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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Employment Tips

Improving Your Communication Skills
By:Pallab Kakoty


If confrontation or negotiation leaves you tongue-tied, this course is for you. Whether you need to ask your boss for a raise, negotiate the price of a car, or set new boundaries with friends and family, we'll teach you how to communicate clearly, powerfully, and more effectively. Perfect for employees, spouses, teens, and anyone who needs to learn to say what they mean to get what they want!


Identify the root issues of communication challenges Explain common communication challenges Introduce students to tools that will help them communicate more clearly and powerfully Show students how to look for win/win situations

Discomforts of Communication

Does the thought of asking your boss for a raise or playing hardball with a car salesman leave your palms sweaty? Or perhaps you have trouble saying "no" when people ask you to take on tasks, even when you'd prefer not to do them. Then again, maybe you're the type that blows up when you feel pressured, alienating those around you?

If any of these situations sounds familiar, you're not alone. Life is full of situations that require negotiation, confrontation, and communication. Yet these three critical skills are seldom addressed formally. In this course, that's just what we're going to do.

In this first lesson, we'll cover some of the common communication challenges that people face, as well as how to identify which challenges you need to address. Next, we'll show you how to get beyond the fear and present yourself clearly and powerfully. By changing a few bad habits and substituting some new skills, you'll soon be on your way to saying exactly what you mean, which can eliminate frustration and lead to a greater level of success and satisfaction in your life.

Common Challenges

Let's face it. Very few people actually like confrontation. In a perfect world, we'd all act in a way that served the best interests of ourselves and others equally. Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world, and the needs of others may be in direct conflict with our own needs. In these cases, we must speak up.

Generally, when faced with a confrontation, we can adopt one of four behaviors:

Avoid. In this case, we pretend that the situation does not exist. We do nothing except try to stay as far as possible from the situation. This behavior often leads to a feeling of loss of control and can lead to anxiety as we find ourselves hiding. Pacify. When we're prone to pacify, we often deny our own needs to placate others. We give in too easily or say, "yes," so that we do not risk negative reactions from others. This behavior often leads to feelings of resentment or frustration. We might feel that others should somehow know that we feel as we do, even if we never tell them that.

Attack. The response in the case of someone prone to attack is often aggressive and loud. We yell, scream, and overpower to get our way. No one is going to take advantage of us! Even the smallest request or statement can lead to an explosion. The ironic thing about people prone to the "attack" response is that they usually forget about their interaction long before those around them do. Usually, this behavior leads to a loss of credibility and a breakdown in communication from others who simply don't want to risk the negative interaction.

Negotiate. Negotiators look at a situation as an opportunity for a win/win outcome. They evaluate the request or circumstance, examine their own needs, and identify outcomes that can work for all involved. Negotiators are often well liked and fair. They are usually respected and have a positive outlook.

Within these four categories are different behavior types. For instance, Avoiding may actually modify their day-to-day existence in a negative way, adopting behavior patterns such as screening telephone calls or avoiding social gatherings because of their inability to confront a particular person or situation. Pacifiers may take on more responsibility than they can possibly handle in order to placate others. They may also have a tendency to complain or act out in a passive-aggressive way, betraying those who have asked something of them. Attackers may feel guilty about their behavior after the fact, or they may forget about it altogether.

Pallab Kakoty

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