Susan Cain, in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,
describes a series of experiments by psychologist Solomon Asch in which volunteers were grouped into teams and asked to take a vision test. He showed them a picture of three lines of varying lengths and asked questions about how the lines compared with one another. His questions were so simple that 95 percent of participants answered every question correctly. But when Asch planted high dominating actors in the groups, and the actors confidently volunteered incorrect answers, the number of participants who gave correct answers plunged to 25 percent.
This is one example of the impact different behavioral styles can have on a meeting. Especially when working virtually, recognizing behavioral and communications styles is important.
Here are some tips for communicating to each style:
Do: Be clear, specific, to the point. Stick to business and “the facts”. Come with support material and be prepared to defend it.
Don’t: Tell stories or ramble. Leave issues cloudy or unresolved. appear disorganized or scattered.
Do: Provide a warm, friendly environment. Put details in writing and follow up. Make time for chit chat.
Don’t: Be cold or tight lipped. Control the conversation or not allow time for discussion. Drive only data or facts and figures.
Do: Show sincere interest in them, allow time for personal connection. Present case non threatening. Ask “how” questions to draw out opinions.
Don’t: Overload them with “to-do’s”. Be domineering or demanding. Force them to respond quickly.
Do: Prepare your “case” in advance. Be accurate and objective. Follow rules and regulations.
Don’t: Be too emotional, casual, or loud. Push too hard of have unrealistic deadlines. Exaggerate, or “shoot from the hip”.