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Communication Meets Thinking Styles

I have quite a few clients whose English is their 2nd language. They feel language is a barrier to showing up and want to learn to communicate more effectively.

I often tell them language might be a small barrier, and confidence is the key to showing up, especially while they are presenting or brainstorming.

Regarding communicating with others, here are some tips on HOW, regardless of whether English is your 1st or 2nd language.

  1. Listen to the burning questions
  2. Answer the burning questions with a similar style

Conceptual thinking style

The burning question is – have I seen all of the possibilities?

Tip – share with them your vision and ideas. No details are needed.

Analytical thinking style, 

The burning question is – do I have the pertinent facts?

Tip – give those data and credibility with the approach of problem-solving.

Social thinking style, 

The burning question is – how will I affect others?

Tip – give them the impact analysis on people with a relatedness approach.

Structure learning style, 

The burning question is – will I be in control?

Tip – give them all the details and guidelines so they feel they are in control.

We often prefer 2 or 3 of these thinking styles. Listening to the burn questions and responding accordingly will help communication.

For example, If you want to give all details to a conceptual person, you will lose her. If you approach someone with relatedness while he is looking for data, you are wasting his time. If one doesn’t say hello first, his focus is not on social, and a structural thinking person doesn’t like surprises.

The Emergenetics test has been translated into 10 languages. When I took it in English, Conceptual and Social were my preferences – aligned with my top strengths in strategic thinking and relationship building (Strength Finder 2.0). When I re-took it in Chinese, my preferences became Conceptual and Analytical – which resonates more since I often get more energy through problem-solving. I am working on balancing between analytical and social styles. This tool makes me a better coach.

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