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by Sandra Prior
My wife, Julie, and I decided to throw a party. To me, that means a guest list of 45. To Julie, it means four couples, max. That’s where the agreement came to a tire-smoking halt.
Brian Klemmer, author of ‘The Compassionate Samurai: Being Extraordinary in an Ordinary World’, chalks it up to our different personalities. Klemmer recently devised a simple test for determining key personality types. He says that by taking the test, you can improve your communication.
His test is as easy as being honest with two basic questions. Are you more formal or informal? More dominant or easy going? Julie and I plotted our answers and there we were. I’m a ‘promoter’ and she’s a ‘supporter’.
Right away, Klemmer, sees potential for conflict. Supporters makes decisions based on relationship maintenance, so Julie might acquiesce to conflict even when she doesn’t want to. He knows the type; his wife is the same. Knowing this, I’ve trained myself to ask twice. It’s basic, but it helps her know that the relationship is safe and she should be honest and state her own desires.
Here are Klemmer’s suggestions for turning this simple exercise into a serious tool for improving your communication with anyone in your life. It all starts, he says, at home.
Speak Her Language
If she’s an analyst, speak slowly and give her all the facts. If she’s a supporter, talk about family and friends. Controllers are the obvious A-types. Money and power are their measuring sticks, so focus on results.
Plan for Conflict
Opposite personality types have the most trouble communicating, because your likes are opposite (a supporter dislikes confrontation, but a controller can’t abide indecisiveness). Identify these relationships and develop strategies for speaking to the other person’s needs.
Try on a New Personality
Role playing is like stretching. It gives you a greater range of motion. His suggestion; the next time you’re eating out, if you’re an analyst, order like a promoter and make your decision within 15 seconds.
You may have a controller’s way of looking at relationships, but there’s a better way to get what you want than by controlling a conversation. It’s just a smarter way to live, says Klemmer.
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