Last week, we were introduced to the preferences of four groups of people. Anne Miner explained that directors and socializers think fast and talk fast while relaters and thinkers think and talk at a more moderate pace. And, while applying The Platinum Rule® would mean that these people would adapt by speeding up their rate of speech and their decision-making, Anne pointed out that people in the relater and thinker groups are simply not able to speed up their processing or how fast they talk.
So, now I have two questions to ask Anne:
How will I know what to do?
What can I do when someone talks so fast that I cannot keep up with them?
Remember, I am an owl, and I take my time to process information; when I speak, the pace is quite moderate.
Anne welcomed me to her office and invited me to sit down. "Where would you like to start today?" she asked.
"Secondly, this all takes practice!
"What I really want to know is how to figure out who's who? Who speaks and thinks fast? And who doesn't?" I replied.
"Ah, there are several ways for you to identify another person's preferences. Of course, we could have everyone complete the self-assessment but, that is not really practical.
"So, we will gather clues from the external, observable behaviors of others. I know you have been observing, and you will be aware of how most conversations begin.
"What is the first thing most people say to each other?"
"How are you?" I answered.
"Right," said Anne with a smile.
"And, what have you observed about the answers to that question? Is there a standard response?"
I thought about that for a minute or two, running through the conversations I had observed in my head before answering. "No, not really."
"Most people reveal themselves when they answer this question.
"Remember last week, when we talked about how each group approaches the decision about where to have lunch? How people answer the question, "How are you?" provides valuable clues.
"Relaters will give you a brief answer, and they will immediately ask, "How are YOU?" because they are genuinely interested in knowing and supporting you.
"Socializers will be so glad you asked because they have so much to tell you about what is going on in their world. They will not likely ask you back, and you may have difficulty getting them back on track.
"Directors will give you a one-word answer (e.g., fine, good, busy). They will not ask you back. They want you to get to the point.
"And, finally, the thinkers. The thinkers will pause while they think, "How well do I know this person? What will you do with this information?" Depending on their internal answers, they will then give you a one-word answer, OR they will deliberately fill you in on all the details of what is going on, especially what's going wrong, at a moderate pace!"
I shook my head and asked, "If both the thinkers and the directors could give me one-word answers, how will I know which is which?"
Anne laughed as she answered, Yes. This is a very important point. The thinkers give themselves away with the pause. So, when you ask, "How are you?" take note of whether the answer comes immediately or whether there is a pause."
"Remember, thinkers and relaters speak at a moderate pace while directors and socializers talk more quickly. The first thing for you to do is match their pace as you continue the conversation; if you can't go faster, speak fewer words."
And that's all we have time for today! Next week we will explore more ways to adapt to other people's preferences so you can treat them the way they want to be treated!