Communicating in a way where both sides are heard and understood isn’t always easy.
We keep hearing of a plethora of “good communication” strategies.
In my mind, it boils down to the answer to these two questions –
🌿 Are we taking the time to ask about and to understand the intent behind the words of the other person?
🌿 Are they hearing us in exactly the way we need to be heard, and if not, can we communicate our point of view better?
One problem with all this is that our inherent biases, unique cultural norms, and different ways of perceiving the world can get in the way of truly hearing others.
This just means that we each have to put in a little bit of extra work to figure out whether we’re taking offense to something because our world perspective is completely different or because the other person inherently has something against us.
I find the difference between the ideas of collaborative and cooperative communication interesting.
Collaboration, or when we actively work with others to accomplish a particular goal, is an extremely valid approach for building something that is meaningful for everyone at the table. Collaborative communication, equally, is when we take that extra time to clearly communicate our points of view while asking for others’ perspectives rather than telling them what is. I think a good example of this is an ideal healthcare scenario, where a patient would want the primary care physician and all the specialists to share their unique knowledge and perspectives with each other with the common goal of helping their patient collaboratively.
Cooperation, or when we freely do what is asked of us in pursuit of a common goal, is also a valid trust building approach for accomplishing a meaningful goal. With cooperative communication, there is a greater emphasis on listening, being supportive, not being competitive and avoiding conflict actively – especially within the context of a workplace. This is an especially effective form of communication in large groups where there are different power dynamics.
Both forms of communication require us to build trust with others by giving others a platform to be heard, by being authentic in what we say and by making sure that there is a collective, big picture understanding of the issue at hand.
On an everyday note, if someone is being exceptionally rude, then it is difficult to be either collaborative or cooperative. That’s the perfect time, I feel, to stop, draw boundaries, and step away from what could be an antagonistic situation.
What are your thoughts on communicating effectively given all our different ways of perceiving between the same thing? Do you prefer the collaborative approach or is the cooperative approach more appealing?