I don’t normally eavesdrop on other people’s conversations but I overheard a conversation between two women in a shop last week and this snippet caught my attention.
Woman: “He just doesn’t listen to me, he’s always looking around while I’m talking! It’s so annoying. He just doesn’t care about what I’m saying”.
Friend: “Ignore it. It’s guy thing, they just do that.”
Is this a conversation you’ve had with a friend or heard before?
There are a zillion reasons why he’s not interested in what she’s saying.
She may be really boring….
The truth is, appearing not to listen is not just a 'guy thing'.
And it’s not just a 'girl thing' to be annoyed about not feeling heard.
It’s actually a really cool insight into how every human is programmed differently.
You are wired to place importance on different behaviours based on your own particular behaviour type.
Behaviour types, human behaviour profiling…I can feel myself getting excited!!
I love this stuff almost more than I love my cats but for your sake, I’ll try to keep a lid on it.
Really quickly…. there are 4 main human behaviour types. These were identified William Marston (1893-1947), an American psychologist, who contributed to the creation of the lie detector.
Even cooler is that William Marston also created Wonder Woman, the best superhero ever (in my opinion anyway).
Wonder Woman is the embodiment of all four of Marston’s behaviour types:
For you, as a mortal, 1 or 2 of these behaviour types are the most prominent, your 'natural style'. These dictate every part of your behaviour, for example how you make decisions, communicate, respond to stress, how you focus, what you hold as important and the level of detail you can handle.
The other really crazy fact about behaviour types is that when we adopt a type that is not natural to us it saps our energy and can make us exhausted, stressed and lead to illness.
So that’s a rough and dirty background to human behaviour.
Have you ever felt your emails or conversations just haven’t hit the mark, or maybe the other person just doesn’t seem on the same wavelength?
Bring on misunderstandings and miscommunication.
About 8 years ago I had a new boss who I really liked and respected but he frustrated me so much coz he would never answer my emails.
I’d send him emails asking for his OK to make this change or update that process and he’d never respond.
After a couple of times, I asked why this was and he told me my emails had way too many words in them. He said it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
So, I started to use bullet points.
From then on, my emails would be short and to the point. The action I wanted and by when, then 3-4 bullet points with the facts.
And it worked!!
I nicknamed him, “Bullet point Man”.
What’s funny is that while Bullet Point Man didn’t appreciate my use of the English language, the guy in the HR Department regularly complimented me on my attention to detail and my thorough email communication.
Why am I sharing this?
By now you will have noticed that we’re all different and there are some people that rub you up the wrong way and some people you can’t seem to please.
To be your most effective self and to get the most out of the communication and relationships with others you need to become flexible in your communication and behaviour.
It’s not about changing everything about yourself to fit in with others….no way!!!
It’s about understanding how you, and those around you, are wired so that you can consider making small adjustments during your interactions – just in those crucial moments when you need to get a point across or influence others.
This is how the 4 behaviour types listen:
D styles listen to short explanations, want to know how it will benefit them, and become impatient if the conversion is dragging on. I styles typically do not listen for too long, and they prefer to be the one that is talking. I personality types like to participate in discussions as a way of socialising. S styles are generally good listeners. They are very patient and pay attention for a long time. They can see things from many points of view and can therefore offer help to others. Even if they disagree with what is being said, the S personality type's non-verbal communication will show the opposite. C styles are very eager to learn if they are interested in a conversation. They have difficulty listening if a conversion is not presented logically and often look for errors.
I wonder which types the woman and her partner, I told you about at the start, are?
Which listening styles do you resonate most with?
Will you share with me?
I’d love to know.
Emma Taberner is a qualified Leadership Coach, Speaker, Facilitator, author and self-confessed Human Behaviour nerd. With over 20 years Supply Chain industry experience and 10 years coaching and mentoring frontline leaders, she is passionate about helping small business owners and their teams to understand how their behaviours determine their leadership and effectiveness in business, relationships and in life. Emma works One to One, with groups, both face 2 face and online.
When she’s not building future leaders you can find her flying small planes, being in the outdoors, growing her own food and hanging out with her husband of over 20 years.
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