Here is a brief discussion of equality as a communication strategy to add to those already posted.

In interpersonal communication the term equality refers to an attitude or approach that treats each person as an important and vital contributor to the interaction. In any situation, of course, there will be some inequality; one person will be higher in the organizational hierarchy, more knowledgeable, or more interpersonally effective. But despite this fact, an attitude of superiority is to be avoided. Interpersonal communication is generally more effective when it takes place in an atmosphere of equality.

Here are a few suggestions for communicating equality in all interactions, and especially in those involving conflict.

<  Avoid “should” and “ought” statements (for example, “You really should call your mother more often” or “You should learn to speak up”). These statements put the listener in a one-down position.

<  Make requests (especially courteous ones) and avoid demands (especially discourteous ones).

<  Avoid interrupting; this signals an unequal relationship and implies that what you have to say is more important than what the other person is saying.

<  Acknowledge the other person’s contributions before expressing your own. Saying “I see,” “I understand,” or “That’s right” lets the other person know you’re listening and understanding.

<  Recognize that different cultures treat equality very differently. In low-power-distance cultures there is greater equality than in high-power-distance cultures, in which status differences greatly influence interpersonal interactions.


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