People are very different. There will always be some on the same wavelength as us, which makes communicating with them easy, while with others making ourselves understood can be difficult. We naturally communicate most easily with those who are ‘like us’, but to thrive in the world, we need to learn to communicate with anyone.
There are many different ways to classify people and their styles of interaction. One simple way breaks people into three different types:
Assertive people are goal-oriented and value results. They are driven and often speak in short sentences or just phrases. They sometimes even come across as rude as they generally can’t be bothered with small talk or niceties. They may not be so good at people skills but they are excellent at getting things done. When speaking to them, be direct and confident and get straight to the point.
Analytical people value information and stability. They want to know how things work and why, and they need details before they can get to grips with something. They’re often not great at dealing with emotional issues but they are excellent at analysing and processing information. When speaking to them, explain what you want and why in a logical and calm way, leave emotions out of the equation and don’t rush them.
Amiable people value relationships above anything else. They are friendly and chatty, naturally touchy-feely and they love to make people happy. It can be hard to pin them down and they may ask about (and share) a fair amount of personal information before getting to the point. When speaking to them, lead in gently with small talk, share a bit and let them know how they can make you happy.
So which type (or combination of types) are you? None are better or worse than the others and each type plays an important role in our community. Once you know your type, try to identify the types of people you interact with regularly and see if you can bridge the gap. Learning to adapt our communication style is something we can all benefit from – it’s a life skill well worth practicing.
Image credit: Howard Lake via Flickr