No matter what we do in life, we invariably find most of our problems arise through our interactions with others. Be they family, friends, colleagues or clients, the ability to get on with others makes the difference between success and failure, stress and calm.
Sometimes the problems are a function of seeing issues from totally different viewpoints. We might be a big picture person dealing with a highly detailed counterparty. Common sense is not common! The detailed person seems bogged down in the details and the big picture person seems up in the clouds, detached from reality. Some people are very focused, bottom line, time is money types who are constantly pushing hard. They struggle with more slow paced people who prefer to get to know someone, before they do any business with them. The person more focused on relationships struggles with what they perceive as pushy individualistic behavior.
There is no right way here, just different preferences about how we interact. So if we find ourselves dealing with a detail oriented person, we will need to go into more detail than we would normally. We will need to marshal data, facts, expert opinions, statistics etc., to bolster our opinion. If we are dealing with a big picture person, there is little point in burdening them with the micro detail. They resist it and prefer to brainstorm possibilities, to think about future strategies and we should join them in doing this.
If they are time is money types, then don’t waste their time with small talk. We need to get right down to business and to give them alternatives from which to make a choice. We will need to lift our tempo when we are with them to match their high energy output. If they are people oriented types, then we should be calm, reduce our energy a bit and focus our discussion more on how this decision will affect the people involved. They will want to have a cup of tea together to discuss things and we should do that.
We have to be flexible, able to switch our communication style to suit. If you are thinking, they should be doing the switching to suit me, let me know how that has been working out for you so far! We will have a much less stressful life if we find ways to get on their same wave length.
Does this mean we can’t disagree with others? Of course. It is more how we react to these differences, that determines our success in building relationships with all different types of people. When we hear something we don’t like, the quick draw instant response is a bad idea. The distance between our ear and our mouth is too close, so often the first thing that pops into our head, pops out of our mouth. Invariably, this is not our best considered response. If we accept that people are different, we are not perfect and that our first response may not be the wisest, we will do a lot better with people.
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