Personality Clash? Here’s how to communicate with confidence
Have you ever found yourself working in a situation where there is a clash of personalities?
Working with a colleague you find tricky can often lead to you feeling frustrated, anxious or uncomfortable. The problem is… we can’t always pick our work colleagues. So you’re forced to deal with someone you find difficult.
If you find yourself in this position, what can you do about it?
Rather than let the person frustrate you, there’s a simple technique you can use to help you communicate with confidence.
Once you’ve cracked how to communicate with confidence, people will want to listen when you’re talking. You’ll notice a real difference at work. You’ll be able to control the situation and start to influence the conversation. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become their best friend! But it does mean you’ll have the confidence to deal with them on a professional level; it will make your work life a whole lot easier and enjoyable.
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So let’s get started.
The first question to ask yourself is… how do I naturally communicate? What are my strengths and weaknesses as a communicator?
How do you naturally communicate?
You have your own instinctive way of communicating. It’s your own ‘style’ you’ve developed over time. To communicate with confidence and get people to listen to you, it helps to know what that style is. You need to know if it’s helping or hindering you being confident.
Some people like to be the centre of attention and to talk. Others prefer to watch and listen. You make decisions like these both consciously and subconsciously according to your natural communication style. The way you instinctively communicate will suit certain situations but not others. That’s why it’s so important to get to the bottom of it.
What you will reveal
Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you’ll discover four communication styles. Some people find they mainly possess the traits of just one style or they lean towards two styles. Others find they don’t have a particular leaning and have a balance of all four communication styles.
Why do you get on with some people better than others?
Think about people you work with or socialise with. You’re probably most comfortable talking to or working with the ones who have a similar communication style to you. That’s because people who communicate like you behave in a way you can relate to. They do the things you do and don’t distract you or frustrate you by communicating in a way you don’t like.
The problems arise when you’re dealing with someone who has a different communication style to you. You’ve probably heard the phrase – ‘Personality clash’ – what people often actually mean is ‘Communication style clash’. Understanding your natural communication style is the first step to dealing with this. It will help you to communicate with confidence and get on better with people you struggle with.
Are you the distraction?
It’s possible that without even realising it, the communication style you naturally use could be making some people feel uncomfortable; you might even appear rude to them, or you could just be coming across as a person who lacks confidence. All because of the way you communicate.
And you had no idea of any of this!
This is when knowing your communication style can really help you to come across with confidence. The key though is to use the right style at the right time. Here’s how…
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Being clever about the way you communicate. What’s the secret?
Very subtle changes can make a huge difference. To make an impact, small tweaks to your communication style are often all you need. For example, a simple change to your facial expression, your posture or perhaps your tone of voice has the potential to help you come across more confidently and feel more confident too.
The secret lies in having the presence of mind to adapt your style when you’re with someone who has a different communication style to you. This is one of the main reasons why people don’t get listened to (and their confidence and self-belief take a real hit). These people don’t know when or how to adapt their communication style.
Imagine you’re at work and you’ve been given a new and exciting project. There’s only one problem… you really struggle to get on with John who is one of your colleagues. In fact, you find John rude and aggressive. You and John have never seen eye to eye.
You want the project to be a success so you start by having a meeting to clarify the objectives. Immediately you both disagree on the way the project should be run. From the very beginning, John controls the meeting. He dictates his opinions and doesn’t give you a chance to speak.
You start wondering – how on earth will I be able to work on this project with him? Will we be able to agree on anything? How will I get my point of view across? Will it ever get completed?
This is a typical situation when knowing how to communicate with confidence matters. To come across confidently with John you’ll need to adapt the way you normally communicate. This may not come naturally or be easy for you but remember, people respond better to those with similar communication styles to their own. You need to take control if you want to be heard. You’ll need to adapt your own communication style to match John’s.
When to ‘tweak’ your style
So to really communicate with confidence, you need to mirror the other person’s style. ‘Mirroring’ is a great way to get people to listen to you and respect your opinion. It’s a simple idea; you just watch, adapt to and mirror the other person’s style and behaviour. This is particularly effective when you’re dealing with people you find tricky. The more you mirror their communication style, the more comfortable they’re likely to feel in your presence. Simple! And it works.
To put this into action successfully, you’ll need to be more observant when you’re talking to people. Try to take in as much as you can as quickly as you can about their verbal and non-verbal behaviour. Look at their body language, facial expressions, the volume, tone and pace of their voice, their energy level, enthusiasm, expressiveness and their emotion.
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Ultimately, you’re trying to identify their communication style (you’ll know how to do this when you’ve completed the Communication Style questionnaire because we’ll send you comprehensive information about the traits and characteristics of the styles). Once you’ve worked their style out, you can start to think about how similar, or perhaps different it is to yours. The more different they are, the more you’ll need to adapt.
Of course, they’ll be some people who have a similar style to you – you probably won’t have to adapt a great deal, perhaps even at all, to mirror these people. It’s the people who have different styles to you that you’ll need to work hardest on.
Be careful how you do this though; you don’t want to look as though you’re mimicking the other person’s behaviour; you’ve gone way too far if you do this and you’ll start to look silly. Mirroring behaviour has to be done subtly for it to be effective.
So, having good communication skills can make a massive difference. Tweaking your style makes an even bigger difference. It ensures you don’t distract people. That means they focus on what you’re saying, not what you’re doing.
And… they listen.
Personality Clash? A Simple Way To Deal With A Tricky Colleague – Infographic
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