Call me stupid, but it was only then that I noticed my dramatic style was a little too present in my personal life as well. I'd surrounded myself with people who were, I thought, tough enough to take my unfiltered style of self-expression, but I hadn't noticed that my behavior could be shocking to those outside my nice little coterie of family, friends, and colleagues who somehow found it worthwhile to put up with me. And even within that circle, my vociferousness could wear a little thin.
So I started using the tactics Artise had laid out—identifying someone's type, speaking their language, then asking for what I needed using the style that meshed best with their type (see "Can We Talk?" page 136). If my husband was overwhelmed at the office but I wanted him to do something right away because we were on a deadline for our taxes, I had a choice. I could say, "I need you to do this now" and begin a battle of wills in which he lets me know he's too tired to think about it. The other option would be to try to move him into Feeler mode. Artise has noticed that's where people are more empathetic, more emotional, and more likely to help you. If I began with, "I'm sorry things are rough," my husband would then be more willing to cooperate when I said, "but I know you're the one who can figure out whether or not these accountants are the right people to hire."
I've found that this kind of attunement works even on strangers. Say there are ten people behind you in line at the drugstore, the register won't accept your $5 cash-back reward, and the credit card reader is down. You can push the cashier to hurry up and figure it out—likely leading her to tell you where to stick it and you can forget your cash-back reward. Or you can recognize that she's under pressure. She's probably in Sensor mode, and you try to draw out her Thinker by saying, "Boy these machines are terrible. Is there another one that's working? Maybe the manager can help us." She'll likely begin to come up with a way to fix the problems and make sure you get your five bucks.
It can be difficult to show restraint—especially if you're like me and you have none—but the discipline pays off. Alice, a friend who went through the same training, was having a tough time with her Sensor fiancé, Tom. She wanted to change wedding planners—the one they hired was giving them her version of a wedding, and Alice's own dream was going down the tubes. Tom was stressed at work and felt it was too late in the game to start from scratch. Instead of arguing that he wasn't respecting what she wanted, Alice recognized that a Sensor would respond best to a plan for making the switch easily—which she came up with. Once she showed him her outline, he agreed to the change right away.
It might seem that when you give up arguing for your point of view ("I want this done now," "I want you to finish ringing up my purchase and give me back my money," "I want to change wedding planners and you have to agree"), you're sacrificing your needs. But the opposite is true: By shifting gears to speak in another person's emotional language, you're dropping the impulse to get your way by imposing your style on them. This isn't easy, but the surprise is that by giving up, you get even more of what you want.
Can We Talk?
So how do you know whether you are talking to a Feeler, a Sensor, a Thinker, or an Intuitor? Artise teaches people to listen for clues to the other person's communication style—or the style they've slipped into for that particular moment—so you know how to get compromise and cooperation from anyone, at work or at home. To become a black belt communicator, use the cheat sheet on the next page.
We Hear You!