Understanding your Communication Patterns and Preferences
Have you ever wondered why you communicate the way you do? Maybe you’re a very vocal, or very quiet communicator. I prefer to communicate out loud, with others, either verbally or in written form, as a way to organize and process my thoughts. There are so many other preferences and patterns we all have when it comes to communication, that it’s no wonder it’s so difficult to communicate well even with those closest to us. That’s why it’s important to understand our patterns and preferences to maximize our communication efforts.
Today on the podcast, we’re going to examine where our communication preferences and patterns have come from, how those origins impact the way we communicate today, and what our team needs to know about us to communicate most effectively.
We believe there are four primary influences that have shaped an individual’s communication patterns and preferences: Family, Culture, Geography, and Generation. Brian explains them this way:
Your family of origin is pretty straight forward. The second one is, culture. We think culture is, of course, ethnicity. We also think that culture is class as in privilege vs poverty. Also, your environment. Where did you grow up? Did you grow up in a small town? Did you grow up in a suburb? Did you grow up in an urban center? And… we ask [about] history. When did you grow up? [what generation, 60’s, 90’s, etc]. I think that it’s important to understand that time and technology also influences a person’s communication pattern and preferences.Brian Schubring
After explaining those in greater depth, we’ll foster a discussion about how each member of our team sees those as having impacted the way they communicate today.
This conversation will focus on you, the individual. But when we conduct a team engagement series about communication, we cover how your individual preferences impact the team, and then how your team helps shape the norms and culture of your entire organization.
What you’re about to hear is a slightly edited teaching session that Carrie Jones and I led with our team as a way to improve our communication skills, and also refine our teaching of this material in a virtual format. At one point we do some breakout rooms via zoom, which is a really helpful tool for conducting smaller, more intimate discussion groups.
Carrie is one of our consultants and our Director of operations and finances, and after we help our team walk through those four primary communication influences, we finish the time by having each team member share what the rest of the team needs to know about their prefered communication style. The prompt we used, and what we encourage you to ask your team, is this:
“My team needs to know [this], about the way I communicate.”
For example, I said that my team needs to know that I process thoughts and ideas out loud, and if I say something that seems confusing or dumb, ask me about it. I could be way early in my communication process on that topic and by me talking or typing out loud with you, it’s a way to make sense of things. I’m inviting you to my feedback circle. So ask questions, and don’t be afraid to push back on what it is that I’m saying.
It’s been a few weeks since we recorded this, and I’ve already refereed to the document we created about how each team member answered that prompt, multiple times. It is a good reminder to better understand the message someone is trying to communicate, not just the words.
About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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