Thinking Out Loud

The CS Framework Revisited

The Communication Styles Framework illuminates how you process information and, therefore, interact with others. The seven processing dimensions (or components, as they are called) combine differently for each individual to form a unique communication style. All seven are active ingredients in each individual, but two or three are most easily identified (Core Processing Strengths).

Other communication styles paradigms are based on personality, roles, and/or gender. These approaches look more broadly at factors that influence specific behaviors, for example, being passive, assertive, steadfast, or compliant. Introversion and extroversion are, perhaps, the most common traits.

While it is useful to be aware of these roles and personality factors, they are general and so don’t offer specific information about the underlying drivers of our communication. The CS Framework, however, does identify those underlying drivers and offers specific tools to help insure successful communication.

Here’s a personal example: Socially I am an introvert, yet my core processing strength is the Interpersonal Component, which combines with my auditory and kinesthetic processing strengths. This means that I seek engagement with others (thinking out loud) and rely strongly on how the message sounds and feels. Others hearing this description may have a hard time making sense of it. It’s my unique understanding of how I go about processing information, expressing myself, and listening to others. Because there are as many communication styles as there are individuals, stereotyping or pigeonholing is futile.

Although the CS Framework is based on individual strengths, it also helps us understand how our strengths can get us into trouble.  Overemphasizing a strength without recognizing that others may not have the same strength has the potential for derailing communication.  For me that might take the form of expecting too much engagement from others because I have such a strong interpersonal component to my communication style.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to challenge yourself by focusing on a less developed component (for me that would be either the logical or visual-spatial) to see what you notice.  This will broaden your self understanding and encourage you to be more aware of how others experience communication, both expressively and receptively.


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