Have you ever felt like you were tripping over another’s words? I have. It had everything to do with the concept of Communication Styles: High Involvement vs. High Consideration.
- A High Involvement person is a very energetic conversationalist., One who excitedly jumps in to share what is on his/her mind, keeping intensity high and thriving on the fast-paced back-and-forth nature of the dialogue….the interchange is stimulating and heightens the conversation-satisfaction factor.
- A High Consideration person is a very respectful conversationalist…one who politely waits for the other to finish their thought before responding, taking a few seconds to finish their own thoughts before responding. An H.C. person holds themselves and their communication partner in high regard, with responses that are thoughtful and deliberate – appreciative of a healthy dialogue.
Sounds simple enough, right? And it is when you are communicating with someone who is the same type…of course. The trouble begins when conversing with someone who is the opposite style.
I can tell you from experience – it is awkward. I was with a new friend and our conversation felt strange. I wasn’t sure why, since we had so much in common! Ahhh, but we were so different in a very important way – our communication style. I’m sure you’re shocked to find out I’m a High Involvement person. She was a High Consideration person. Uh-oh.
The High Consideration person views the ever-interrupting-talk-over-me High Involvement person as rude. The High Involvement person views the lower-energy-slow-to-respond High Consideration person as disengaged or boring/bored.
In reality, we were both interested in the topics, both respected each other, both wanted a smooth dialogue. But that wasn’t happening. It occurred to me that this concept of H.I. and H.C. might be the source of the disconnect, so I explained the concept of High Involvement and High Consideration communication styles, and her response? (btw: I was hoping for “I don’t get it, why are you telling me this, there is nothing wrong with our conversation”) instead she responded with a very knowing “Oh-h-h”. Darn, she felt it too….
After that, she sped up a little (understanding I was excited, not rude) and I paused a little (understanding she might have something more to say) – we’d narrowed the gap. Now, I’m not saying it is perfect, at times we still talk on top of each other, but not as frequently and certainly not intentionally. With understanding and perspective, our friendship has more than survived, it has flourished!
What is your communication style? And have you had a similar experience? Please share!