Have you ever listened to someone and felt like they were speaking a foreign language? Or have you had the feeling that one of your co-workers or employees seems aloof and doesn’t care about the details? How about the person who seems to be all over the place instead of focusing on what is important?
Chances are, you have been in one of these situations. Most of us have experienced them all.
Each of us has a certain way of communicating. We find it easy to communicate with people whose style is similar to ours.
On the other hand, we may find it very difficult to effectively communicate with someone who has a very different communication style than we have.
How do we bridge the gaps that each of our different styles of communication create?
Depending on the differences in the communication styles of the parties to your conversation, it can be a very big deal. When we do not understand each other, we waste time repeating information. People may not feel comfortable reconfirming the point of a conversation, and that can lead to misunderstandings.
If you work with a coach, he or she can help you understand your own communication style.
When you understand your communication style and learn how others will behave in conversation based on theirs, you can proactively plan your conversations.
The art of being an excellent communicator is to be proactive and plan the conversation you are going to have.
Here are three steps that will help you plan the conversation.
- Think of the person you need to have an important conversation with. Is he or she similar or different from you when it comes to how they communicate?
- Is the person:
- Dominant – one who prefers to do most of the talking and a big picture person?
- A very social person who seems to be all over the place?
- An introvert or extrovert?
- Particularly deferential or focused on hierarchy?
- Supportive but hard to get information out of?
- Someone who needs a great amount of detail?
- Plan your conversation corresponding to the style that matches the person with whom you will be communicating.
In the examples above, that would look like this.
- Dominant – one who prefers to do most of the talking and a big picture person
Keep the conversation short and sweet. Stick to the facts.
- A very social person who seems to be all over the place
Allow time to socialize and understand the various impacted relationships.
- An introvert or extrovert
For introverts, ask for input – and listen intently. Know that extroverts will volunteer opinions and thoughts on their own. Listen intently to those as well.
- Particularly deferential or focused on hierarchy
Help them know that respect goes both ways, and that you are there to work together. Focus on the issue, not the position…and on solving the problem, not on asserting power.
- Supportive but hard to get information out of
Provide an outline of the planned conversation in advance if you want their input during the conversation. Give them time to think and prepare. Be careful not to put them on the spot by asking for immediate input in front of others.
- Someone who needs a great amount of detail
Be prepared for and willing to answer questions regarding the details. This is someone who needs to know those details before signing on to the big picture idea.
Knowing your behavioral style and something about the styles of the people you plan to speak with can be of great benefit to you both personally and professionally.
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. Are you interested in talking to Dave about coaching or having Dave speak to inspire and motivate your team? “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.