In order to collect feedback on my communication skills I adapted the questionnaire created by Mindtools and sent it to several colleagues with different roles. Together with this precious feedback I can also use the output of the Pollak learning alliance questionnaire done during the lesson of course. I think the questions of the questionnaire sent to my colleagues confirmed the outcome of the Pollak learning alliance questionnaire that suggests I have a strong theorist approach and a moderate preference of being activist.
For example, the feedback received says that, wherever possible, I use diagrams, charts and pictures to encode the message I want to send. I truly believe, as the saying goes, “a picture speaks a thousand words”. But there is more, as a theorist I grasp concepts when I can build a model of it and a visual representation is for me an effective way to communicate it. In practice this means that I feel more confident when, in a verbal communication, I have a piece of paper or whiteboard where I can sketch my ideas or that in written communication, to complete my words, most of the times I add to my messages a diagram or an image.
Another point that emerges from the received feedback is that often I provide background information and details to make sure that my messages are understood. I think this behaviour again proves my theorist approach to the communication style. I like to analyse and synthesise to reduce misconceptions, increase understanding and this is proven by the received comments on my effort to help people understand the underlying concepts behind the point I am discussing.
My behaviour and communication skills as an activist emerges from responses to other questions. Activists tend to act first and only later think about consequences. The responses about cultural barriers when planning my communications tell me that I could invest more on planning and reviewing my messages before sending them to the receiver. Other responses highlight this is valid for both written and verbal messages. Received feedback says sometimes I tend to say what I think, without worrying about how the other person perceives and that, from time to time, I write messages and send them off right away without fully reviewing them properly.
Questionnaire also says that I try to see the perspectives of the people I am communicating to and I am not surprised to find that people haven’t understood what I have said. I think this matches the style of an activist when they are described as open-minded and not sceptical. In order to achieve open and effective communication it is important to always pay attention to barriers and make an effort to overcome them using appropriate language, understanding the receiver’s point of view and encouraging feedback.