This is the first of a number of quizzes in which you can find out a little more about yourself and the way you function in the world. It’s important for you to know that any conclusion that you may come to when completing an exercise of this nature can only be a guideline. In this first quiz I invite you to look at the way in you communicate, and the way you would prefer people to communicate with you. You’ll also discover new ways of making contact with people, and be able to read a general description of your personality type.
The Communication Process Model
This model (Taibi Kahler’s) is concerned with the initial approach of one person to another. It increases awareness and options in making contact, and is therefore particularly valuable for teachers, counsellors, sales people, market researchers and such like. It will help prevent the all too common feeling of having got off on the wrong foot or failed to make contact with someone.
How People Make Contact
When you first communicate with someone else, they can be contacted through one of
Therefore, we can invite people to respond to us initially from a thinking state, from a piece of behaviour or action, or from their feelings. If we sense that we have not really hit it off with someone, then probably we have used a wrong contact mode, or more accurately a mode with which the other person feels uncomfortable.
Assessing Individual Preference
How can we know what contact point people prefer? Kahler used the following device.
You can complete the device for yourself by firstly considering how you generally
are in your life on the active -
Secondly, consider how you generally are in your life on the involving or withdrawing scale, similarly putting two marks on the horizontal line to show your general range of behaviour. Therefore, if you tend to behave in a very involved way in relationships, both at work and socially, then your marks will be to the left. If when with people you keep yourself to yourself and do not get involved unless really invited to by others, then your marks will be to the right.
On both the vertical and horizontal lines, neither end is better than the other is.
Now join up the four points to form a four-
You will generally have part of your figure in all four quadrants but one quadrant
is likely to contain a larger share than others, and one or two may have a very small
share. We can now relate this model to the Thinking -
Quadrant 1: Withdrawn -
Quadrant 2: Withdrawn -
Quadrant 3: Involving -
Quadrant 4: Involving -
It is important to note that nearly all people can activate other modes than their dominant one when it is necessary. What we are talking about here is the most comfortable mode for initial contact.
The Importance of Initial Contact
Even though we will move through a full repertoire of rich expression of feelings, thinking and behaviour in any conversation, getting the initial contact right is critical. Just as a high point of stress is for the actor as she speaks her first words, for the musician as he plays his first note, for the novelist as she writes the first word on a blank page, so it is with human contact when the first words are spoken. They can set the subsequent interaction off well or badly.
So if we went to speak to someone who was very strong in Quadrant 2 (Withdrawn -
After the Initial Contact
The initial contact can be very brief before moving into another mode. Thus one might say, "Hello, are you feeling better today? Good. Now I'd like your opinion on this report.” Another therapist, Paul Ware, has suggested that there is a natural progression from the contact point to what he calls the target, by which he means the mode of getting into full and extended communication. He also described what he called 'the trap', which is the mode that is likely to panic or turn off the recipient if it is activated too early. His sequence theory is as follows:
Quadrant Contact Target Trap
1. Active -
2. Passive -
3. Passive -
4. Active -
If it helps your thinking you can apply the following names to each of the quadrants. If it doesn't, don't.
What does this mean when we interact with other people? What would improve the quality of Communication?
If you believe you are dealing with a workaholic, then an initial approach is through her thinking mode. She needs her mind given respect, her ideas listened to, and only then when she is confident with you at that level, can you switch into a feeling mode. For counselling or therapy that may be an important move, but for many purposes it is unnecessary to move from the comfortable mode of thinking. What she dislikes is feeling cornered, crowded or pressured. She will be anxious to talk but also to keep her distance, and will not like casual physical contact or taking part in “party games”. She is likely to be driven by the need to get everything exactly right and this will be apparent in her speech patterns and probably her appearance. She is likely to live a life, which denies her any rewards, or relaxation until earned by hard work and completion of the task.
If you are dealing with a daydreamer, then a very gentle non-
The rebel has been alternately described as the Charming Manipulator. She needs
to be contacted through active behaviour and particularly by some form of play. Once
she is relaxed with a drink, a car-
These, of course, are model types, and none of us conforms to the extremes. We have a strong or weaker tendency to be like one of the types with a secondary type also fairly strong in many of us. This process model gives a way into communication but once well into the interaction then it is likely to be fuller, more complex and various then the model can usefully handle. In practice it means I might approach people in the following different ways.
Person 1 (Quietly) Hello, how would you like a quiet stroll round the garden? (Silences) Isn’t that a marvellous bush? (Silences). It’s so peaceful here away from the traffic. (Silences). I wonder if you have had any thought about that proposal I put the other night? (Quadrant 2).
Person 2. (Warmly). How lovely to see you. How are you feeling? You' re really looking relaxed nowadays. I want to talk to you about something that is really exciting me, and I would enjoy it very much if you could work with me on it. Let me explain it to you. (Quadrant 4).
Person 3. (Seriously). Hello. I've had another idea about that matter we were talking about last night. This is it. (Explains) Do you feel that’s worth following up? You may be a bit tired after the last weeks crisis. How do you feel about it? (Quadrant 1).
Person 4. (Loudly). Hey, Bill. Great to see you, good excuse for a drink. Lets push through the crowd to that seat over there. You get a really good view of the river. Now, how are you feeling? You’re looking a bit down. (Quadrant 3).
Of course the skill is in correctly deciding what kind of person you are talking to, which is easy with people you know, and not that difficult with others if careful observation and the principles of the process model are combined. More of that in Quiz 2
What this model does enable us to consider is what we actually do say after we say hello!
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