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

How the Four Styles Communicate in Groups

Each style communicates in ways so different that it's no wonder misunderstandings occur. Meetings are especially problematic when people of various styles get together, as everyone may bring a different agenda with them. On the other hand, a mix of styles provides different viewpoints on issues, which can lead to more effective and well-rounded solutions. The key is to accommodate everyone's personality traits so that everyone feels comfortable speaking up with ideas.

Indirect and Open

Relaters seem generally interested in discussions throughout the whole meeting. They may ask many questions, trying to understand others' points of view or what follow-through will be expected. They naturally act as synthesizers, go-betweens, or translators, by saying things like, "Now, if I understand what Jane and Tom meant, it's that the next step is to..." or "To get back to Samantha's comment, it seems that her idea dovetails nicely with what Bob mentioned a few minutes ago."
Direct and Open

Socializers communicate frequently and evenly throughout a meeting. Their comments are more likely to include jokes and to cover a range of topics so wide that the Socializers may appear to be hopping all over the place.
Indirect and Guarded

Thinkers usually just quietly observe until they fully grasp an issue and have figured out in some detail what they want to say and if they will feel comfortable saying it. They often begin by asking a few, well-chosen questions. Then, if the climate seems receptive, they will build up to a longer statement on what they believe is the answer.
Direct and Guarded

Directors tend to communicate with short, task-oriented comments, particularly at the start of a meeting when they like to assume control and set the meeting in motion. More than the other styles, they are concerned about having a clear agenda and setting the tone. They like to keep the discussion on track and on time.

They usually talk most at the beginning and end of meetings, perhaps losing interest in the middle. They also may jump into a discussion, bringing lots of energy and a sense of urgency. Then they may pull back, often in frustration with the failure to make rapid, tangible progress. Before long, they begin to call attention to how much time has gone by. Soon, they are pressing for closure and for concrete decisions.

Here's to more personal insight,


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