Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas are not being well received? They look great on paper, but somehow you are having a hard time getting your boss or co-workers to support your endeavors. You may find yourself in a position at work where it seems like the tasks you need to be completed by others are at the bottom of their to-do list. Does this mean you’ve become some kind of social piranha at the workplace? Absolutely not. It means you have to look at that old catch phrase; “It’s not what you say but how you say it.”
While researching communication techniques, I came across an article written by Amy Hertz for Oprah.com in November 2007 called “How to Get What You Want from Anyone”. Hertz discusses her own struggle with communication skills at the workplace and reveals that her epiphany came when she worked with communication coach, John Artise. After extensive research and field work with thousands of people, he identified 4 four major communication types: Feelers, Sensors, Intuitors, and Thinkers. Artise teaches his clients to tune into a person’s communication style to identify ways to promote collaboration in the workplace.
Here are some characteristics and communication tips for each style:
- Feelers: The person who uses language to express themselves and loves to help others. The feelers look for empathy to be reciprocated by acknowledging challenges he/she may have. At the same time they like to be reminded of their ability to help people in difficult situations. When you strike a balance of asking for help and at the same time showing appreciation, the feeler will be happy to assist you.
- Sensors: The person who likes to get it done and get it done fast. They often have short attention spans because they are thinking about the deadline at all times. Before approaching a sensor, have the information you want to share condensed into small pieces that can be understood quickly. Any idea you present should give them a feeling that you can help them reduce their workload.
- Thinkers: The person who is very logical, organized, and loves completing tasks. When there are errors in any projects or plans, you can win them over by letting them know that you will help to fix them. Thinkers like to see preciseness in the way others approach their research.
- Intuitors: The person who is all the about looking at the big picture concepts and the future but don’t necessarily want to be part of implementation. They are the idea people who want you to fill in the details because the idea is very clear in their own mind. Known to be impatient with questions, you should let the intuitor talk about ideas at length before questioning them. Then emphasize what you like about the ideas in order to get more details.
It’s not about using persuasion to get people to collaborate with you; it’s about meeting them where they are and building compromise by tapping into their communication and working style.