Communication assignment

The icEdge assessment and self-reflection exercise is designed to help you become more aware of and better understand how you communicate with others. In this workbook, you will focus on your individual results (you will have a chance to reflect on your group compassion results in another exercise). Before diving into the workbook, please consider the following:

  1. You will reflect on the four main characteristics of your communication style:
  2. Message – the way you use and interpret subtle (vs. literal) meaning and emotion in communication
  3. Sensory – refers to the way you attend to and communicate through the physical, auditory, and vocal space shared with your counterpart.
  4. Time management – refers to the way you attend to and manage time, i.e. focusing more on clock time or allowing events to unfold naturally.
  5. Relationship – refers to the way you adjust communication to your counterpart’s status and relationship with you.
  • Please plan to spend some quality time responding to the questions in this workbook. The more effort you put into self-reflecting and understanding yourself, the more you will get out of this activity.
  • As you work through your responses, please remember that our cultural environment largely influences our communication styles. For example, research has shown that direct verbal assertiveness, linear logic, straightforwardness, and transparent messages (e.g., “saying what you mean and meaning what you say”) are characteristic of low-context communication styles common in individualistic cultures. Silence, non-verbal cues and behaviors (e.g., reading between the lines), spiral or fuzzy logic, and self-humbling tone are characteristic of high-context communication styles common in collectivistic cultures.

However, it is important to keep in mind the relative nature of the cultural environment when reflecting on and discussing communication styles. There are considerable variations in commutation styles within cultures as well. One could use direct, low-context communication styles when interactive with one group (e.g., coworkers) or discussing one matter (e.g., contract), and prefer indirect, high-context communication styles when interacting with a different group (e.g., family) or discussing a different matter (e.g., personal relationships). For instance, we cannot assume that a German person will automatically communicate using low-context communication styles, while a person from Japan will automatically use high-context communication styles.

The best strategy is to observe each particular person within each particular communication context and figure out what communication styles they might be using based on the characteristics of low-context communication styles (e.g., direct verbal assertiveness, linear logic, straightforwardness, etc.) and high-context communication styles (e.g., non-verbal cues, self-humbling tone, etc.). Then you can adjust your own communication styles to best encode messages that you’d like your communication counterparts to receive and adjust your interpretations of your counterparts’ messages to better understand the meaning they are trying to transmit to you in their messages. 

Message Style

Your message style describes your preferences for

  • Focusing on implicit messages and other’s emotions when receiving or communicating messages (Interpretation)
  • Communicating in indirect ways to avoid hurting someone’s feelings and letting feelings guide your communication and persuasion (Expression).
  • Avoiding confrontation and expressing disagreement (Conflict Management).  

Think carefully about your results – what you scored high on, what you scored low on, and the ones with mid-range.

In what ways do your communication experiences illustrate your pattern of scores?
 
Think of a situation or context when and where you believe you had a similar MESSAGE STYLE with your counterpart(s). Why do you believe you had a similar message style? How did this impact your interactions?
 
Think of a situation or context when and where you believe you had a different MESSAGE STYLE with your counterpart(s). Why do you believe you had a different message style? How did this impact your interactions?
 
Now that you are aware of your MESSAGE STYLE, are there things you could do to enhance your communication with others? What could you do?   
 

Relationship Style

Your relationship style describes your preferences for

  • Dealing with people you have not known for a long time and people who are not in your social networks (Network Reliance)
  • Adjusting what you say and how you say it for your own image or based on your counterparts’ feelings and status (Relational Adjustment)
  • Communicating cautiously and conveying facts sensitively (Openness)  

Think carefully about your results – what you scored high on, what you scored low on, and the ones with mid-range.

In what ways do your communication experiences illustrate your pattern of scores?
 
Think of a situation or context when and where you believe you had a similar RELATIONSHIP STYLE with your counterpart(s). Why do you believe you had a similar message style? How did this impact your interactions?
 
Think of a situation or context when and where you believe you had a different RELATIONSHIP STYLE with your counterpart(s). Why do you believe you had a different message style? How did this impact your interactions?
 
Now that you are aware of your RELATIONSHIP STYLE, are there things you could do to enhance your communication with others? What could you do?   
 

Time Management

Your time management style describes your preferences for

  • Performing tasks simultaneously or sequentially (Task Structure)
  • Being strict versus flexible with schedules and deadlines (Scheduling)
  • Not having any interruptions versus considering interruptions expected in your interactions  (Sharing Time)  

Think carefully about your results – what you scored high on, what you scored low on, and the ones with mid-range.

In what ways do your communication experiences illustrate your pattern of scores?
 
Think of a situation or context when and where you believe you had a similar TIME MANAGEMENT STYLE with your counterpart(s). Why do you believe you had a similar message style? How did this impact your interactions?
 
Think of a situation or context when and where you believe you had a different TIME MANAGEMENT STYLE with your counterpart(s). Why do you believe you had a different message style? How did this impact your interactions?
 
Now that you are aware of your TIME MANAGEMENT STYLE, are there things you could do to enhance your communication with others? What could you do?   
 

Sensory Style

Your sensory style describes your preferences for

  • Facing others, maintaining eye contact, and keeping close personal distance (Body Language)
  • Avoiding silence, interruptions, dramatic expressions, and engaging loudness (Dramatic Expression)
  • Engaging your counterpart in interactions through touch and close personal distance (Physical Contact)  

Think carefully about your results – what you scored high on, what you scored low on, and the ones with mid-range.

In what ways do your communication experiences illustrate your pattern of scores?
 
Think of a situation or context when and where you believe you had a similar SENSORY STYLE with your counterpart(s). Why do you believe you had a similar message style? How did this impact your interactions?
 
Think of a situation or context when and where you believe you had a different SENSORY STYLE with your counterpart(s). Why do you believe you had a different message style? How did this impact your interactions?
 
Now that you are aware of your SENSORY STYLE, are there things you could do to enhance your communication with others? What could you do?   
 

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