I Beg Your Pardon!

by Anne Good
I Beg Your Pardon! What you say is not always what is heard

How often have you been in a business or social setting where what you said to someone is clearly not what they heard and the communication process — and relationship — just deteriorates?

As a coach, I regularly meet people who are having trouble communicating with their colleagues, boss or partner.

Everyone has his or her own communication style and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a great starting place for anyone suffering communication meltdown.

Let’s look at two of the Myers Briggs dichotomies and explore the preferred style of each:

  • Likes evidence (facts, details, examples) presented first
  • Wants practical and realistic applications shown
  • Relies on direct experience to provide anecdotes
  • Uses an orderly, step-by-step approach in presentations

  • Likes suggestions to be straightforward and feasible

  • Refers to a specific example

  • In meetings, is inclined to follow the agenda

  • Likes global schemes, with broad issues presented first

  • Wants possible future challenges discussed

  • Relies on insights and imagination to provoke discussion

  • Uses a roundabout approach in presentations

  • Likes suggestions to be novel and unusual

  • Refers to a general concept

  • In meetings, is inclined to use the agenda as a starting point

  • Prefers to be brief and concise

  • Wants the pros and cons of each alternative to be listed

  • Can be intellectually critical and objective
  • Convinced by cool, impersonal reasoning

  • Presents goals and objectives first

  • Considers emotions and feelings as data to weigh

  • In meetings, seeks involvement with tasks

  • Prefers to be sociable, friendly

  • Wants to know why an alternative is valuable and how it affects people

  • Can be interpersonally appreciative

  • Convinced by personal information, enthusiastically delivered
  • Presents points of agreement first

  • Considers logic and objectivity as data to value

  • In meetings, seeks involvement with people

Look at the differences in how each type responds! If you are a “thinking” type communicating with a “feeling” type, then your brief and concise words are going to come across as unfriendly and unsociable. On the other hand, if you are an “intuitive” type communicating with a “sensing” type then you are going to be talking around general concepts, using your imagination, whereas the sensing type needs examples and hard facts so he or she just won’t get it.

It’s not surprising that communication is such a difficult thing to get right, and yet it is what we spend our days (and sometimes nights) doing!

The MBTI is the most widely used personality assessment in the world. Developed over 50 years ago using the Typology theory of Carl Jung, the Swiss physician and psychologist, it is taken by more than 2 million people every year and has been translated into more than 30 languages. It’s a great tool to help us understand our preferred way of communicating (among other things) and in becoming clearer about our own preferences we have the benefit of learning to listen more acutely to others.

Anne Good is a professional Executive, Career and Life Coach and conducts session face to face or via Skype.