Effective communication skill means connecting with the other person in a way that invites them to offer you valuable information as well as willingly receive what you say.
So much can get misinterpreted in a sales call, business meeting or even a casual hallway interaction. To avoid this, successful performers develop the communication skill of understanding personality styles. They learn their own style and the style of the person with whom they are speaking. As a result, they minimize conflict between their two personality styles. For the unaware person, it can quickly disrupt the conversation. This can be easily avoided by following the steps in this post.
First, take a look at the four primary personality styles. Which personality style are you?
You may be described as extroverted, direct, intense and assertive. Your preference is fixing problems and getting results. You can be very commanding and tend to take charge more than follow. You can be very decisive and more of a risk-taker. Under stress, tension or fatigue, you can become belligerent. Famous Director styles are Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump. Is it possible, you are a Director?
You may be described as extroverted, relatable, charming and friendly. Your preferences are interacting with many people and being talkative. You are gregarious and socially out-going. Under stress, tension or fatigue you can become emotional. Famous Influencer styles are actor Will Smith and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres. So, are you an Influencer?
You’re described as introverted, systematic, easy-going and methodical. You prefer a routine-oriented environment based on consistency, predictability and structure. You prefer to do one thing at a time rather than multi-tasking. Under stress, tension or fatigue, you can become quiet and withdrawn. Famous Stabilizer styles are actor Clint Eastwood and singer Norah Jones. Now that you know, are you a Stabilizer?
You may be described as introverted, analytical, precise and detailed-oriented. Your preferences are procedures, standards and protocols. You are a cautious person who prefers to deal with facts and data. Under stress, tension or fatigue, you can become critical. Famous Controller styles are Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs. So, are you a Controller?
A good assessment test can provide you an in-depth breakdown of your unique personality style. Next, follow these simple steps to improve communication:
1. Know Your Personality Style
Here are a few questions to ask yourself: How do I communicate with others? Do I tend to provide lots of details or speak in bullet points? How do I like others to speak with me? How have I struggled communicating with someone didn’t stop talking… or didn’t say anything at all?
The important first step in effective communication is knowing your style. Once you know your style, you can observe how you interact with other styles. So, this takes us to the next step…
2. Identify The Other Person’s Style
What traits do you see in the other person? Are they fast or slow moving? Are they formal or informal? Do they make quick decisions or are they methodical? Are they precise with time and facts? Do they enjoy talking about personal things and are a flashy dresser? Are they intense or easy-going?
These are just a few clues to watch for. So, identify one of the four styles that the person likely fits based on these observed traits. Now you can see the similarities or differences between you in your communication styles. This takes us to the next and final step…
3. Modify Your Style
Once you know your style and the other person’s style, modify yours. This is not mirroring – the technique where you match their actions step by step. For example, they lean forward, you lean forward; they scratch their nose, you scratch yours. That’s old school and ineffective. Instead, shift your energy level up or down to more closely match that of the other person.
For example, if you’re an extrovert, then slow down when interacting with an introvert. Let the conversation breathe. If you’re a Stabilizer or Controller who’s interacting with a Director – speed up. Get to the point, stick to the facts, and avoid excessive details. If you’re an Influencer interacting with a Controller, then be prompt. Do your homework and be prepared to validate your statements with data.
Successful communicators read others exceptionally well. They create conditions for fluid and open dialogue. Part of their success is knowing their style. They recognize traits about the other person and then adjust to match their style. Take this communication skill to heart and you can do the same.
Check out expert Kristi Hedges more information on this topic. She conducted a webinar on five must-have communication skills.