RESPONSE STYLES QUESTIONNAIRE
This instrument contains six sets of 'responses' to statements which will be read out to you. Each 'set' contains five alternative responses, and you will be asked to choose one of these responses in reply to a statement which will be read out to you for each set.
The appropriate statement will be read out to you once. Then a short period will be provided to allow you to read the appropriate five response alternatives quickly. The statement will be read out to you again, and you will be asked to select one response out of the five. Select the response which you feel to be CLOSEST to the kind of response which you feel you WOULD make to such a statement - NOT the response which you feel you SHOULD make - there are NO 'right' answers.
Apart from the age and gender of the person making the statement, you will not be provided with any additional information as to context. However, try to imagine that the situations are ones where you know each individual as acquaintances at least, and where the relationship is positive.
SKILLS IN LISTENING AND STYLES OF RESPONDING
1. You see yourself as a deeply ambitious person, is that it?
2. You feel that you must have to be out on top no matter what you may do to others?
3. What do you suppose is behind this strong determination of yours to get ahead?
4. Would you be interested in taking some tests to determine in what area you might expect to be most successful? It might be of real help to you, although it is possible with your drive that you could be successful in a number of fields.
5. Strong ambition can be a real asset to any man. Are you really sure, though, that you mean it when you say you're not averse to climbing over those who get in your way? Couldn't that turn out to do you more harm than good?
1. Well, I'll tell you what I can do. I can arrange for you to join a small social group at the local community college. I send quite a few people there who have difficulty making friends. Most want to start out by taking ceramics, a language or some handicraft. This gives them something to do as a basis and permits them to make friends slowly and at their own pace. How does this sound to you?
2. Possibly if you could tell me a little more about how you go about trying to make friends we could get a clearer idea of what is involved.
3 It’s gone on so long it almost has you convinced - is that what you mean?
4. Maybe your not wanting friends is just to protect yourself from something else.
5. That's a pretty unhappy situation, to be without friends, -and one that I would really work on. There are a number of things that you might do to learn how to make friends and the sooner you start, the better.
1. That's fine. The long way around can be the short way home; I think you've really got your feet on the ground now for sure. The kind of thinking you're doing is certainly the most constructive.
2. That sounds good to me. And, if you run across any difficulty in thinking through how you're going to present your plans to the boss, or if you want any help in planning how to make yourself more promotable, just remember that I'm always here to help you.
3. I'm wondering if you've investigated the promotional policy of the company to see if the path you want to follow is the most likely to lead to a promotion.
4. Of course! The spectacular may be appealing but the mature way pays off.
5. It may not be spectacular but I gather the soundness of it is what really appeals to you.
1. You feel that you'd be a lot happier if you could just escape your work and start out in a field where you are most adequate, it that it?
2. Whether this is the field in which you'll end up no one can say, but it seems to me quite sound that you are counting more on yourself.
3. Have you thought of the possibility of working out a combination line? It seems a shame to just toss out all you've lined up so far.
4. You've decided that you'd do better to change.
5. How much study have you given this new field?
1. If you think it wise, I could give you the name of an Investment Counsellor who’d be glad to go over the proposition with you and possibly give you some good leads on how to seek financial support.
2. That’s fine. One must feel sure of oneself if one expects to make a go of something. To go into something hesitantly can really make it get all mixed up. You’re on the right track and I wish you success.
3. If you could get the cash to start, you feel sure you could make a go of it.
4. You feel sure you could be successful because you now see what is involved in making the thing go. When you see things clearly, assurance follows.
5. Have you figured out what the risks are as yet?
1. You feel that you must be out in front. That it is really important to you to be the better man.
2. It’s a fine thing to try to get ahead but do you think that by starting out with such an attitude towards him you’re going at it right?
3. And that will probably take a lot of careful planning and thinking. You’ll want to go carefully.
4. He really makes you want to beat him up.
5. Let’s wait a minute there. Why is it so important to you to get ahead of this man?
SKILLS IN LISTENING AND STYLES OF RESPONDING
STYLES OF RESPONDING:
People read a great deal into the ways we respond to their conversational statements. In fact, it is the way they infer what and how we are thinking about them. This in turn determines their own feelings about us; and whether they will, for example, trust us sufficiently to reveal more of themselves.
Many of us - about half - have quite dominant styles of responding, so that others can stereotype us quite easily. We can probably all think of others who have stereotypical forms of conversational response (its easier for most of us to identify this in others than in ourselves!).
are five common forms of responding:
RESPONSE STYLE EQUIVALENT IN Q'AIRE
'Listening against' Evaluative
'Listening for information' Probing
'Listening for' Interpretative
'Listening with' Supportive
'Listening with empathy' Understanding
Of these, Evaluative responses are by far the most common. Probing closely follows Evaluation, particularly among educated managers. Interpretative/Supportive responses are often intermingled, and represent about 10-15% of responses. Finally, Understanding - true understanding - is by far the least common. The questionnaire usually shows a response rate of about 5%, but in actual practice this figure is almost zero. In fact, most people don't know how to respond with true understanding.
In the techniques and pointers below, Listening with Understanding is one of the dominant themes. See if you can identify the techniques/pointers which address this response style.
TECHNIQUES AND POINTERS - EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION:
Below is listed a SUMMARY of effective communications techniques. Obviously these are not all appropriate for all situations, and the appropriate techniques must be selected by the communicator. However, in any interaction, many of these techniques may be employed.
Some of them will be unfamiliar to the user. This should not deter him/her from trying them out- even if they seem difficult or uncomfortable. With practice and confidence they become easier and more natural - and more effective!
Bear in mind that some of the 'softer' aspects of communication are in fact the toughest in terms of what they elicit from both parties.
This is the key technique of Listening With Understanding. It is surprisingly difficult to
apply, and needs GREAT care to ensure that no hint of evaluation is allowed to creep in.
Mirroring is the process of paraphrasing back to the other person EXACTLY what s/he has
just said - it is sometimes called reflecting'. Try to suspend your own 'frame of reference'
totally - i.e. suspend your own tendency to either evaluate or interpret. Listen as carefully as you can and then try to reflect back the exact essence of what was said - if too much was said, try to capture the key part. Concentrate on the latter part of a long statement. In using mirroring, do allow plenty of silence after you have mirrored to let the other person think and reply - this is very hard to do. And try to avoid 'adding' statements or questions - we all have a tendency to do this.
We tend to be very poor at both giving and seeking feedback. Yet it is an extremely effective and open way of communicating. In giving feedback to another about how you are feeling or about what you have observed in their behaviour, etc, DO:
- ask yourself about 'readiness' - is this a good time to give feedback?
- try to make your feedback constructive and balanced;
- try to ensure that it is concrete and specific;
- be prepared to give feedback about process - how the other person is making you FEEL. We find this very difficult to do.
Also, it is good to ask for feedback from others. For example:
"let me pause for just a moment and check: how do you feel about the way this interview is going? how am I doing?" This is a very powerful device, but we use it very seldom - for obvious reasons. You have to be very tough to be prepared to use it. Yet you will rarely be other than pleasantly surprised, if you do!
It is surprisingly hard to be assertive in what we say, without also being either aggressive or submissive. If we act out of submission or aggression (and we all do in certain situations!), the net result of this is anger with ourselves, displacement of this anger onto innocent parties, and finally guilt with ourselves over this irrational behaviour. Only assertion can have us avoid such feelings. The main techniques are:
- Broken Record: Calmly stating your position, without guilt or anger, and repeating this position as often as necessary in order to be really heard. Avoid being side-tracked by other issues. Combine this device with
- Fogging: Calmly admitting there may be some truth in a criticism of yourself, and reverting to the broken record message.
- Negative Inquiry: Calmly seeking further negative
- Negative Assertion: Calmly admitting, without guilt, your mistakes and weaknesses which the other may have raised, and reverting if necessary to the broken record.
Use Open questions where possible, if you really want a lot of information (AND if you want to take the heat off yourself having continually to think up new questions!). An Open question is one which does not have a single specific answer, such as 'yes' or 'no', or a specific piece of data. Examples of open questions are 'How do you feel about ...?'; 'Can you tell me about ...?'; 'Why do you think that ...?'.
A specific type of Open Question is the 'high-gain' question. These are especially effective in a 'selling' situation. A high-gain question is one which forces the other person to think: to prioritise, analyse, evaluate. They add value for you and for the other person. The best high-gain question should cause the other person to say or think: 'Gosh, that really made me think; that was a useful way of looking at the problem!' An example might be: 'On the basis of what you've been saying, could you tell me: what would be the three most important of those issues for you to tackle during this year?'
In asking any type of question, once again avoid asking two questions in one. We find asking open questions very hard. We find it even harder to ask one and then leave it at that without adding a closed question: 'How would you go about that? . Would you go and ask Harry for advice, usually?' Watch this, because we ALL do it!
There are trigger words we can use very simply in order to make sure that what is being said to us is indeed specific, concrete and accurate. The main ones are as follows:
TRIGGER WORD RESPONSE FOR SEEKING CONCRETENESS
A Noun “What (noun) specifically?”
A Verb “How / why (verb) specifically?”
(Better, worse, easier) “How much (better, worse, easier) specifically?”
(Always, never) “Always?” “Never?”
We almost never summarise enough. Yet it is a powerful tool for retaining and recovering control of a difficult conversation. It is also vital if we are not to lose points of agreement - if we don’t summarise we may find that agreements have undergone a sea change when we return to them - or that they have simply dissolved into thin air! Summarise accurately and often.
While it is very easy to overdo one’s interpretation of body language and the rest, yet it seems to be true that about 80% of what we convey we convey through non-verbal means. This may be to do with sounds or body position / movement:
Tone of voice is more important than the words used.
Inflexion can alter the entire meaning of what is said. In the English language at least, much of the meaning is built into the inflexion.
Volume has an obvious impact.
Body posture can express interest, boredom, anger, suspicion.
Gestures are important but may be misinterpreted very easily.
Actions may sometimes give an entirely opposite message to what we are actually saying.
‘Meta-talk’ - grunts, ‘OK’, nodding the head, are important devices for encouraging the other to talk, but - watch it! - they are FREQUENTLY used for the opposite purpose!
APPENDIX - Listening Skills
SIT 1 1 - U SIT 2 1 - S
2 - I 2 - P
3 - P 3 - U
4 - S 4 - I
5 - E 5 - E
SIT 3 1 - I SIT 4 1 - I
2 - S 2 - S
3 - P 3 - E
4 - E 4 - U
5 - U 5 - P
SIT 5 1 - S SIT 6 1 - I
2 - E 2 - E
3 - U 3 - S
4 - I 4 - U
5 - P 5 - P