Maybe They’re Not Crazy: Maybe It Is YOU!

Published on February 1, 2012 by Annetta Wilson

Not quite the headline you expected in an article about communication, is it? Okay, it's a little misleading. Sometimes, though, when we're in a conversation that's going in circles and getting nowhere, it can feel like we're going crazy. Rest assured that you're not losing your mind (unless, of course, you've been officially diagnosed). It's possible that you simply don't recognize the other person's communication style or know how to adapt to it.

You have a communication style, too. Think about your best friend, significant other or someone else in your life that you can talk to for hours and be completely in sync. That's not magic, it's a style match. There are some 'magical' beings out there that almost everyone can relate to. Then there are the ones you want to run from when you see them coming. That's right: mismatched styles.

Before you pull out your label-maker, understand that there are no 'right' or 'wrong' styles. It's simply a matter of what works in a given situation and what doesn't. In what situation does your particular communication style fit perfectly? Are you the 'schmoozer' who makes everyone feel at ease, even when it's not YOUR party? Or are you the 'bottom line' person who sees the big picture and puts everything in perspective? Maybe you're the 'magical' one everyone seeks out for sage advice and is usually the voice of reason. Then again, you could be the 'detail' person who always makes sure that the data checks out, nothing is left to chance and who is happy to leave that 'people' stuff to someone else. All are necessary. All are different. And all can be annoying if not put in the right role at the right time or the right setting!

Tip: The next time you're tempted to criticize or get upset with someone because they don't communicate the way you do, ASK them how they prefer to receive information from you.

Detailed information in written form may make some people ecstatic, while others are perfectly fine with a quick verbal overview and just the highlights. Someone else may need to socialize a bit before they can focus and get down to business. Allow them that two to three minute window. Remember to let them know how you want to be communicated with, too. The point is, if you don't ASK, you don't GET. If you don't TELL them, everyone's confused. Clarity beats 'crazy' any day! Asking a simple question like, "What's the best way to communicate with you?" can eliminate a mountain of aggravation and create untold opportunities to learn something new.

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