Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Research Paper on Communication

Communicating with Difficult People

Communication always played an important role in the life of people contributing to their socialization and establishment of positive relationships. At the same time, it is not a secret that communication is quite a complicated process and it is not always possible to use its power properly. To a significant extent, problems in communication are predetermined by the difference between communicating people when the gap between a sender and receiver of a message is too wide and they cannot simply properly understand each other that, naturally, leads to problems in the communication process. It is necessary to underline that some people are particularly difficult to communicate with and they may cause certain problems to other people who fail to communicate with these people effectively. They simply create barriers in communication that turn to be unsurpassable for many people and this is where communicative skills are getting to be particularly important since they can be really helpful in overcoming of such communication barriers.


It is an unarguable fact that difficult people can be found in any organization and in any social context. In this respect, the training process is not an exception and it is quite possible to face certain problems in communicating with difficult people during the training. As for me, the communicating with difficult was particularly difficult, especially when I lacked essential knowledge and skills that could endure my communication. Nonetheless, it is necessary to cope with these problems in communication that will need the analysis of the existing problem and, on its basis, it will be possible to find possible solutions and develop some recommendations in order to improve the communication with difficult people.

The analysis of the problem of communicating with difficult people
First of all, it is necessary to clearly define the problem in order to be able to find out the basic issues that are particularly difficult in the process of communication with difficult people. It should be said that, basically, it is quite easy to identify difficult people with which it is very difficult to communicate. In this respect, it should be pointed out that, as a rule, the existing communication barriers are revealed at the first stages of communication. It is obvious that it is quite difficult to communicate with people who intentionally or not attempt to set certain barriers between themselves and other people in the group. To a significant extent, the problem in communicating with difficult people can be predetermined by the differences in the cultural background which influence dramatically the behavior and the manner of communication of people (Werner 1989).

For instance, for me, as a representative of Western civilization, at the beginning it was quite difficult to communicate with people who had different cultural background, especially Oriental people. It is quite noteworthy that, at first, I could not simply understand the lack of individualism, what I had initially treated as the lack of self-confidence. However, at the present moment, I understand that it is the impact of their cultural background since they have quite different beliefs and norms and, basically, their lack of individualism and tend to obey to the group opinion was predetermined by their unique concept of face which influenced dramatically their communication. In this respect, I should say that, as I have already learned, they cannot communicate in the same way Western people get used to. For instance, sometimes they turn to be insincere only because they want to maintain their face, while Western people get used to be rather direct and frank in their judgments. In such a way, it was quite unusual to learn that Oriental people can simply lie only to maintain face that naturally is unacceptable for Western people which do not admit lie in their communication as the means of the maintenance of face (Allen 2001).

At the same time, there are also difficult people within the same cultural group which create barriers in communication. It should be said that one of the most problematic issues was the development of positive relationships in the process of communication. Practically, it means that some people simply lack of confidence it is really important to reduce uncertainty in communication with such people. On the other hand, there are people who, in contrast, tend to dominate and reject any opinion that is different from their own. This is why it may be quite difficult to communicate with them, especially, when the sender of a message attempts to persuade them to change their point of view or reveal the fact that they are simply wrong (Miller 2005).

It is worthy of mention that the problem of communicating with difficult people practically always involve the problem of the establishment of normal relationships with such people. Often, difficult people refuse to change their communication style and, thus, it I quite difficult to find an effective approach to improve communication with them.

Furthermore, the problem of communicating with difficult people often grows more and more serious as the process of communication grows more complicated. To put it more precisely, it should be said that its quite easy to communicate even with difficult people if the communication is viewed from a purely mechanistic viewpoint. It means that the communication simply serves as a transaction of a message from a sender to a receiver. In this respect, it seems as if it is just necessary to find an effective approach to the communication with difficult people and adapt the message to the level of perception and communicative skills of a receiver (Griffin1997).

However, as a rule, communicating with difficult people often turns to be much more complicated process. To put it more precisely, the communication is, in actuality, the process of sharing meaning and it is quite difficult to clearly deliver a message to a receiver when he or she interprets this message in a different way. Thus, simply speaking, one and the same phrase may be interpreted in different ways by a messenger and a receiver so that the intention of a messenger, or his/her message, would be perceived in a wrong way by a receiver because of the different interpretation. In actuality, such misinterpretation may be caused by a variety of factors such as unwillingness of a receiver to accept the viewpoint of a sender, or the lack of knowledge about the context of the message, or simply inability to adequately perceive the message because of the lack of communicative or socio-cultural skills or knowledge (Miller 2005).

Recommendations concerning the solution of the problem of communicating with difficult people
Naturally, there are a variety of possible ways that can contribute to the solution of the problem of communicating with difficult people. First of all, it is necessary to start with the analysis of the existing problems. It means that it is primarily necessary to properly assess whether the communication is effective or not, or probably there exist certain problems or misunderstanding in the communication process with certain people. After that, it is necessary to clearly define what barriers exactly exist in the process of communication with difficult people.

In this respect, it is necessary to refer to what has been already mentioned above, i.e. it is necessary to find the causes of misunderstanding or the lack of effectiveness in the communication process that may result from the difference in socio-cultural background, different viewpoints, beliefs, unwillingness of difficult people to change their opinion, etc. obviously, on revealing the causes of the problems in communicating with difficult people, it is possible to start to search a plausible solution of these problems.

In this respect, it is primarily possible to recommend analyze cultural background of difficult people. It means that the problems in communicating with these people may be caused only by the difference in cultural background. In such a situation, it is necessary to fully the fact that the views, behavior, and, thus, the communication with such people will differ from the communication with the people with the similar cultural background. In order to overcome socio-cultural barriers in communication, it is necessary to use the model of the communication that would correspond to socio-cultural background of such people (Bryan & Gallois 1992). Practically it means, that if there are certain taboos in some culture or some norms of communication, they cannot be by any means violated or affected. For instance you cannot criticize religious beliefs of some people, especially difficult ones, if it hurts their feelings, emotion, and dignity. Consequently, it is necessary to respect beliefs of other people that is actually the common rule that should be applied to absolutely all people. In other words, it is important to be able to establish certain boundaries for yourself.

Furthermore, when there are certain problems that are related to the reduction of uncertainty while communicating with difficult people, when they rather tend to be embarrassed or tend to simply agree with your opinion or opinion of other people, it is possible to widely implement ‘I’ language than ‘you’ language since the latter makes people defensive and in the case when they lack certainty or self-esteem it will be quite problematic to make them more confident and open in communication if ‘you’ language is constantly use (Caputo et al 1994).

On the other hand, the use of ‘I’ language instead of ‘you’ language may be very helpful in the communication with difficult people that tend to neglect the opinion of other people. In this respect, it should be said that similarly to the previous case, ‘you’ language will provoke a defensive reaction of such people but, at this time, the defense will be quite aggressive and the use of ‘you’ language will simply provoke the further deepening of communicative gaps and misunderstanding.

However, sometimes, it is simply necessary to step out of the situation when the communication with difficult people threatens to lead to a conflict. In fact, the prevention of conflicts in communication with difficult people is of a paramount importance since it will be even more difficult to establish positive relationship and improve communication than at the first stages of communication where there were no conflicts at all.

In such risky situations, it is possible to recommend finding an agreement. Obviously, it is practically useless to force a receiver of a message to change his or her position, especially if a person is quite difficult to communicate with. As a rule, the unwillingness to find an agreement, or a sort of consensus, leads to the growing tension in communication and may end up in a conflict, while finding an agreement strategy can make difficult people less opinionated and prepare them for some compromise that can naturally make the communication more relaxed and both parties will tend to mutual understanding, being ready to slightly change their positions in the communication process.

In other words, it is always important to keep the lines of communication open so that it can be possible to change your opinion or, in response, difficult people can change their opinion or communication style. In such a way, it is possible to make them change their position and maintain face at the same time.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the communication is quite a complicated process and successful communication constantly needs all human communicative skills and abilities to be applied in order to prevent misunderstanding or possible conflicts. At the same time, the communication with difficult people is particularly difficult and, as a rule, it is provoked by the difference in socio-cultural background, manner of behavior and communication style. Nonetheless, now I can say that it is always possible to find an effective communication style or approach to any individual even the most difficult one. It is obvious that the readiness to change your communication style, ability to adapt to the personality of interlocutor can contribute to the improvement of the effectiveness of communication even with difficult people, especially when you are able to compromise and find an agreement.
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