During a conversation, people tend to use certain communication styles to achieve a certain goal.

During a conversation, people tend to use certain communication styles to achieve a certain goal.

Here's a list of what I mean:

•Avoiding: Sidestep, postpone or withdraw from the issue. Use when potential harm outweighs benefits to resolve a matter, or when time is needed to collect information or cool down.

•Accommodating: Sacrifice your goals to satisfy another party's concerns or yield to another point of view. Use when relationships are most important or to reach a quick, temporary solution.

•Controlling. Pursue your goals without the other person's agreement. Use when unpopular actions must be implemented or when inaction will produce dire consequences

•Compromising. Provide quick, mutually acceptable alternatives — or both parties give up something. Use when two parties of equal power are strongly committed to mutually exclusive goals or to achieve temporary solutions for complex issues.

•Collaborating. Identify each person's concerns and find alternatives that meet both sets of needs or find solutions that fully satisfy both parties' needs and concerns. Use when relationships and issues are both important or to gain commitment and acceptance for a high-quality decision.

These are the different communication styles. So ask yourself: “Is this approach the best one to use right now in order to reach a successful outcome to the problem at hand?”

Constantly consider this question, because the communication style you choose could derail the conversation, take focus off the other person, block the other person from finding a solution, create distance between you and the other person or diminish the other person’s motivation and sense of being valued.

Your chosen style could have long-lasting effects if you offer a high-risk response such as ordering, threatening, moralizing, advising, offering a logical argument, questioning, judging, praising, name-calling, diagnosing, reassuring or diverting.

Listening, on the other hand, is a disciplined skill. You can’t do two things at once if one of them is to be listening well. You can’t listen if you are trying to figure out what to say. Also, don’t expect to listen well if you are busy assuming.

Just a few things to reference over spring break. Have a safe week.

Amber Kelley lives in Laurel Hill. Send news or comments to Hobo.homefront@gmail.com or P.O. Box 163, Laurel Hill, FL, 32567.