Post By: Jessica Massaro, LCSW-R | Monday, May 25, 2020

sport psychology performance STRESS COMMUNICATION

Whether you realize it or not, you have developed a specific communication style and pattern, and chances are, if you are reading this article, it may not be working for you: at least not in your current social or group culture. There are many factors to take into consideration when determining whether your specific style works for you, but certainly within athletics and other larger group organizations, we also have to take into consideration the culture and dynamics of your specific team or group.

When we think about communication styles, therapists tend to identify the “4 Communication Styles”:Passive, Passive-Aggressive, Assertive, and Aggressive. The key to understanding each style is determining whether you are communicating in a *respectful, *appropriate, *honest, and *direct way where both your needs and the other person's needs are being met. If all of these objectives are being met, we consider this Assertive communication and the ideal. However, tip the scales in one direction or the other, and chances are something is being lost (although depending on your environment, this may be necessary). In certain environments, we may find ourselves prioritizing the needs of the many over the needs of the few; This may result in more of a passive communication style with less honest and direct communication for the betterment of the team goal/ mission, however, it is important when possible, especially in our personal relationships to try to also focus our attention on trying to voice our needs so that resentment does not build.

So how does one ask to have their needs met without coming across as needy, self-righteous, controlling or defensive? There are many different styles and the answer is dependent on personal style and your relationship with the person with whom you are speaking. However, if you find yourself needing some tips/ tricks, here are some “old reliables.”

  • Remember to use only “I” statements; “You” statements come across as attacking; Besides- you don't actually know what the other person is thinking or feeling, so why risk making an assumption.

  • Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce (DEAR MAN/ DBT) (Describe your concern sticking to the nonjudgmental statements of fact, Express your feelings using “I statements”, Assert your wants/ needs or set a boundary, and Reinforce letting the other person know what's in it for them to join you in your request (sometimes it's as simple as improving your relationship- chances are they are also invested in you/ the relationship).

  • Timing, Tone and Location matter. Choosing when, where and how you say what you say matter equally as much as what you say. So, be mindful of your tone, what is going on for the other person, and where you have this conversation- as to optimize your chances for getting your needs met.

There is no one size fits all solution. Sometimes the way we communicate with the team, at work, or with a friend group is very effective, and yet there are conflicts with a partner. Or the reverse is true. Whatever the case, it is important to begin to notice if there is a pattern at play, a communication style concern, or something that may benefit from some individual attention. At Mindurance, we are always happy to provide you with tailored recommendations, support and coaching strategies with our on demand performance coaching.