We know that no two persons are alike.
Not just in how they look, but also in how they behave and think. Studies have shown that even twins with the same DNA can turn out as different as day and night. How then do we communicate effectively with people so that we don’t end up in conflict all the time?
Some people seem to have the natural ability to do so, but for most of us, we need to learn communication techniques to ensure we bring the best out of ourselves and out of others we live, work, and play with.
One such technique is the idea of “reframing”. Do a quick search online, and you will be brought to pages that talk about Cognitive Reframing, Reframing as a Persuasion Tool, Reframing to boost creativity, and even Reframing to improving our self-awareness.
In addition, Harvard Business Review recently wrote a wonderful article on compromising in order to succeed in an organisation, which adds nice depth and perspective to this blog.
Let me combine both concepts of reframing and compromising, and discuss this in relation to basic communication. If we meet someone who seems:
- Critical or cynical due to their tendency to ask “Why?” and 100 other questions, reframe by understanding that the other person is just focused on getting facts and data before they are able to proceed. Once we understand this, they will seem more objective and not as though they are personally attacking you. In addition, what you can do is to ensure you have the facts and data before engaging them.
- Resistant to change or insistent about sticking to a certain tried and tested process or method, reframe by understanding that they are generally more conservative than you are and not that they are trying to burst your bubble or poke holes in your strategy. In addition, what you can do is to ensure that you have an implementation plan before discussing the big picture with them.
- Sensitive, takes things personally or is trying too hard to relate to you, reframe by understanding that the other person prefers to first establish a relationship with you before dealing with work or tasks. In addition, what you can do is to smile, be friendly, and occasionally ask them how they are.
- Keen on changing or improving everything you suggest and focused on idea generation rather than implementation, reframe by understanding their need to explore new ideas, not that they think yours aren’t good enough. In addition, what you can do is to allow a time for idea generation in your meeting agenda so that ideas can be shared.
- Quiet or not willing to socialise, reframe by understanding their need to have their own time and space. In addition, what you can do is to approach them in a quiet way and on your own.
- Talkative or not willing to listen, reframe by understanding their need to process their thoughts out loud. In addition, what you can do is to allow them to speak their mind but to also remind them that others will need to speak as well.
- To have no opinion or not willing to voice them out, reframe by understanding their need to work in a peaceful, amiable environment. In addition, what you can do is to seek them out in a smaller group or better still, one-to-one.
- To always have an opinion, reframe by understanding that these are people who speak their minds and have no hidden agendas. In addition, what you can do is to create a safe environment for these opinions to be voiced.
- Inflexible or stubborn, reframe by understanding that these are people who can be flexible but they require a firm, focused direction to work with. In addition, what you can do is to provide a direction or goals for them to focus on.
- Wishy-washy or having no “backbone”, reframe by understanding that these are people who can be the easiest to work with and will often support you. In addition, what you can do is to encourage them to still take a stand no matter how flexible they are.
There are all sorts of people in this world, and we are all one-of-a-kind. That’s a good thing! Keep this in mind and I am sure it will be much easier to enjoy each day. Perhaps even bring everyone a step closer towards world peace.