One thing that is important in any type of communication is what has been called “person-centered messages” (Burleson & Caplan, 1997). Before speaking, think “how is the other person going to hear this?” Notice I did not say, “how would I hear this if I were in their shoes?” There is a subtle but important difference. Person-centered messages involve a skill of knowing how other people will react to what you say or do. It’s a skill that some people are probably better at than others, but it’s something that all of us can work on. Obviously, it is also something that improves as you get to know people. Whether you are in an organization, a family, or any other context, thinking in terms of person-center messages makes you a better communicator.
Burleson, B. R., & Caplan, S. E. (1997). Cognitive complexity. In J. C. McCroskey, J. A. Daly, & M. M. Martin (Eds.), Communication and personality: Trait perspectives. (pp. 230-286. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
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