I'm often questioned about how expressive I am about my emotions, labelled too sensitive. This may appear as a criticism, however really it's a question based upon confusion, why am I different to them. In my corporate career I'd often mention in meetings about how I felt about something to be given questioning looks by my colleagues, not about my point, about why I expressed it from a feeling point of view. There are four communication styles (also known as social styles), knowing which one is your preference and which is the preference of those you are communicating provides you with a massive advantage in creating and maintaining a positive communication, even if the conversation is a challenging one.
The Four Social Styles;
Analytical Style people control their emotions but tend to ask questions rather than give orders. They are focused on accuracy, and they act deliberately to achieve that end.
Amiable Style people show their emotions openly and prefer to ask questions rather than give orders. Relationships, feelings and personal security are important to Amiable Style people.
Expressive Style people show their emotions and speak assertively. They enjoy sharing their ideas and perspectives openly with others.
Driving Style people control their emotions and speak assertively. They prefer to control a situation and are focused on big-picture results.
The above social styles may appear quite different and in one way yes they are, each style is distinctive and shows the difference in how we communicate. However each of us use these social styles daily in communication, we flex between them, often without realising it.
When you know you social style preference, in my case amiable and you consciously flex to adapt appropriately for those you are in conversation with, even a challenging conversation can be friendly and positive.
How to spot you social style preference;
Do you ask questions to find out more
Do you tell your view to find out more
Do you share emotion frequently in communication
Do you rarely share emotion in communication?
You ASK and share emotion frequently
Your social style preference is Amiable
You ASK and rarely share emotion in communication
Your social style preference is Analytical
You TELL and share emotion frequently
Your social style preference is Expressive
You TELL and rarely share emotion in communication
Your social style presence is Driving
Now you have identified you social style preference consider those in your life, where would you place them? Can you spot the 'ASKs' from the 'TELLs'? Its important to note all of these social styles are equally positive, there isn't a best to be or use. Each style enables us to tailor the information and manner in which we express it to match the situation.
For example in times where immediate action is required a clear directive message is required so using the driving style gets the message across effectively and quickly.
Understanding social styles is also a huge advantage when communication breaks down. Understanding how to flex your social styles can redirect a conversation heading towards breakdown or argument back to being positive. What is required is to understand how to flex your social style, how to spot the social style of the other person in the conversation and then which style you need to adopt to recover the conversation and move back to it being positive.
To learn more about the Social Styles workshops I offer please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org