Wednesday, 17 December 2014

No. 5 myth of effective communication

Old myth: "The more you know about other people's preferences and types, the better you'll be able to communicate with them."

New principle: "Assessments that measure style and type explain part of the picture, but can distract from seeing the powerful stories that give structure to our patterns."

If you think about the different relationships and situations you are engaged with, would you say that you are always the same or behave the same way? Me neither. We are different in different context and relationships: a friend could tell a different story of us than our significant other or a colleague would. Our behavior and the sense of who we are are shaped by the patterns of communication we are engaged with, which again shape who we are becoming.

We live in communication. We are made in communication.

Personality assessments can be useful to promote understanding that we are different although the basis of these tests can be questioned. The danger with personality or other type measuring tests is that we start categorizing people rather than being curious of the story beyond the behavior: what stories have colored him or her? 

Understanding the relational and contextual quality of our emerging selves captures more than any of the personality assessments would. 

The myths and principles are citations from Sostrin, J. (2013) Re-Making Communication at Work. 

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