One of the critical principles of communication is: Style Precedes Content.
From the time we are born, we try to satisfy our wants, needs, and desires. We do this largely through relationships – and mainly by communicating. The basic purpose of communication is to get something we want from others: comfort; companionship; food; sex; money; protection; affection; agreement; approval; assistance; sympathy; share something; express ourselves; or a chance to contribute and give to someone.
Whether we get what we want depends on:
- 1. What we want (our needs, desires, and expectations).
2. Our partners’ capacity to give it to us.
3. How we ask for it (directly, clearly, assertively or indirectly and unpleasantly).
4. What we provide our partners that makes them receptive to our requests.
There is a difference between the content (what we say), context (where we say it), and the style (the way we say it). Sometimes just a change in style alone will turn a relationship around. If our style is perceived as “negative”, it may be hard to discuss, negotiate, or resolve anything. Most relationships work best when there is reciprocity.
© 2012, Oren Pardes. All rights reserved.