Christine Padaric, Author, Executive Coach
I am the owner of Waterloo Coaching Clinic. My goal is to inspire you to transform your beliefs, habits and goals and achieve your desired dreams!
Today I'm going to provide a couple of quick tips to possibly avoid the potential for misunderstandings and awkwardness during a conversation. Misunderstandings and awkwardness can happen because we do not take into consideration that different people have different styles of communication.
Today I’m going to be explaining how you can tweak your conversation style to better match the person you are talking to. This is going to help you if you are a CEO, a sales manager a podcaster or even a mom or dad. These valuable insights can help in any situation. So Let's get started.
We are going to focus on two broad types of people – Thinkers and Feelers. It's interesting to note that there are an equal number of Thinkers and Feelers in society.
A Thinker might not understand or recognize their feelings of others easily - especially when they are aroused because of tension, anxiety or the stress of the moment. As a result, the Thinker may not pick up on other person’s feelings or non-verbal cues and rely solely on the words used in a conversation for most of the meaning. For the Thinker, it’s all about the facts and thoughts. If the "Thinker Boss" has an employee who is very in touch with their feelings, the Feeler Employee may need help in the form of prompting to explore facts and logic as that is not their natural inclination.
So let’s stop for a moment. Without going any further, do you think you are a Thinker or a Feeler? One isn’t better than the other and there isn’t a right or wrong answer.
Ok so how do you evaluate yourself? The easiest way is to look at the words you gravitate towards. This can be in casual conversation, business meetings, you can even glean info from your emails. Look for words such as “I think” or “I feel”.
Thinkers say things like “I thought it over and...”, or “I thought you would consider moving towards...”, or “I think this would be a great idea...”
Feelers say things like:
Now that you think or feel you know your communication style, think about a particular client or employee and try to determine what you think their communication style is. If you have someone in mind and you want to try to improve your communication with them, try these suggestions next time you are speaking with them, especially if you are trying to provide constructive feedback.
If you are a Feeler, it's important to know that Thinkers do not like blatantly “feeling” type questions. For example, a Thinker would bristle at a question such as “tell me how you feel about the suggestions I made to your report." It's just not in their DNA to go down the "feeling road" and you can lose them right then and there.
A better way would be to ask:
Notice that the word "feel" was replaced with "what do you think", "what would it look like" and "what was happening". These are very subtle changes that will give you similar answers without turning off or miscommunicating with a Thinker.
Feelers on the other hand are most comfortable with questions like:
If you are a Thinker, it’s a little easier to ask the Feeler both feeling and thinking questions, however you may not get the depth of response from a Feeler if you are in fact looking for concrete logic in their answer. You may have to work harder for this information as they may not understand specifically what you are looking for.
If you are a Feeler working with a Thinker, you may have to actually work a little harder to come up with questions that are thinker-oriented. Asking clarifying questions is always helpful to ensure you are both on the same page and really do understand what the other is asking for.
Here is a little exercise for reflection:
1. What are some challenges you have experienced in the past or what challenges do you possibly foresee with a particular style of client, employee or co-worker?
2. What might be some new ways you can address this person?
3. If you are a Thinker, what will help you address a Feeler?
4. If you are a Feeler, what will help you address a Thinker?
I hope you now have a greater awareness of whether you tend to lean towards the Thinker style or Feeler style of communication. You should now be able to determine your predominant style, and possibly the style of those close to you both in personal and professional settings. Mirroring or mimicking the language used by others is a great way to to show the other person that you understand them by "speaking the same language" so to speak. I wish you every success as you continue to expand your knowledge and learn about the differences amongst individuals.
If you wish to receive more Conversations with a Coach, please subscribe to my social media channels or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bye for now!
Christine Padaric, Owner/Coach
Hi, I am the owner of Waterloo Coaching Clinic. I specialize in Executive | Business | Life Coaching. A few niche areas include Interpersonal Communication, Human Resource Management Consulting, mentoring, Leadership Training, Processing Grief, as well as Coaching for Parents. Welcome!