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How to Work Well with Anyone – Introduction

December 4th, 2008

Often times we are confronted with the challenge of interacting with people who are somewhat difficult to work with or simply be around.  Most people just don’t put forth any effort toward effectively communicating.  Some people don’t even realize that their ability to communicate is something that can and should be improved.  For this reason, productively doing anything as a team can be very difficult.

This series is not about team building; It will be focusing more directly on how to interact with different types of people by applying basic communication skills as well as specific techniques to specific situations.  Prerequisitely, a basic understanding of how communication works is essential. Generally, communication is broken down into three major processes:

Sending out Information

Until we evolve to the point at which we can transmit our thoughts directly into the minds of our fellow humans, we are able to send information in four basic ways: audible, visual, chemical, and physical.

Audible information is anything that can be heard.  It consists of basic parts such as sound, words, speaking, and language.  Each part is sewn together in a way that should send the desired message to the listener.

Visual communication consists of anything that can be seen, including body language.

Chemicals are emitted by our bodies called pheromones,  which can indicate to others, subconsciously, how we are feeling; nervous, afraid, excited, etc…

Physically, we have the ability to communicate through touch.

Sensing and Processing

In order for us to receive the information that is sent to us we rely on our senses.  Again, until we evolve to the point at which we can all receive messages telepathically from others, we rely on our basic human senses for: sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, balance and acceleration, temperature, kinesthetic sense, and pain.  Whereas these all apply during communication, sight, hearing, touch, and kenesthetic sense are most commonly used.

It is obviously possible to communicate effectively without the use of one or more of the human senses.  It is, however, important to realize that if the person with which you are interacting does indeed lack one of these senses due to a disability or an environmental obstruction, you must send information targeting his or her other senses.

Interpretation and Response

Once we have received information via one of our senses, we are then required to process that information in order to construct a response.  The way we process information can be very different from individual-to-individual.  The mental models that our minds have spent a lifetime creating influence our unique perspective on everything that we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch.  Throughout our life, we have, without our conscious knowledge, developed a collection of scripts or models which are used by our brain to make sense of the world.  A book that covers the mental model concept very well is “Everyday Survival: Why Smart People do Stupid Things.”  I highly recommend it.  We do, however, have the ability to rewrite these scripts that our brains have developed.  With a little knowledge and practice, we can change the way we perceive everything and in-turn, with a cleverly crafted response, influence the perceptions of others.

Throughout this series I will cover some specific scenarios as well as a few general ones.  The purpose will be to illustrate the process by which you can devise, during each social interchange that you encounter, a strategy for effective communication.

In this series I will be covering specific situations and discussing how to communicate with specific types of people who have common personality profiles.  If there are any situations or personality types that you would like me to cover.  Please leave a comment.

Below, I will include links to each article in the series.  Please check back often for updates as I will be contributing frequently.

Introduction
General Communication Skills (Coming Soon)

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