Different communication styles – building bridges.

Apr 8 / Jen Tyson

We all communicate differently; this is a good thing!

However communicating with multiple stakeholders, team members, contractors or whoever you must communicate with on any given workday can be tricky at the best of times. Throw something like a pandemic in the mix and it takes things to another level all together, working remotely, contactless workplaces, next level health and safety rules etc.
When you are communicating with your team, colleagues etc, remember that according to this model everyone will fit into at least 1 of 4 key communication styles under pressure. Some will be a mixture of a couple of these styles.

This is a profiling model* that I have used for years with various leaders, managers, and teams, it is quick and easy to understand. In this article I am giving you the quick overview of the four styles and what they mean, in brief.
This powerful, fast and insightful profiling tool has helped so many teams transform their communication for better outcomes, more productivity, less misunderstanding and strong relationships overall.
NOTE: We need everyone! Everyone in a team has value and can contribute to a high performing productive team and outcomes.
Here is how the styles may play out under pressure: (remember everyone also has history and filters based on their own personality and experiences in this mix as well)

Doers tend to be high achievers and leaders and drive necessary results. They also tend to be impatient and insensitive to others.

Doers like to be in control. They like quick action, and they like to see results. They like to get to the point with little formalities. They don’t care for details and love finding shortcuts. Otherwise, they get bored easily.

When communicating with a DOER style: 
  • Be clear, specific, brief and to the point.
  • Stick to business.
  • Be prepared to support your ideas and work.
Thinkers tend to excel when they like their work and can think through all angles and contingencies. They can appear to be combative, critical and sarcastic.

Thinkers love to gather information. They enjoy reading and presenting their findings in detail. However, they need to mentally rehearse before they present, and take the time to evaluate and wind down after the show. They take their time making decisions but stand by what they decide once they do.

When communicating with a THINKER style:
  • Prepare your "case" in advance. Be prepared for a debate.
  • Stick to business.
  • Be accurate and realistic.
Influencers can lighten up even the darkest of moments. They can be inspirational, understanding and encouraging. They can also be wishy-washy in their decision-making and seem impractical. They are often late on assignments they do not like.

Influencers like to verbally process their thoughts so they welcome situations where they can “think out loud” with others. They like to interrupt others, especially when they are excited about the topic.

When communicating with an INFLUENCER style:
  • Provide a warm and friendly environment. Do little things to show your care.
  • Don't deal with a lot of details (put them in writing).
  • Ask "feeling" questions to draw their opinions or comments.
Connectors are reliable team players who look after everyone in their “tribe.” They are consistent and caring. They can also be stubborn and non-supportive of pushy people and what they judge to be impulsive ideas.

Connectors count on others to set the tone and determine direction. They are consistent and reliable once given their responsibilities. They like to work with others instead of alone but take their time trusting and allowing new people to join their established groups.

When communicating with a CONNECTOR style:
  • Begin with a personal comment, break the ice.
  • Present your case smoothly, non-threateningly.
  • Ask "how?" questions to draw their opinions.
The bridge:
You have all heard the saying ‘build a bridge and get over it!’ Well I use this in my training around the 4 communication styles. When you have two very opposing styles, and two individuals who both want to improve the way they work together and communicate, then it is a bit like standing on opposite ends of the bridge to each other. Agreeing to meet in the middle, because this is never about one style becoming more like another, it is more an awareness of the other styles needs and defaults, and agreeing on some compromises or even understandings that will help make the workplace more productive and easier to work in. If both people can agree to do one or two things slightly differently, then that is meeting in the middle of the bridge.
This doesn’t work if someone refuses to get on the bridge all together. That is often recognised as a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.

Tips:
  • Be careful when communicating in your own style with someone who has a completely opposite style to you, communication styles are like languages, if you are speaking/communicating in one language it may be misunderstood or not understood at all by someone with a different language.
  • When putting out communication either written, signs, or verbal to teams or large groups of contractors or individuals ask yourself if you have covered all the different styles.
Example: An email that will serve both a doer and a thinker - Clear subject line with intended action or required response “ACTION – PLEASE read and respond” things like that, then the first line must be what you want them to do and understand with some quick bullet points, you can then add in the detail below that to cater for the thinkers and those who want lots of detail.
Add to the mix, some people are visual, some are audial, some are conversational, some have English as a second language, and if you are dealing with wider groups in the community you may also have varied levels of literacy to consider.
If you don’t know, ASK how a person would like to receive the information best.

This article was written as an excerpt from our book, Unleash your superpowers, chapter 7. If you want to dive deeper into this topic we recommend jumping in and taking our powerful online course, which includes group coaching sessions each month, Unleash your superpowers here.

To get a copy of our book when it comes out click here.

Arohanui, 
Jen Tyson

*credit for this profiling tool goes back to the original creator. Dr Marcia Reynolds - https://covisioning.com/  

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