Actively Using Communication to Build Confirming Climates

Confirming climates create a supportive environment.  The way we speak to another person in a relationship, whether long-term or acquaintance, defines whether or not the climate is destructive. 

Communication researcher Jack Gibb studied these climates between people and identified six types of communication that either foster a nurturing, open environment, or promote defensiveness. 

DEFENSIVE                                                   SUPPORTIVE

           Evaluation                                          Description

           Certainty                                           Provisionalism

           Strategy                                            Spontaneity

           Control                                              Problem Orientation

           Neutrality                                           Empathy

           Superiority                                         Equality

Evaluation VS Description

∞  Evaluation=Judgment / Description=”I” statements

∞  Describe the event/person/feeling and use “I” language that tells how you perceive what’s going on, or how you feel

EX – “You’re slicing those vegetables all wrong”  VS  “I think your potato cuts are uneven; would you like some help?”

Certainty VS Provisionalism

∞  Certainty=Absolutism / Provisionalism=Openness

∞  Be reasonable when you can.  Just because you don’t want to hear it doesn’t mean it’s wrong or stupid.  Human beings hold their ideas very dear: it’s an extension of the thoughts and should be treated with respect.

EX – “I’ve already figured out how to ice the cake; save your breath”  VS  “That’s a good idea; I’ll use that on my next cake”

Strategy VS Spontaneity

∞  Strategy=Preplanning Your Attack / Spontaneity=Unpremeditated, Open, Honest

∞  Honest, straightforward communication helps you avoid resentment, manipulation, and angry feelings.

EX – “Remember when I did the dishes for you last week so you could go home early?”  VS  “Would you finish up here for me so I can run some errands before the bank closes?”

Control VS Problem Orientation

∞  Control=overt manipulation to get your way / P.O.= finding a solution that everyone agrees on

∞  Take account of everyone’s viewpoint and feelings.  Focus on reducing conflict and meeting the group’s and the individuals’ needs.  When people feel like they’re being heard and respected, work gets done more quickly and more efficiently.

EX – “I don’t care that you think the chef doesn’t know what he’s doing, this is my restaurant and if you don’t like it you can quit”  VS  “I hear what you’re saying.  Let me think it over for a couple days and I’ll get back to you with a solution.”

Neutrality VS Empathy

∞  Neutrality=detached, “I don’t care” / Empathy=respect and acceptance

∞  Respecting someone else’s viewpoint and ideas doesn’t mean you have to agree with them or think they’re right.  Just let them know that you care about them, respect them, and that what they’re sharing is important to you.

EX – “Ugh! This is so frustrating!  None of these danishes are turning out right!  Do you think I should just quit baking altogether?”  “I don’t care. Whatever.”  /  “I’m so happy my cookies came out perfectly.  What do you think?”  “They look really good!  You must have spent a long time working on these.”

Superiority VS Equality

∞  ‘Nuff said

∞  Noone’s better than anyone else, they’ve just made different decisions and look at the world differently.  Seriously– get off your soap box.

EX – “I’m a better chef than you’ll ever be”  /  “We’re so awesome!”

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