Do You Have a Receptive or a Reactive Communication Style?

receptive vs reactive2

When leaders and teams learn tools and discover ways to have open and authentic conversations, it creates an environment where people feel safe to say what they need to say.  As a Workplace Communication Expert, I’ve helped many leaders and their teams develop stress-free communication.

The direct result of open communication is that organizations will increase employee retention and have fewer employees experiencing burnouts. People are happier and more engaged in their jobs when they feel heard and understood.

We are regularly faced with stressful situations throughout our day, both at home and at work, which can ultimately impact how we communicate with those around us.

If you have children, you have undoubtedly experienced a tough morning at home which causes you to either arrive to work a few minutes late, or be worried that you may be late. Perhaps your work day then starts with a big meeting. Whether or not you are still stressed about your morning family challenges will impact how you are able to show up in that meeting. It can influence how open you are to hearing ideas that you disagree with. It impacts how you reply to people who are disagreeing with you, or who aren’t hearing you.

If we’re not mindful of how we’re feeling, in the moment, this has an impact not only on our interactions with those around us during the stressful moment, but also, on how we communicate with others throughout the day. I refer to this as being in either a receptive or a reactive state.

Do You Have a Receptive or a Reactive Communication Style?

Stress-free communication is about getting in touch with and understanding our needs and our feelings in the moment, so that we can have conscious conversations with people, instead of being reactive in our communication.

Understanding when we’re in a receptive state and when we’re in a reactive state is getting in touch with how to explain what you want in order to change your communication approach.

A receptive state is when we’re calm, present, and able to listen to what someone is telling us. We can try to understand someone else’s perspective. We can sit with difficult, uncomfortable feelings in conversations. Being in this state enables us to resolve differences with our communication partners.

When we’re in a reactive state, we’re responding instinctively. We aren’t fully present in our interactions when we are in a reactive state. These conversations are more likely to lead to conflict because we’re simply reacting to what others are saying without consciously reflecting on a more rational level. To step out of a reactive state, we need to get in touch with how we are feeling and express that consciously.

If you find that interactions within your work setting are too frequently reactive, know that you don’t have to continue with these patterns forever. My keynote/workshop Shrink the Reactive Zone: Master Stress Free Communication at Work helps leaders and teams identify when they are in the receptive or reactive zone (as this fluctuates frequently throughout the day).  Participants also learn strategies to be able to bring themselves back to the receptive zone so that employees can communicate without drama.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy:

How the Assumptions We Make Influence our Reactions

Find Balance By Saying Yes to You First

The Integrated Brain State: Balancing Thoughts and Feelings

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with middle managers who want to communicate authentically so they can effectively lead their teams without losing themselves. As a former Speech-Language Pathologist, Lindsay applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication and connection to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect in their teams, so that everyone can bring their best selves to work.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two neurodivergent children, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend well beyond her professional expertise.

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with middle managers who want to communicate authentically so they can effectively lead their teams without losing themselves. As a former Speech Language Pathologist, Lindsay applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication and connection to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect in their teams, so that everyone can bring their best selves to work.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two children with pervasive mental health challenges, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend well beyond her professional expertise.

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Hi, I'm Lindsay

Leadership communication skills to elevate team performance.

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