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Forbes speaks on SOCIAL STYLE: “Want to Influence Others? Find Out How They Interact”

The Year in Social Intelligence, a round-up of articles and advice to help professionals start 2019 successfully

Strong communicators understand people. How do you figure out other people’s predominate communicating style without getting frustrated? Don’t lose patience, give up or throw in the towel too early. Instead, read this Forbes article where Christine shares insights on personalities and how people interact, that will improve your communication both at work and home.

Want to Influence Others? Find Out How They Interact


I was once fortunate enough to watch a rainbow appear. It grew and shimmered, and as we drove toward it, its color, hue and impact changed.

People and rainbows have much in common. Both have many aspects, are structured in shape and can be complex because they’re filled with nuances and variations.

Have you ever tried to catch a rainbow or been mystified by surprising changes in people? Would you agree that it’s your perspective, knowledge and skill that impacts your experience with others?

I am not a scientist, and I can’t help you catch a rainbow, but people and personalities is my area of passion and strength. So, let’s look at this complex world and discover tools to strengthen your people and communication skills.

Social Styles

Personality assessments can be traced back to Plato. There are many different variations, including Myers-Briggs, True Colors, Enneagram or assessments based on the studies of Karl Jung. All seek to categorize character traits so as to better understand both ourselves and the people around us.

My go-to resource is the Merrill-Reid Method, which focuses on our social traits. Knowing what our dominant trait is and how to interact with staff, prospects and clients who may or may not be similar gives us an advantage in the business world. Here’s how it works.

Using the Merrill-Reid Method to understand personalities, there are four major types we can identify to help us understand the core characteristics of our prospects. It’s rare to be 100% one personality — most people are a mix. But people tend to default to one core type.

• Analytic

• Driver

• Expressive

• Amiable

We encounter all these social styles in our interactions. If we only worked with people whose primary position was similar to our own, we would miss 75% of our communication and influencing opportunities. Imagine the impact you could have on your team and operations if you were to use the best levers to reach people’s core communication style. Learning and applying this knowledge of how people think, what they need and how to work with their style will put you on the fast track to success in business.

The Analytic

Analytics are polite yet reserved. They are patient, ask many questions and are highly detailed. They opt for facts and statistics and are slow decision makers — they can get stuck without all the pertinent facts. They like to feel like they are right, are sticklers for managing time and are bottom-line driven.

The Driver

Drivers are “do-it” people. They’re quick to act, have a lot of energy and know what they want and how to get it. They prefer to work independently and like to focus on the positive. They are not conflict-averse (they’ll look you straight in the eye) and can be brusque and tactless at times. When it comes to drivers, be prepared for language that is direct and concise. They look for immediate results.

The Expressive

Expressives are good communicators and storytellers. They tend to be warm and enthusiastic and make decisions based on hunches. They focus more on generalities than facts and figures and may exaggerate or leave out details. They tend to be animated with their voice and hand gestures and enjoy being with people. As natural relationship builders, prepare for them to be quite talkative and ask you personal questions.

The Amiable

Amiables are diplomatic, social, patient and emotionally expressive. They need to build rapport early but will avoid direct eye contact with you. Like Expressives, they can be animated, and they want to build a relationship. They are known to be highly sensitive, soft-spoken and have the skill of and blending well into many situations.

Your Influencing Toolkit

Knowing your dominant style gives you perspective on yourself and your ability to see and understand other’s styles.

Can you identify your predominant social style? Chart your strengths on the following key items:

• Are you a quick decision maker or a slow decision maker?

• Do you ask people what to do or tell them what to do?

• Are you animated in conversation or reserved?

• Are you fact-focused or comfortable with generalizations?

• Are you an independent worker or do you prefer group and teamwork?

• Are you results-focused or do you like to have options and choices?

Given these social styles, what do you notice about others and their methods, behaviors and preferences? What’s their type? Now, how will you communicate with them?


Published source: July 23, 2018: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/07/23/want-to-influence-others-find-out-how-they-interact/#451dfc16153f

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