Expectations of the Listener

How do you process your world?

Each of us has different styles of communication based on natural inborn preferences. Take a look at the following illustration...



Isn't it fascinating to see how differently one event can be viewed? Most of us assume that we are all experiencing the same reality and are somewhat surprised to discover that this in not at all the case.

Become aware of your own preference and the preferences of the other people in your world, that is, your spouse, children, friends, boss, staff, associates, etc. and you will become an effective communicator. You will avoid much unnecessary misunderstandings and missed-opportunities and get your needs met while satisfying the needs of others with less effort.

Communication affects every personal and business relationship. Just think of how beneficial this can be. Enrich your relationship with loved ones, enhance cooperation with staff and associates, make more sales; the applications are endless!

Now, take a look at the following tool below. Find yourself, your spouse, your associates and prospective customers and then consider how you present your thoughts to them. Chances are, most of the time, you've approached these individuals through your own style, not theirs.

If your natural preference is to work with a "step-by-step approach" but your boss is one who appreciates "the big picture" well, regardless of how impressed you are with the order and thoroughness of your research, s/he may not hear you, become distracted and/or see you as a proverbial "stick in the mud" totally out of step with the grand vision of how the business will look tomorrow. On the other hand, if you are a "feeler" and your customer appreciates a "bottom-line facts" approach, expressing how the employees will feel more respected and motivated by your proposed strategy will come off as unrealistic and unimportant. In fact, you may be viewed as a"touchy-feely type" who's clueless as to what is important to the operations of a business.

I am not suggesting that we be less than authentic. We can still be ourselves while we consider the communication styles of others. That isn't inauthentic, it is essential.

What's key to get here is that there is no single "right" or "correct" way of viewing the world - simply different. When you embrace the uniqueness of others, effective communication has already begun.

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Many of my coaching practice members who are sales professionals have reported that they have made sales that they believe would not have happened had it not been for this simple, one page awareness tool.

Before your next interaction with the key players in your life, take their styles into consideration and see what happens. I bet you'll be glad you did.

Illustrations Source: Ned Herrmann, The Ned Herrmann Group