Sunday, February 05, 2012

Four Ear Dimensions of Communication…PART III

3. How to focus on “Self Disclosure” dimension?

Speak in the first person
A discussion partner seems more believable, when he expresses his beliefs and emotions. It is particularly import in conflict situations, to admit one’s feelings and discuss them openly.

Personal statements can be recognised since
Ø      They are in the first person (“I’m annoyed every time that you’re late.” “I don’t dare consult the director about this matter.”)
Ø      Formulations in the second or third person are omitted. (“You can never be on time!”)
Ø      One leaves out “one” formulations. (“One cannot talk to the director about such a matter!”) At work the focus is on concrete decisions and individuals, not general pearls of wisdom
Ø      Observations and wishes are expressed directly and in a timely manner (not: “I could imagine you taking over this task...”, but: “I want you to take over this task”).

State one’s own opinion
Every supervisor has his own opinion; some, however, believe they should not state it (e.g. at evaluations) or that they have to align themselves with the authorities (their supervisors or experts). Supervisors are often recommended that they should withhold their opinion.

However, it helps their credibility and the teamwork, when the supervisor
Ø      Has the courage not to shy away from unpleasant messages and personal statements;
Ø      Develops a sense for when his opinion is needed or wanted, and when not;
Ø      Doesn’t present his opinion as scientific truth, but lets people recognise the subjectivity (“In my opinion …”, “My experience tells me …”)

Clarify intentions and goals
Meetings can be shorter and more concentrated when the chair states his intentions and goals clearly.

For this he should
Ø      State his personal ideas and goals
Ø      Pay attention to the ambiguity of goals; they can have human, technical, financial and organisational aspects
Ø      Discuss conflicting goals (between people or different aspects) openly

4. How to focus on “Appeal” dimension?

Peruse and be assertive
The persuasiveness of an argument is increased when it connects with the listener’s ideas, frame of reference and motives.

The following approach brings someone to the required consequences:
Ø      Set goals
Ø      Take expectations and experience of staff into account
Ø      Analyse approaches
Ø      Take positive and negative consequences into account
Ø      Determine concrete measures

Ask questions
Questions mark the “royal path” through a discussion. Who asks questions, forces his listener to answer. So that someone cannot avoid answering, you should not ask several questions at the same time.
One can distinguish between closed, open, direct and indirect questions:
Ø      Closed questions can only be answered with “yes, “no” or with facts (“Have you finished the experiment?”)
Ø      Open questions allow the person questioned to give his view (“How far are you with the experiment?”)
Ø      Direct questions explore what the questioner wants to know (“What do you think about Smith’s suggestion?”)
Ø      Indirect questions follow a particular strategy (leading or ambiguous questions) (“Do you not think Smith’s suggestion is too expensive?”)

Be fair
The other person must be able to recognise what you intend and have a chance to propose an alternative.

The following behaviours differ from manipulative techniques in that they are open and transparent:
Ø      Define and formulate issues: Where are we? What’s it about?
Ø      Propose the method for resolving the issue: a scheme for analysing the problem, meeting minutes, facilitation, set a time limit etc.
Ø      Make suggestions and ask others to also.
Ø      Make statements concrete: request, clarify, refer to the topic
Ø      Ask for and give information
Ø      Summarise statements occasionally, and draw conclusions
Ø      Bring about a decision and make it binding.

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