How Does Context And Communication Style Differ Amoung Various Countries Relationships and Communication: Sender Vs Receiver

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Relationships and Communication: Sender Vs Receiver

In Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Outliers, the author writes:

“Western communication has what linguists call a “transmitter orientation” – that is, it is considered the responsibility of the speaker to communicate ideas clearly and unambiguously… But Korea, like many Asian countries, is receiver oriented. It is up to the listener to make sense of what is being said.” p. 216

As far as the 6 innate Perceptual Styles go, there’s a block I’ve seen over and over again regarding communication between the Activity and Flow Styles, and I believe it can be explained by this concept.

Activity is clearly transmitter oriented, as people with this Style use plenty of contextual information to ensure that the receiver understands what’s being communicated. People with the Flow Style, on the other hand, use a subtle and nuanced combination of words that requires the listener to work to fully understand what is being conveyed.

Unfortunately, this difference in orientation is a set-up for conflict no matter which direction the communication is moving in.

When Activity is talking to Flow, Flow quickly interprets the meaning of the message and can become bored and/or offended by what they perceive as Activity’s excessive verbiage.

When Flow is talking to Activity, Activity misses much of the meaning that Flow intends because Flow’s nuanced choice of words is lost on Activity (who is waiting for context). Activity often becomes irritated by what they perceive as partial communication by Flow.

In reflecting on the concept of communication orientation in relation to Perceptual Styles, I realized that there is a clear delineation among all six of the Perceptual Styles.

Three of the six-Activity, Vision, and Goals-are transmitter oriented, while the other three-Methods, Adjustments, and Flow-are receiver oriented. Within each group of three, each Perceptual Style uses the orientation a little differently and with different intent, but the orientation is the same.

Here’s how it breaks down by the Perceptual Style, based on the communication characteristics unique to that Style.

The Transmitter Orientations:

• Activity makes sure to provide ample context when speaking and gives multiple examples through anecdotes that illustrate their point. This is to make sure that there is a solid connection and that ‘you are with me.’

• Vision uses persuasive and inspiring language to paint a picture of what they want you to understand. This is to make sure that you are enthusiastic, enrolled and that ‘you buy into my perspective’.

• Goals issues directives and commands and requires feedback in order to ensure that the listener clearly understands. This is to make sure that there is no ambiguity and that ‘you understand what I want you to do.’

The Receiver Orientations:

• Methods delivers information in a matter-of-fact manner that requires the listener to put the data together themselves. This is because the correct conclusion is obvious to this Style and ‘you should draw the same conclusion I do’.

• Adjustments provides detailed, thorough, and precise information that displays the elegance of the topic but requires the listener to provide a context for its relevance. This is because ‘you should be intrigued by the sophistication and complexity of what I am sharing.’

• Flow speaks in generalities, employing subtly and nuance that allows the listener maximum leeway to respond in order to keep the conversation going, but this also requires the listener to declare preferences, needs, and wants. This is because ‘we’ve connected and you should care enough to understand my unstated intent.’

All of which underscores the fact that, in order to be effective communicators, we need to understand our own Perceptual Style (and how to make adjustments for each of the five other Styles).

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