Different Communication Styles

Different Communication Styles

Welcome to day 24 in the series…

Yesterday we looked at the importance of communicating effectively by learning to manage words, tone and body language.  Today we will look at the impact of different communication styles on how effectively we communicate with each other.

There are many influences on our natural communication style – our personality, our culture, habits learned from people around us, our preferred ways of processing information all play a part.

One of the biggest arguments Jon and I had when we worked together in our first business resulted from a misunderstanding of our different communication styles.  We had a client pitch to work on and I had spent a lot of time creating an approach that I felt would be win-win for everyone. I process information best through hearing words (auditory) so crafting the logic and getting the words out were far more important than the look of the document.  Jon is very visual (as I later discovered!) and his initial reaction was one of horror because there was no obvious structure to the document, the fonts were different sizes, the logo was askew and the lack of consistency in presentation screamed louder at him than the ideas I was trying to convey.

That led to some pretty heated arguments!  I couldn’t believe he could be so petty, ignoring the brilliance of the idea in an obviously draft document.  He couldn’t believe I could be so sloppy, thinking a document like that should not even see daylight before it was better presented.  It was painful, but through the process we both learnt to pause in our reactions and consider where the other person is coming from whenever we are communicating anything.

Research from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) suggests there are four different ways in which people mentally process information and make decisions – through sight (visual), through hearing (auditory), through the senses (kinaesthetic), and through the detail (digital).  Learning your preferred style and if/how it differs from your partner’s will help you chose how to present information in a way that will help them process it more easily, remove obstacles that distract and make better decisions. That way you can “do life together” with a lot less stress and frustration!

Something to think about: If you haven’t already been through an exercise like this, what would you guess your and your partner’s natural information processing styles are likely to be?  How do you find that plays out in how you communicate with each other?

Tomorrow and for the next few days we will share a very simple but powerful model for communicating love, value and appreciation in a way that resonates with each person.  This is life changing stuff! Look forward to sharing this with you in the email tomorrow!

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