At first glance, it seems impossible that I could learn anything about relationships from my company's presentation training. But during the communication section, we learned:
Humans shut off or get frustrated when something is not effectively communicated.
According to my training, there are four types of people out there:
Drivers are direct and don't tolerate nonsense. They don't realize that their straight-forward language can be taken the wrong way. The best way to effectively communicate to a driver is to keep things short and manageable. They don't like to get bogged down in details. You might try something like:
"Do you have five minutes, I need to talk to you about two things".
A driver thrives on one-word answers. Drivers are impatient, and they like to make quick decisions.
Analytical personality pays attention to detail and has a deliberate approach in getting from Point A to Point B. Where a Driver is more interested in just the end result, an analytical thinker cares about the process just as much as the answer. A good way to communicate to an analytical person is to keep things organized in steps and bulleted, and pay close attention to factual information. These types of people love to ask questions.
Expressives are the ones who think creatively. They feel the need to express themselves in some way, and they like to be entertained. They go with gut reactions, and lack structure, and tend to go off on tangents. The instructor told me I was expressive, even though I wish I were a driver. Expressives get bored easily-this makes sense for me.
Amiable thinkers make decisions based on relationships, so much of their existence is spent building relationships. They shy away from making decisions that will hurt people's feelings, so they try to find a way around this whenever they can.
We all have parts of these in us, but most of us have more of one than the other three. Here are a few examples of how the different communication styles play off one another. You'll see that understanding your partner's thinking style may improve your relationship:
Margaret is a driver/analytical. She likes to get things done, and sometimes struggles working with me. I get my work done, but I often wander over to her desk to tease her or tell her a story. She gets frustrated with my willy-nilly way of approaching a project, and doesn't like that I can't read emails that are too long.
My Friend Justin
Justin is driver/analytical, so whenever I get a stupid idea, I bounce it off him and make sure that it's not impractical or stupid. Justin gives me financial/love advice keep me grounded.
My Little Sister and Her Ex
My little sister is a Driver/Expressive thinker and her ex was a total driver. One time the three of us got lost, and he started to come apart.
"Why don't we have directions? Didn't you print out directions," he asked her.
"Hmm. I kind of like to just set out and see if I can get there, or where it takes me," said my sister. Not a good match.
Understanding how to talk to your significant other can make huge improvements in your relationship. Maybe they seem rude when they don't feel like hearing your lavish detailed stories. Perhaps if you scale it back, and keep the important parts top of mind when you talk to them, they will open up and listen.
It also helps in selecting a mate. It is no coincidence that most of my friends have a driver or expressive piece to them. I can sit for hours with an expressive and make ridiculous jokes. Drivers give me the kind of stability and pillar of strength that I need in a friendship, and I can help them see things in a different way. I think my future wife will have some driver to her. But the drivers I know have a huge amiable piece to them as well, so it's a positive experience.
Which of the four types of thinking apply to you? How about your significant other? Does understanding these four types of thinking help you communicate in your relationship? What struggles do you have communicating with your significant others?