We have all heard the quote “80 % of the success we have in life is because of our people skills”. We’ve also heard of the golden rule “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you”( Matthew 7:12). This is some of the best advice we can take when it comes to dealing with others. Honesty, integrity, loving our neighbors (which can be challenging sometimes), patience, forgiveness and kindness are all important. However, when it comes to communication we are going to take the golden rule and raise the bar a notch. It’s called THE PLATNUM RULE– treat others how they want to be treated, not how you want to treat them.
Let me give you an example: what if a coworker who makes decisions based on specific details, facts, research is dealing with another coworker or client that makes decisions based on emotion, what their gut tells them and is too impatient to read all the small details? One person tends to make impulse decisions and the other seems to take forever and holds up the flow because he/she is still analyzing data? One is extremely trusting and more of a risk taker and the other tends to be more skeptical and fears things will go wrong. Do you see where I’m going with this? Their behavioral styles are totally opposite and if they treated each other how they wanted to be treated themselves there may be some head butting going on. There would at least be some frustration, stress and possibly an argument? Sound familiar?
Situations like these happen daily in work places all over North America. People tend to speak to others how they want to be spoken to not how the other person wants to be spoken to. This happens every day on sales calls, customer service issues, coworkers butting heads and most of the time neither have an understanding of how to properly communicate with behavioral styles opposite to their own. I often hear the phrases “they just don’t get it”, “that’s their problem” or “I don’t understand why he/she is like that”? So, we have two choices here, 1- we can do something about it and learn to become a better communicator or 2- continue to bury our head in the sand and blame the other person for not behaving just like us. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it. I see this almost daily. It would be similar to the arrogant American who travels to South America and gets upset because no one speaks English? (I can say this because I’m from the USA and have seen this first hand. It is frustrating to watch) Yes, you will find some people who speak your language, but how much better would it be if you learned some basic Spanish? You would connect with more people if you spoke their language and that is exactly why we need to learn how to adapt and speak the language of the person we are communicating to. Speaking louder and slower doesn’t work either.
Understanding where people are coming from and understanding how they want to be treated or spoken to is an important building block for any relationship. We all like to be spoken to in certain ways. Some like short, direct and to the point conversations, others like emotional and more conversations and want to know how you’re doing, and some just want the facts and nothing but the facts. What impact do you think understanding behavioral styles would have on your business, customers, employees, marriage? Here are a few areas I’ve seen learning behavioral styles help people – with difficult coworkers, understanding customers, spouse, more effective sales calls, improved conflict resolution, increased motivation because you “get them”, building effective teams and learning to play to peoples strengths.
Here are some tips to get you moving toward better communications with others.
Tip 1 – When talking to a D “driver” – be direct and to the point, don’t control the conversation, don’t waste time with small talk. Sit across from them.
Tip 2 – When speaking to an I “ influencer”- make it fun, talk personally first before business, don’t use too many details, sit next to them.
Tip 3 – When speaking to an S “steady” – Speak at a softer tone, ask them how they feel and what their thoughts are. Don’t be demanding and draw out there ideas/thoughts with questions. Sit next to them
Tip 4 – When talking to a C “compliance” – Don’t ask personal questions, give them lots of specifics and details, don’t over promote, don’t move to fast or be unorganized. Sit across from them.
Acquiring the skills to be able to better understand, read, and communicate more effectively with other behavioral styles will make you more effective at what you do and in many cases more likable to people opposite to you.