Tips for Improving Communication

WHAT ARE SOME POOR VS. HEALTHY COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES?

 

 

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Communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noise

Noise

Sender’s Intentions

Sender’s Actions

Effect on Listener

Sender’s Style of Encoding

Listener’s Style of Decoding

 

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Communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noise

Noise

Sender’s Intentions

Sender’s Actions

Effect on Listener

Sender’s Style of Encoding

Listener’s Style of Decoding

 

Interpersonal Gap

 

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Communication

  • Interpersonal Gap: Contributes to problems when sender’s message is not interpreted the way it was intended

 

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Sending and De-coding Messages

 

  • How effective are couples at sending messages? (Noller, 1987)
  • Gave one spouse a script of a situation:
  • “…wife tells you about a wonderful vacation that she would like to go on…”
  • Told to send a message, but could only say one sentence
  • e.g. “Do you know how much a trip like that costs?”

 

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Sending and De-coding Messages

  • Told to send message with one of three intentions:
    (a) Don’t want to go on trip
    (b) Would love to go on trip
    (c) Not sure, wants to know more

 

  • Other spouse then “decoded” the verbal message
  • Objective observers also “decoded” the verbal message

 

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Sending and De-coding Messages

Results:

 

  • Sending Messages (objective observers):
  • Happy marriages  spouses sent clear messages. (Mostly via voice tone, and facial expressions)
  • Unhappy marriages  women good, men very bad at sending clear messages (very inexpressive)

“Do you know how much a trip like that costs?”

 

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Sending and De-coding Messages

    • “De-coding” Messages (spouses ratings):
    • Happy marriages  Both spouses good at de-coding

 

  • Unhappy marriages  women good, men very bad. (Men tended to interpret most messages as critical)

 

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Poor Communication Strategies

  • John Gottman-what do happy and unhappy couples do?

 

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Poor Communication Strategies

    • Hidden Agendas
    • Disguising your “real” complaint

 

  • Mind-Reading
  • Assuming partner knows your feelings/intentions
  • Assuming you know partner’s feelings/intentions
  • Unhappy couples most likely to misinterpret partner

 

 

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Poor Communication Strategies

  • Cross-Complaining
  • Responding to a complaint with a complaint

 

    • Kitchen-Sinking
    • Dragging in every complaint or transgression, past and present

 

  • Yes-Butting
  • Rejecting every suggestion or solution

 

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Characteristics of Communication Breakdown

  • Partner’s feel hurt, not understood, not validated
  • Conversations end without resolution
  • Conversations are frustrating, emotionally draining

 

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Tips for Improving Communication

    • Be specific, concrete, clear
    • Vague “You’re never there for me”
    • Specific “Last week, I could’ve really used your help”

 

 

  • Stay focused on current issue

 

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Tips for Improving Communication

  • Ownership (I-Statements)
  • Own your own feelings and perceptions
  • Specify what caused your feelings
  • Avoid mind-reading

 

  • Listen to your partner
  • Keys  Validation, Understanding

 

  • Focus on negotiating agreements, solving problems

 

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Tips for Improving Communication

 

  • At all costs, avoid hurtful, rude, disrespectful messages
    Do not say things that you can’t take back!

 

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