Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to DrTony@Assessments24x7.com!

How Will You Know the Styles by Letter?

I have focused mostly on face-to-face interactions in identifying and dealing with people in each of the four behavior styles. However, our daily interactions with people take many forms, including "snail mail" correspondence such as letters and cards. And while these are falling out of favor as email becomes more and more integral to our lives, these paper versions of correspondence still hold a very important place in our society. And especially because these forms are still common for more formal occasions, it is important to be able to identify with whom you are dealing when you receive a nice, handwritten letter in your (real) mailbox.

Indirect and Open

How Will You Know a Relater by Letter?

In their written correspondence, Steady Relaters may send letters just to keep in touch or to let you know they're thinking of you. Of the four personality types, this one is likely to send thank you notes for almost anything-inviting them to a party, driving them to the dry cleaners, or saving coupons for them. They may even send a thank you note to acknowledge your thank you note. They are likely to organize their letters, writing as they do their other to do task lists - probably in sequential in-out order. Since they tend to write in a slower, more methodically paced manner, their work tends to follow a systematic outline pattern.

Direct and Open

How Will You Know a Socializer by Letter?

Often, this type overuses exclamation points, underlining, and bold highlighting. You can almost hear her emphasizing those picturesque adjectives and adverbs. Just as the Interacting Socializer tends to speak in a stimulating, energetic way, so does she write. She may also throw in an image-provoking personal anecdote or reference to some mutually satisfying experience. "I'll never forget our adventure on the freeway en route to Los Angeles - in rush hour, of course!" When she's finished a letter or note, she may add a postscript (P.S.), a P.P.S., or even a P.P.P.S.

Caution: These tendencies may not as readily reveal themselves if the Interacting Socializer has learned to tone down her natural flair while conducting business. And there's always a possibility that the secretary cleans up her copy before typing it out, especially if she is a more exacting, less animated behavioral type.

Indirect and Guarded

How Will You Know a Thinker by Letter?

Cautious Thinkers typically send letters to clarify or explain positions. Consequently, these letters may become rather long and filled with data. "I was struck by the similarities between the Noonan and Kilgary lawsuits." But they may also be somewhat reserved or vague. "I'm researching a company's file now that I literally can't talk about."

Or the letter may be on the short side with enclosures, citings, or references to specific information. Whether they prefer the long or short form, they usually concentrate on processing data. They like to cover their bases so they are neither misinterpreted, incomplete, nor incorrect.

Like Dominant Directors, in the interest of time, they may sign personal cards with just their names or with individual mottos, like "In the spirit of growth, Jonathan Williams." Even if you know them well, this type may include their surnames so there's no mistaking who sent this card.

Direct and Guarded

How Will You Know a Dominant Director by Letter?

A letter from a Dominant Director tends to be brief, forceful, and to the point. They may mention highlights of conversations or materials, but they don't belabor them. They may give specifics for your follow-through or raise questions they want answers to now. "The Mulvany account needs to be reworked. I hear he's got a new partner and a different address. Track him down and get the data we need so we can let him know that we've studied his account and we know our stuff."

Even notes and cards take on abbreviated forms and may show little or no indication of feelings. "Todd, hope you're doing well. I'm working hard . . . " I know more than one Dominant Director who signs personal birthday and Christmas cards with no closing, not even Sincerely, but with just his name. Steady Relaters and Interacting Socializers gravitate more toward Warmly, Fondly, or Cordially. But Dominant Directors, perhaps in their efforts to get as many things accomplished as possible, tend to opt for brevity.

Here's to more personal insight,


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