Event participant Jacob reviewed our most recent workshop on the topic of Communication.
By nature, we humans are social creatures. Thus, the way in which we negotiate our relationships, particularly surrounding disagreement, is critical to our individual development. We often struggle with effective communication and this can affect us in a multitude of ways. Thus, taking a moment of pause and reflect on how we communicate our thoughts, feelings, and (many times) our disagreement with others is needed.
On April 25th, 2019, CandleX hosted a workshop on ‘fighting fair’. The workshop was held at the Moishe House, which provided a relaxed and intimate atmosphere for participants to open up about their desires regarding healthy communication. While the title of the talk may have led one to believe that ‘relationships’ focused exclusively on ‘intimate relationships’, the skills and practices shared by accredited therapist Kindall Tyson covered everything from friendships, collegial relations, to everyday moments in life. The workshop covered the different communicative styles and how to identify them, as well as some methods to communicate assertively but empathetically in order to make oneself heard.
The workshop began with a discussion regarding personal communication styles. Prior to the discussion, participants in the workshop were asked to comment on what type of communication style they felt they often resorted to. After, a short questionnaire was given to see if participants’ self-perception matched their general communicative style, and some participants were surprised by the results (including the writer of this review). The four styles of communication then discussed were passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive styles; assertive communication being considered the healthiest form of communication. Participants were then given scenarios to try-out different styles of communication in different scenarios. This illustrated how the different communicative styles sound in real-life scenarios.
Kindall then delivered some strategies on how to engage in effective communication. Both of these communicative tactics are important for engaging disagreement or conflict in an empathetic but assertive manner. The first was reflection. Reflection is a skill that is often overlooked in disagreement or conflict; this involves the active communication that you have heard and understood what the other person is communicating. Simply put, restating what the other party in a conversation has said. This shows the person to whom you disagree that you understand and care about what they have said.
When delivering one’s own feelings on a subject it is good to use what are called I-Statements. These involve stating how you feel and personalizing your message so that it is less threatening to the other party. An I-Statement is formed by saying I feel (emotion word) when (explanation). This makes your statement less general and the listener will feel more receptive to your thoughts. For instance, instead of saying, “You never really listen to anyone; you’re not listening to me now!” you might instead say, “I feel disrespected when you don’t listen to what it is I have to say.” By adopting this style of voicing your opinion you open up a conflicting party to negotiation in a way that a generalized statement might not have done.
The workshop involved both asserting yourself into a conversation, and being open to what the other party has to say. Knowing which communication style you are using and being conscious of what others are saying and feeling is critical to being an effective and assertive communicator, a role we will need to use in almost every relationship we will have in our lives.
Review by Jacob
Checked by Lucy
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