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  • G Michael Moore

Communication Assessment

Many common communication styles tend to create alienation and distance, taking us even further from where we would like to be. This is true in personal relationships, as well as at work. It is interesting to consider how often political leaders resort to these tactics, thus contributing our dysfunctional and polarized political climate.


Score each of the following styles using the following scale:

0 = Never use this style 1 = Rarely use this style

2 = Occasionally use this style

3 = Frequently use this style


These are more overtly dominating and controlling styles:


LABELING

That’s a totally irresponsible statement.

NAME-CALLING

You’re a weak coward and a fool.

CHARACTER ATTACK

Clearly there is something fundamentally wrong with you.

MIND-READING

That is not how you really feel.

BLAMING

This is all your fault.

ACCUSING

Your eyes never left him once during dinner.

THREATENING

This is your last chance.

PUTTING-DOWN

Only a man/woman would come to that conclusion.

VENTING

I don’t care whether you are ready to listen or not.

ORDERING

Don’t walk away until I’m finished.

RIDICULING

That’s your idea of dressing for success?

CRITICIZING

That approach will get you nowhere.

CHALLENGING

Why don’t you learn to stand up to her?

NAGGING

Do I always have to remind you to take a shower?

SARCASM

Well, look who has finally graced us with her/his presence.

PSYCHO-ANALYZING

What you’re really feeling is that you’re and I’m ____.

BULLYING

Overpowering by screaming, exploding, intimidating.

INTERRUPTING

Talking over the other person. Telling them to be quiet.

COUNTERING

Maybe I did that, but what you did was so much worse.

KITCHEN SINK

And while I am thinking about it, that is not all you did.


These styles are not as overtly aggressive, but have the potential to be equally destructive:


COMPARISONS

Someone who actually cared about me would have done better.

COMPLAINING

I do all the dirty work around here and never get any help.

WHINING

Why does this always happen? I am so tired of this.

DENYING

That’s not what I said.

WITHHOLDING

No, nothing is wrong. Everything is just fine.

POOR ME

Just once I wish things would go my way. We always do what you want.

PSEUDO-QUESTIONS

Will you tell me what’s so terrible about wanting to have a little fun?

FOOT-DRAGGING

I know I said I’d do it and when I get the time, I will.

ASSUMING BLAME

You’re right. If I had any sense, I’d have quit.

PLAYING the MARTYR

It doesn’t matter. I’ll get over it. I can take the heat. I always do.

SELF-PUT-DOWNS

I just can’t get anything right.

EXCUSES

If I felt better, I’d be out there shoveling too.

CHANGING TOPICS

Can we talk about something else now? Anything special on TV tonight?

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS

I would never treat you that way.

KEEPING SCORE

I handled it last time and the time before that.

LYING

I meant to invite you along, but the line was busy. I did try, honest.

DETACHMENT

There is no reason to get upset. Just stay calm.

DISCOUNTING

You don’t really mean that now, do you?

COLD SHOULDER

Silence, pouting, ignoring, walking away, stone-walling.

GASLIGHTING

No, that never happened. You are imagining it.


When you are done, ask your partner or another close associate to review your self-assessment and give you honest feedback. Only do this if you are willing to listen. Keep in mind that your intentions do not always translate accurately into impact on others. If your desire is to become a more effective communicator, learning about your impact on others from people who are willing to reflect back to you in a candid way is invaluable.

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