In other words, never talk down to another human being or treat another person in a condescending manner. This is one of the quickest ways to damage communication, reduce trust and impair interpersonal relationships. It's also a very effective way to lose respect within your organization, especially if you are in a leadership position. You should consciously strive to treat everyone with dignity and respect no matter where they are on the organizational chart. This may sound simple but in reality, we tend to treat people based on our perceptions of who they are and how they should be treated. This is one of the unfortunate byproducts of stereotyping. For instance, you don’t speak to a 5-year old child the same way you speak to a 35-year old adult. Of course, this makes perfectly good sense. It would seem odd if you spoke to a young child and an adult in the same manner! However, this unconscious interpersonal differentiation can have negative repercussions as well. For instance, many of us speak differently to an office secretary than we do to a senior vice president. Similarly, during my 6 years as a college professor, I quickly learned to use "Dr. Holmes" whenever I phoned a university department because the quality of service was significantly higher than when I used "Tyrone". I wasn't treated poorly when I was Tyrone but I received more professional deference and respect when I was Dr. Holmes. Bottom-line, be aware of how you speak to others and never treat anyone in a patronizing or condescending manner.
Next Post: September 22, 2015 - The 7 Don’ts of Multicultural Communication #2
Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes is an author, speaker, coach and consultant. He helps his clients develop the skills needed to communicate, resolve conflict, solve problems and improve performance in diverse organizational settings.