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FAQs: How to Customize Your Communication

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Each of us is wired differently to give and receive information in various ways. These differences in communicating are part of what makes each of us unique.

2 people talking

Image: Sue Miley

What would happen if you could customize the way you go about communicating with others, personalizing it in the way they can best receive it?

That’s one important benefit of the Leading From Your Strengths profile and Marriage Insights profile. These detailed 20-page reports accurately describe the user’s habitual patterns of behavior, thought, emotion, and communication. The reports are especially helpful when it comes to communicating with other people – particularly those who communicate differently than you.

Uniqueness in each of us makes it easier to hear information when it is presented in certain ways … and more difficult to hear when presented in others. The report shows you what  keys to look for in order to customize your communication with others in ways they can hear it.

Two Keys to Customizing Your Communication

You need just two pieces of information in order to customize your communication with another person.

1. You need to know the person’s most well-defined natural strength.

By identifying the other person’s most well-defined natural strength, you will understand how he is wired to receive information. Ask to see his profile report. In which of the four areas (problem solving, processing information, managing change, and facing risk) does he have a clear dominant score? Take note of it

2. You need to know tips for communicating best with a person who demonstrates that strength.

We all have “gifts that differ according to the grace given to us” (Romans 12:6). Once you are aware of the other person’s most clearly-defined area of strength (problem solving, processing information, managing change, or facing risk), you can customize your communication to fit that bent.

Use these frequently asked questions to help you learn how to communicate best with people who exhibit strengths that are different than yours.

FAQ #1: When it comes to problem solving, what are the best ways to communicate with a person who demonstrates Aggressive traits?

This person can be ambitious, forceful, decisive, strong-willed, independent and goal-oriented. When communicating with him, be clear, specific, brief and to the point. Stick to business. Be prepared with support material in a well-organized “package.”

Note that you’ll create tension or dissatisfaction with this person if you talk about things that are not relevant to the issue. Don’t leave loopholes or cloudy issues. Avoid appearing disorganized.

FAQ #2: When it comes to processing information, what are the best ways to communicate with a person who demonstrates Optimistic strengths?

This person can be magnetic, enthusiastic, friendly, demonstrative, and political. When communicating with him, provide a warm and friendly environment. Don’t deal with a lot of details – put them in writing instead. Ask “feeling” questions to draw out this person’s opinions or comments.

Note that you’ll create tension or dissatisfaction with this person by being curt, cold or tight-lipped or by attempting to control the conversation. Try to avoid a focus on facts and figures, alternatives, or abstractions.

FAQ #3: When it comes to managing change, what are the best ways to communicate with a person who demonstrates Predictable traits?

This person can be patient, predictable, reliable, steady, relaxed and modest. When communicating with him, begin with a personal comment to break the ice. Present your case softly and nonthreateningly. Ask “how?” questions to draw out his opinions.

Note that you’ll create tension or dissatisfaction with this person by rushing headlong into business. He doesn’t respond well to domineering or demanding interchanges. Avoid forcing him to respond quickly to your objectives.

FAQ #4: When it comes to facing risk, what are the best ways to communicate with a person who demonstrates Structured traits?

This person can be dependent, neat, conservative, perfectionistic, careful and compliant. When communicating with him, prepare your case in advance. Stick to business. Be accurate and realistic.

Note that you’ll create tension or dissatisfaction with this person by being giddy, casual, informal, or loud. He won’t respond well if you push too hard or are unrealistic with deadlines. This person doesn’t respond when conversations are disorganized or messy.

Customized Communication: Is It a Crutch?

What would you say to the argument that knowing a person’s strengths in order to communicate with him is at best a crutch — and at worst manipulative?

Naturally, check your motives to be sure your intent is for understanding.

Beyond that, know that forming your thoughts into words that another person can hear takes care, purposefulness, and wisdom – qualities that God desires. Rather than a crutch, information about how another person communicates is a tool that helps you build bridges.

Solomon put it well: “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips” (Proverbs 16:23, ESV).

Leading From Your Strengths (LFYS) Profiles empower Christian leaders, churches, and ministries to take this step – to discover and use your God-given strengths and be stronger for it individually and together.

Communications Tips (in chart form)

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