Adapting to Different Communication Styles

Andrea Nierenberg Good networkers are empathetic. They watch and listen carefully to find the communication styles of others. They then accommodate their own style when it is appropriate. This awareness and response to helps you to clearly convey your message and get the best response. There are three basic ways that people process and communicate information:

  1. Visual people need to see pictures or "see it in writing." You often see these people frantically taking notes in meetings and seminars. They generally use words and phrases such as, "This is how I see it," "look at it this way," or "I think I'm getting the picture."

  2. Auditory people learn by hearing. They often listen to entire lectures or presentations without taking any notes. They generally like to ask, "how does this sound?" "Can we discuss this?" or "Are you hearing me?"

  3. Kinesthetic people think in terms of sensations or feeling. They often move their hands as they talk, and respond physically as well as verbally. They like phrases such as, "How does this feel to you?" "I'm comfortable with that idea," or "Are you aware of this?"

To become aware of and adapt to others' communication styles, you must watch and listen carefully. Then, when you feel that you understand their style, carefully accommodate yours. You will find that if you do, they will feel as if you are suddenly speaking their language, and they will be much more likely to respond positively.

Category: Communicating
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