Adapting Communication

Upon reflecting on the question “Do you find yourself communicating differently with people from different groups and cultures?” the answer is absolutely, yes.

I feel as though everyone does in one way or another, and it can easily by interpreted negatively if it’s done in a way that is not sensitive or culturally appropriate, however I do think it is important to be responsive in the way you communicate with different types of people in different groups or cultures.

In my day to day life, we always joke that my phone voice sounds so nice and helpful when my regular socializing voice and tone is often bold, energetic and doused with honesty. One of my coworkers who knows me very well outside of work as well laughed when I picked up the phone just the other week and when I got off, she jokingly said “I don’t even know who that was.” There is a very clear way we can appropriately communicate with our friends vs the way we would communicate with our co-workers. Even more different are the ways we would communicate with our clients and families and even more so, potential clients which we are trying to get to enroll in our facility or those we are trying to problem solve and work through an issue with. Everyone can also relate and agree that we don’t talk to our grandparents the same way as we do our parents, and neither the way we communicate with our friends. I try and be responsive when communicating and first be the kind of communicator they need me to be in the moment – do they need honesty? do they need compassion or to be heard? do they need to laugh or enjoy themselves? I always match what others are putting out OR try and set the tone for the conversation based on the desired outcome or issue at hand.

When we decide how we are going to communicate with different groups, we change our inflection, our volume, our level of formality (or informality) and so on based on your relationship with the person or what you need or desire to accomplish from the conversation. This is why communication is so complicated, because not only are you working on being the best communicator you can be, but also learning how to effectively communicate with others and doing without crossing the line and demonstrating disrespect in any way.

3 thoughts on “Adapting Communication

  1. Megan,
    I really enjoyed your post. I agree with you in that I think most people change the way they communicate with people in different groups. I also think it is different with every person as well. I know that I have a very close relationship with my grandmother and I can communicate with her on some levels that other people would be uncomfortable with if they were to do so with their own grandmother. My grandmother is very open and I can let a few swears fly in front of her where as with other people would never think of uttering the wrong grammar in front of their grandmother. It is all very unique much like relationships.


  2. Great post! i chuckled a little when I read the part about your phone voice. My phone voice is dramatically different from my in person voice, the only difference from you is that on the phone everyone thinks I am a child. I always have to take a minute or two to explain that I am the adult. Especially when the school calls about my brother. My mother rarely answers the phone even when you call her 30 times in a row. So I am the primary contact. As soon as I correct them that they are talking to his sister, I immediately since the hesitation to continue the discussion. In person, however, they always assume that he’s is my child because he’s only five years older than my daughter.


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