What do cars and communication have in common? When you tune up your car or your communication style, both run more smoothly. There is less room for breakdowns. Familiarity with how you communicate brings up the adage, “What makes the difference is not what you say, but how it’s SAID.” Consolidating the speaking styles from around the world, Toastmasters brings you the how of what is SAID:
• S upportive
• A nalytical
• I nitiating
• D irect
Parsing out the four methods listed in the project, see if you can find yourself in any or all of these categories.
As a Supportive Communicator, you are an active, patient, listener.
You may appear indecisive at times because of people pleasing.
Ask for more detail or information if needed. Your voice counts.
The Analytical Communicator is cautious, precise, and disciplined.
You may be perceived as a perfectionist.
Socialize with others for them to experience your human side. Try being an Initiator.
The Initiating Communicator is sociable, enthusiastic, and persuasive.
Your energetic, expressive nature could cause others to believe you talk more than listen.
Listen. Let others share their opinions and thoughts.
The Direct Communicator is efficient, focused, and goal oriented.
You might be perceived as demanding or impatient. (Impatient? Me?)
Allow others to share their feelings and explain the details.
The Path and Project, Presentation Mastery, Discover Your Speaking Style provides deeper understanding of these techniques as strengths, as challenges, and how they work together to bring harmony with others.
At the outset, comes the Discover Your Communication Style Questionnaire. Thought-provoking, personal questions, regarding how you are perceived by others and how you rate yourself - designed for new awareness. A central theme is: How do you see yourself? After taking the quiz, I came to know what I did not know.
Using house imagery, my rebar is an introvert. No matter how much I dress up my “house” or exterior, inside is an introvert. I need time to analyze arising circumstances. After evaluating the conditions, I engage with support. A supportive and encouraging person, I was sure Analytic and Supportive were my best.
Major surprise “Direct” and “Initiating” took first and second place! But recollecting my recent loud inquiry, “Does the Literature Person need help?” “Haven’t we seen him for a while!” I could see where even this introvert can be very direct and initiating!
Try the SAID formula for Table Topics for your next Toastmasters meeting. Each member verbalizes in their own way how they relate with the world. The best one came from an Analytic/Direct Speaker: “My father used to say, ‘There’s an army missing a drill sergeant.’”
As with many things in life, too much of anything can be too much. What makes a style an asset or a challenge is a balancing act. You will note the solution in all four styles includes “others.” Through others we find ourselves.
A tuning device I would add is to Pause. You may have heard, “Look before you leap.” Try, “Pause before you speak.”
• P ostpone
• A ctivity
• U ntil
• S erenity
• E nters
As a “Direct/Initiator,” vigilance and the power of pause are important factors in selecting when, where, and how to speak. A pause and a breath (or two!) create the space to adjust your message and creatively tailor your communication style to match the people you meet.
Supportive communicators welcome a calm, steady approach. Provide time and reassurance to express their concerns, and to make decisions.
Analytical communicators like data. Present organized information with time to process what they heard.
Initiating communicators are the “people persons,” who value interaction. Allow time for socializing with time a time-limit. When it is time to move on, move on.
Direct communicators prefer to get to the point quickly and succinctly. Solution oriented, give information in “bottom line” terms.
Understand your speaking style and you gain discernment on how others communicate. Knowing communication styles also improves listening habits. Genuinely listen to where others are coming from, and you readily tune into their frequency. You have the resources to successfully meet anyone at their level.