community social function without asking you.
You say; “Look, why didn’t you ask me first, instead of dropping me in it?”

10. Samantha is really busy with her school homework. Her younger sister Jill comes to her and asks for help.

She says; “No, I can’t help you, ask somebody else! What the hell is wrong with you, cant you see how busy I am? You just have to be a pest, don’t you?”


Answers: (1. passive; 2. manipulative; 3. aggressive; 4. assertive; 5. aggressive; 6. passive; 7. assertive; 8. passive; 9. assertive; 10. aggressive).
Communication Self-Assessment:
Review the 4 different ways of communicating and evaluate where you fit in. Think about what description best describes your way of communicating in a conflict situation.

Remember that you can have a mixed way of communicating as well. Look out for this. You may be a “mixed communicator”.

  • Write down your personal way of communicating in a conflict situation:
  • How far away are you from assertive communication?
  • Make a list of the things you would need to do/ the changes you would have to make in order to become an assertive communicator.
Changing your communication will be a difficult process but it is not impossible. If it is important to you to have better relationships and to deal with anger and conflict better then you will try very hard to make the change and YOU WILL SUCCEED! Good Luck with all your efforts.


In the next post we will look at the 4th and final step towards dealing with anger and conflict: Negotiation

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