First, by Knowing about the communication styles is helpful in two ways. First, when you know your own default style, you can spot the best opportunities to use that style and build up your strengths. You can also see where you have gaps and where you can improve by learning from the other styles.
Second, once you know about the styles, you can spot someone else’s style and adapt the way you communicate in order to get that person on board with you. Eventually, you can learn how to use each style comfortably and maximize the chances that others will follow your suggestions. This is at the heart of great leadership and it is why knowing about the communication styles is a powerful element of great leadership.
Here are some suggestions on how to communicate effectively with each of the four communication styles.
When you communicate with a Driver, be sure to tell her about progress to goals, the actions to be taken and solutions to problems. Avoid chitchat and focus on the bottom-line. Be clear, concise, focused, relevant, decisive and efficient. When working with a driver, here is what you would say if you encounter a problem that may interfere with getting to successful results:
“I know you are pushing to finish this by tomorrow with great results. Based on my research and investigation, I think there might be a hitch. I have some ideas on how to solve that. Would you like to discuss this?
Because the Analytical person asks for data, information and facts, it is important to be precise, specific, thorough, prepared, accurate, rational and orderly in dealing with her. If you want to get the Analytical person’s attention, you might say something like this:
“The research and data seems inconsistent with our initial concept. I have two ideas that would improve the quality and timeliness of the project. I need 15 minutes of your time. Can we meet today at 4:00?
Expressives thrive on vision, stories and analogies and love to have fun while working on projects. Therefore, when communicating with an expressive person, be sure to focus on the big picture. Deliver your message in a way that is enthusiastic, expressive, friendly, flexible and open to possibilities. Avoid getting bogged down in too many details!
“I’ve got a fabulous idea to make our project fabulous and knock it out of the ball park. Have you got a minute to talk?”
Your amiable friend or colleague cares deeply about the relationship. He is interested in information about others’ skills and interests, valuing input from others and welcoming feedback. In dealing with the Amiable person, be sure to be warm, relaxed, involving, caring and inviting. This is the person to go to if there are tensions on the team, whether that is a string quartet or a work group! A way to get his attention is to say:
“I have a strong feeling that there is something bothering you about the team. Would you like to hear my thoughts on how we might help everyone out here so that we can make sure that everyone is on board?
With a better understanding of each style, see how you can master these styles and become a dynamic and powerful communicator and leader!