How to adapt your communication to your interlocutor?

The role of managers is evolving but communication remains the main activity: how to adapt it to the person you are dealing with?
Tips for adapting your communication to your interlocutor
Adopt best practices for each process
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The manager is the cornerstone of a professional organization. He supervises his team but he is also in front line with the customers; he reports to the general management, he relies on the operational services (production, after sales service etc.), he collaborates with the HR and the general services, he must maintain harmonious relations with his counterparts and his loyal collaborators... In short, he must adapt to a multitude of interlocutors. Here are some tips on how to manage this challenge in all circumstances, even if you are not a communication virtuoso.

Identify the communication preferences of your interlocutor

"Know thyself" said Socrates... And he was right, because knowing oneself is to anticipate one's own reactions, and therefore to communicate better with others. Getting to know your interlocutors is also eminently useful for the same reasons... To help you understand the main character traits of the person in front of you, you can rely on the " Process Com ", a communication method that was born in the United States in the 1970s. Its author, Taibi Kahler, defined six profiles, which, in a professional context, will develop very different reactions. Using the Process Com reading grid allows a manager to decipher the dominant profile of his interlocutor and to find the right tone, to adapt his communication. 

What are the different profiles to which you can adapt your communication?

  • The empath is compassionate, warm and sensitive. They are more interested in being recognized for who they are than for what they do. Under intense stress, they are prone to making big mistakes and victimizing themselves. Approach him by touching the emotional chord. 
  • The workaholic is organized and responsible. He is focused on the objective to be reached and devotes all his energy to it. They have a great need for recognition. They hate the unexpected, which is a source of disorganization. Under intense stress, he can fall into over-control and present risks of burn-out. Always maintain a professional attitude with him, avoid affect and emotion, remain factual... There is no need to take too many oratory precautions or to get bogged down in periphrases. 
  • The persevering person is observant, attentive, dedicated, conscientious and reliable. They enthusiastically commit to a task if they see meaning in it and believe in its merits. He wants to be recognized for his beliefs and to be valued for his work. In cases of extreme stress, he loses all tolerance and seeks above all to impose his beliefs. Show him, by rephrasing his words, that you accept his opinions, even if you do not agree with them. 
  • The dreamer is calm, thoughtful, contemplative. They have a great capacity for introspection and easily project themselves into the future, but they have difficulty taking initiatives. Under intense stress, they block themselves. He needs clear and precise directives. Do not hesitate to push him to action by using a directive, even imperative tone.
  • The Developer is charming, resourceful and highly adaptable. They enjoy high doses of excitement over short periods of time and challenges. Under stress he may take excessive risks. Address them in a very direct manner, highlighting their performance. 
  • The rebel is creative, playful, spontaneous. Their motivation is directly linked to their relationships with their environment. They seek interaction in stimulating environments that allow them to express their creativity. Under stress, he has difficulty assuming his failures and may blame them on others. Avoid being overly judgmental... It is best to adopt a relaxed, even joking attitude, even if you have to deal with very serious matters. 

Know how to use assertiveness in your communication

Assertiveness is a relational quality that is highly valued by a cross-functional manager. It allows him/her to be aware of his/her limits and to assert them while avoiding aggressive, submissive or domineering behavior. In the context of professional relations, assertiveness allows one to avoid conflict situations... Or to manage conflicts when they cannot be avoided!

A manager who uses assertiveness optimizes his communication by making it non-violent and increases the quality of his relationship with his interlocutors by facilitating mutual understanding. 

Thus, the adaptability of a manager's way of communicating is one of the keys to communication within a team composed of different profiles, but also one of the keys to intergenerational communication. The latter tends to become the skill that all managers must master.

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