Thinking Out Loud

Communication Styles Teamwork

What’s the big picture look like, Jonas?

Words, Luanne—what words do we need here?

What do you know about our customer, Jeff, in terms of what really matters to them?

How can we line up the pieces to this to make it hang together, Will?”

Are there some symbols that pop to mind, Sarah?

Jon, what values are we really talking about?

These are natural questions that evolve when the members of a project team understand each other’s individual processing/communication styles. The questions tap into the strengths of each one, taking into account a range of skills in different domains. Words, images, numbers, feelings, client relationship, the big picture, the structure—these “languages” come together as this team develops a project for their customer.

Let’s go through them one by one to look at the details.

Jonas sees the big picture because he is visually-spatially strong and literally looks at situations from an aerial view, seeing the relationships between the different parts of the project.

Luanne is linguistically strong so she conceptualizes in words. Her explanations and descriptions are naturally clear and precise.

Jeff is interpersonally driven, tuned into human relationships. He intuitively understands the feelings, motivations, and goals of others. His understanding of the customer is rooted in the emotional connections he develops.

Will’s logical sense automatically lines up processes coherently and efficiently. He understands the sequence of events and has a good grasp of the numbers and how they relate to the flow of the project from beginning to end.

Sarah has a strong kinesthetic, visual-spatial orientation. She usually “gets” the symbolic nature of communication and frequently connects a symbol that draws together the important elements in a project.

Finally, because Jon is introspective (intrapersonal), he understands the deeper values inherent in a situation. He uses his inner experience as a means of connecting to others and gleaning the purpose behind what is occurring.

By recognizing and respecting individual strengths and drawing on those resources, the team gives natural validation to one another and the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. This activates a higher level of creativity and synergy that results in the team being more productive and having, yes, more fun.

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