Last week in Part 1, I discussed causes for communication gaps and tips that can be applied to close the gap. This week, we'll look at how personality plays a part in communication and how you can adapt your style.
Understand Others ‘Personality Type’
Moving towards a more effective, understanding and friendlier relationship between you and your colleagues requires not only knowing your own personality type and what works best for you, but also knowing others’ and types and characteristics. Learning about personality types, will help you understand what you need to focus on or pay attention to when communicating with each.
Ask the following questions about the person you are trying to communicate with:
- Does this person spend most of his/her time with people or enjoys being alone? In other words, are they Extravert or Introvert?
- Do they mostly talk about details and facts or big picture and ideas? In other words, are they Sensor or Intuitor?
- Do they make decisions objectively based on justice and fairness or subjectively based on compassion and to create harmony? In other words, are they Thinkers or Feelers?
By being aware of your preferences and others, you learn that people aren’t wrong; they’re different. Therefore, knowing personality of yourself and people around you increases tolerance, and helps you communicate more effectively by adjusting your style to their type.
Adapt your communication style
After understanding your personality and others’ personality the next step is becoming more flexible in how you approach communication. If you think working with different personalities may be causing some tension at work, you may want to consider taking a slightly different approach when communicating with your opposite type. Use the following strategies to adjust your communication style:
Strategies for Introverts towards a better communication with Extraverts
- Don’t shy away from speaking your mind. Be assertive!
- Give Extraverts the chance to talk about their ideas face to face.
Strategies for Extraverts towards a better communication with Introverts
- Do not jump between subjects too rapidly. Take a pause.
- Give Introverts notice to prepare themselves before meetings.
- Be clear about your expectations and keep your distance.
Strategies for Intuitors towards a better communication with Sensors:
- Give them a practical view of your ideas.
- Talk about facts and use specific examples.
- Try to base your meetings on clear structures.
Strategies for Sensors towards a better communication with Intuitors:
- Before going into details, give a general overview of the matter.
- Be open to ideas and suggestions and give room for further discussions.
- Let all the thoughts and creative ideas to be spoken and explored, even if they don’t seem practical to you.
Strategies for Thinkers towards a better communication with Feelers:
- Consider how your words can affect people who have a different mindset.
- Be friendly and don’t hesitate to talk about yourself when relevant.
- Be considerate when challenging others.
Strategies for Feelers towards a better communication with Thinkers:
- Avoid giving personal reasons instead of rational ones.
- Don’t take criticism personally.
- Focus on second-guessing and challenging.