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Have you ever had the experience of speaking to someone and, in return, getting either a blank stare or a complete non-sequitur? The easiest explanations are often, “”they didn’t hear me””, “”they didn’t want to communicate with me””, or “”they don’t speak my language.”” But in reality, this type of communication disconnect occurs most often between people who have no common perceptual ground in their relationships.
The Perceptual Style Theory (PST) describes a system in which the six Perceptual Styles form a circle. Each Style has two neighboring Styles, one opposite Style, and two “”one-off”” Styles. The order of the Perceptual Styles clockwise from Methods is: Methods, Adjustments, Flow, Activity, Vision, and Goals.
Methods, for example, has Adjustments and Goals as neighbors, Activity as it’s opposite, and Flow and Vision for it’s one-offs. PST describes the communication challenges we tend to face when we interact with neighboring, opposite, and one-off Styles. When we describe communication with one-offs we often tell our clients, “”it’s like talking to a person in a foreign language””, “”they don’t understand what you say and vice-versa””.
If you’ve ever doubted the existence of different Perceptual Styles, just try to have a casual conversation with someone who is one-off from your own Style. Conversation will reveal totally different interests and values, you will miss each other’s jokes, and attempts at compliments and personal validation will either not be received or be misunderstood. Casual conversation can easily become awkward and stilted, and typically, you’re both glad when the conversation is over.
So what to do when this happens to you? Don’t give up or assume the other person is purposely trying to annoy you! Instead, try these tips to break thru the disconnect.
- Practice active listening:
- Eliminate distractions.
- Focus on the speaker.
- Frequently paraphrase what you have heard.
- Provide feed-back.
- Ask the speaker to paraphrase what you have said.
- Summarize conclusions, decisions, and actions agreed upon before ending the conversation.
- Follow up on and double check the results or progress of any actions agreed to.
- Engage in serious communication in small bites rather than in lengthy discussion.
- Take frequent breaks.
If you follow theses steps, communication with a one-off PS may still be difficult, but it will not be impossible.
Lynda-Ross Vega: A partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., Lynda-Ross specializes in helping entrepreneurs and coaches build dynamite teams and systems that WORK. She is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. For free information on how to succeed as an entrepreneur or coach, create a thriving business and build your bottom line doing more of what you love, visit www.yourtalentadvantage.com