What does your communication window look like?
Think back over the last half dozen or so meetings you've had at work. For each of them, ask yourself whether you were:
- An Oyster
- An Interviewer
- A Lecturer
- A Full Engager
Each of these communication styles or modes is potentially completely appropriate and valid, depending on the situation - they each carry certain advantages in the pursuit of particular outcomes.
I was 'oyster' for a good part of the past week, for example. To get some high priority strategic initiatives across the line, I had to 'clam up' on broader communication and interaction for a bit. I needed to be in a bit of a shell, and the pearls there weren't ready yet for wider dissemination in the organisation.
Advantages notwithstanding, however, each of the styles above also carry certain risks.
Suzi Finkelstein, one of our Senior Associates at Women and Leadership Australia, explores these styles below via something known as the Johari Window:
Whether by way of review/reflection (as I elicited at the beginning of this post) or as a deliberate preparation strategy before you go into your next meeting or exchange, having a diagram of the Johari Window somewhere in your office can be a really useful tool.
Using the two dimensions (enquiring/asking and disclosing/advocating), you can give yourself a good sense of just how wide you're making your communication window, ask yourself why you're doing that, and what the potential downsides might be.
Johari Window is one of many theories and tools explored as part of Communication, Presence and Influence in our Executive Ready program.
Jason Renshaw is Chief Learning Innovation Officer, Australian School of Applied Management. For more about Jason, see:www.linkedin.com/in/jason-renshaw