Do you ever feel like you are not comfortable communicating with another person? Social style differences may be the reason. Type-differences often trigger negative feelings such as defensiveness and frustration. It’s not that there is anything “wrong” with you or the other person or either of your intentions. We each prefer to think in different ways. It’s commonplace to judge the other person by how they communicate.
Knowing the common social style types can empower you to adapt your communication for an easier rapport. I will share four social styles that cover most people. For this topic, I am using Wilson Learning’s Social Style types.
Let’s start with YOUR social style. Ask yourself two questions:
- Are you more ask-oriented or tell-oriented? Ask–oriented communicators tend to be quieter in the way they speak, more indirect in their approach, ask more questions than tell, and take more time when communicating. Tell-oriented communicators are direct, ask few questions, speak louder, faster and respond more quickly.
- Are you more task-directed or people-directed? Task-directed communicators talk about tasks first and then relationships, share fewer feelings and tend towards being more objective in their decision-making, relying on logic. People-directed communicators start with relationships, then move to the task, share feelings, and are more subjective in decision making – relying more on intuition.
Here are four common types of differences based on these preferences. See which one matches you the best. Then look at those who are different than you so can know how to adjust to communicating better with each one:
- Analytical: This type is task-directed and ask-oriented. People with this style are quieter, indirect, ask more questions, taking more time to think before responding, and they are more objective – using logic to form decisions.With this type, give them conclusive evidence using logic, be respectful and courteous, and support their principles and thinking. They are concerned about the “how” of solutions.
- Amiable: This type is ask-oriented and people-directed. People with this style are quieter, indirect, ask more questions, taking more time to think before responding, share feelings and they are more subjective and intuitive when making decisions.With this type, give them reassurance and appreciation, time to think before expecting an answer, make an effort to be cooperative, supporting the relationship and their feelings. They are concerned about the “why” of solutions.
- Expressive: This type is people-directed and tell-oriented. People with this style tend to express their feelings, are very direct, ask fewer questions, are faster talkers, and respond quickly. They also think subjectively, using their intuition when making decisions.With this type, stay collaborative, making it easier for them to achieve the goal, share thoughts of interest, and support their vision and intuition. They are most interested in “who” has used the solution.
- Driver: This type is task-directed and tell-oriented. People with this style talk about tasks before the relationship, share few feelings and tend towards logical and objective thinking. They are direct, loud, and fast when speaking and ask fewer questions. They care most about results.With this type, listen carefully and thoroughly before responding, keep your communication concise and efficient. Support their conclusions and actions. They are interested in your ideas for options and concerned about the “what” the solution will accomplish.
The best way to adapt to another’s style difference is to know your style first! Just keep it simple and you will find you are judging others less and feeling more comfortable communicating with all types.