Breath of Clarity

Comment #2: Connecting with Different Styles

Original Post by Elizabeth Dowling:

After completing the self assessment, watching the videos and reading the texts for the week, I feel comfortable saying, I fall within the analytical/cool blue style. This social style is defined and described to others as quiet, logical and sometimes reserved or cautious. I like to think things through, move slower, and process A-Z before making a decision. To become more efficient I should be cautious of my tendency to focus on perfection or weaknesses. Instead, I could focus on listening empathetically, offering positive reinforcement of others and developing relationships. If I were in meetings with the other social styles, I know that I will adapt my style for each. When talking to a driver, I should be short and to the point, and talk about results and plans to get there. If in a meeting with an expressive, I would tap into more emotion, share how much this project means to me and show enthusiasm. Last, when speaking with an amiable, I would really make sure I am actively listening.

I know that I struggle with red/driver personalities most. I feel like their extroverted personalities can talk a lot and in my experience, there is always an inbalance in talking. In addition, with my age, this also adds a variable that can make me more submissive in meetings at times. I’ve always been the youngest in rooms with senior leaders and tend to actively listen. My analytical style exaberates this because I want a perfect contribution that is highly regarded to professionals with 10-20+ years of more experience. Also, with my personal experiences, it was hard for me and my style to interrupt as they talk on for awhile, while I try to transition topics. I like to be brief and if there isn’t an agenda and a more informal call, I can just let them talk off topic. It depends on my mindset, but sometimes it’s easier for me to just listen and keep a good rapport with my colleagues.

For people working with someone with analytical social style I recommend for them to remember these tips to support this style are:

Take your time

Communicate clearly and concisely

Don’t pressure for answers

Respect their process

Ask directly for their feedback

Give them space

My Comment:

Hi Elizabeth,

Great job identifying a way to counteract focusing on weaknesses is by listening empathetically and offering positive reinforcement of others. Particularly, amiable folks are going to appreciate it a lot. Perhaps, it is going to result in becoming less self-critical, as well. In terms of your aim to develop relationships, remember that, as the Social Styles Handbook said, “communication – the transfer of information – is based only in small part on the words we use” (Wilson Learning 2004, 10). I was impressed by research showing the percentage of weight three factors hold in determining effectiveness of communication. Specifically, “7 percent of the effectiveness of communication is based on the meaning of the words we use, 38 percent of the effectiveness is based on the way we say the words we choose, and 55 percent of the effectiveness is based on nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions” (Wilson Learning 2004, 10-11). Considering that you struggle with red/driver styles the most, it would be awesome for you and Paul to touch base, as he mentioned making an effort to improve communication with analytical people.

We are similar in that we can be more submissive in meetings and tend to actively listen. Since I have been in mostly entry-level roles and have been in many different positions for a short amount of time, I am accustomed to being the information absorber as opposed to offering my knowledge and end up wanting to be perfect. It is also hard for me to interrupt people who are rambling on. I definitely recommend that, as Wilson Learning (2004) described it, we need to jump outside our comfort zones by being more expressive. Perhaps, we can start by doing that with nonverbal cues and say fewer words in a way that takes up a lot of space. In turn, we would be achieving more balance in dialogue with team members.


Wilson Learning. “The Social Styles Handbook.” Nova Vista Publishing. 2004.