Are You An Optimistic Driver On The Two-Way Communication Highway?

Positive communicators are optimistic drivers on a two-way communication highway. Their way is only one among many to travel. In contrast, negative communicators are closed-minded drivers on a one-way communication highway. Their way is the ONLY way (and they’re happy to tell you so).

How would you rate your communication skills? When the heat is on, do you rate yourself as a “bad” communicator…a “good” communicator…or a “great” communicator? Positive communicators (whether Empathizer or Instigator communicators) realize that what they feel, think, do and say REALLY matters. Talk isn’t cheap. It’s a vital investment in solving pesky people problems to get where all in the talk car need to go.


Self-opinions can be flattering or self-defeating. In fact, they can either be accurate or inaccurate. Often, how you think of yourself and whether that opinion is positive or negative may or may not be true or shared by others in the world of communication. Often in the real world of real results, how you’re experienced by your talk partners is VERY different than how you think you’re coming across. This is what a recent “keep it simple” Dr. O’Grady survey revealed about your talk skills attitude:




As a group of working and talking citizens, 90% of us believe that we are good-to-great communicators. But what might these numbers reveal? Does this mean we are honest…open…willing to tell the truth…able to handle the hot potato of conflicts without throwing bad talk in someone’s lap…accurate about the negatives and positives alike…people with high Emotional I.Q.’s or able to hear and use negative feedback to improve ourselves? That’s the hundred dollar question!


A positive communicator chooses to deal with negative life events in positive ways that accentuate the positive and diminish the negative. They seek to add energy to relational communication vs. drain the life battery of others with nega-talking while traveling along on the communication highway. Here’s a quick list of what makes anyone an optimistic driver on the two-way communication highway in my opinion:

  • You don’t “talk big” (or small) since you consider words to be living and breathing “statements of action”
  • Your word is your bond…you don’t engage in power plays that are control-centered, not relationship-centered
  • Since your word is your bond, you seek to be accurate in all of your conversations…including with the kids
  • You do what you say you’re going to do in a timely way…you’re ready to go on a trip when you say you’ll be ready
  • You don’t make promises you can’t keep to keep people off your back in the talk car
  • You don’t make time-wasting stops along the journey
  • You don’t “stuff” your likes and dislikes inside….to be socially viewed as a “goody go-along good guy or gal”
  • You are daily working on a plan to become a better communicator…you are on a mission
  • You practice new communication tools and driving skills…and get corrective feedback
  • You seek to improve your communication skills even when you think of yourself as “great”
  • You don’t blame others when you get lost or for any results you are getting
  • You have an open attitude to mapping out new personal changes without defensiveness
  • You accept the blame and shame game is lame and so you steer clear
  • You use goals to establish a communication destination…and stick to them when times are tough and weather stormy

Inaccurate communication involves a one-way street of unhealthy anger or guilt trips that beget pessimistic communications, the kind that are closed-down, ineffective and extremely unhelpful. In short, obstacles are thrown up in front of your talk car that you can crash into…road blocks that can and do become dispiriting and that stall out your best goals and intentions.


Negative emotional states (feeling blue, anxious, angry, guilty) act like fog that makes traveling at normal speeds on the two-way communication highway impossible. The problem: To get rid of negative emotions, we often hand them off to another and “stick” them in the mind of a co-communicator. Empathizer-type communicators are prone to picking up negative or positive emotions from others that do not belong to them. Instigator-type communicators are prone to inciting (passing along) negative emotions in others that do belong to them and need to be worked through. Either way, your emotions affect your optimistic vs. pessimistic attitude and are acted out on the relationship stage for better or worse. The solution: to be responsible and “flip in” when you are experience emotions that make you feel vulnerable, insecure and inadequate.


In a previous article, I recommended that “good” communicators ask what grade they are getting from their talk partner, and why. I realize that most of you won’t follow this simple exercise because it can be uncomfortable. Thus, I think it’s safe and prudent to say that both Empathizer and Instigator communicators would receive a “C” in the Course on Communication, largely due to driving willy-nilly in whatever direction their communicator car points them. My solution is for you to study (and use) the communication system in “Talk to Me” so you can talk on purpose, accurately and positively, and deal with negative life events in productive ways that benefit everyone involved in your life.

Dr. Dennis O’Grady believes SO-o strongly in the cause and effect of communication that he simply can’t stop writing books about the topic. He’s the founder of New Insights Communication in Dayton, Ohio, and author of the newly published “Talk To Me: Communication Moves to Get Along With Anyone” available only on this site.

Previous New Insights Communication Polls have included “The Elephant Stampede”“What Makes A Good Leader Great?” “Does Your Attitude Work To Make You A Better Leader?”“What’s Up With Your Confidence Level?”“When You Argue, Are You Always Right?” … “Are You Shy or Stuck Up?”… “How Do You Handle Anger?”…“Are Men or Women Better Communicators?” “How Easily Are You Frustrated?” Read more about these challenging, growth producing topics, and other topics of personal and relationship interest here four minutes every day of the week to make change happen fast and last.

Dr. Dennis O’Grady provides communication coaching and professional development training in Ohio and surrounding states.

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