You may recall this video of twin boys carrying on a “conversation.” If you haven’t had a chance to see it, check it out here. It is hilarious, and I’m amazed at how they seem to be speaking their own secret language. They really do “get” each other. This adorable video reminds me of the importance of speaking the other person’s language.
Each person is constantly giving us cues and clues as to their preferred communication style. It’s up to you to watch and listen so that you can figure out the other person’s preferences, and then take your message and “translate” it into their language.
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you have to change your expectations, goals, or intended results. What I am saying is that if you want other people to really “get” you, you need to speak their language. For three years, my daughter has traveled to Europe. Obviously, when in Rome, she did as the Romans do and she spoke Italian. Or as Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) from Talladega Nights would say, “We’re in America and we speak American.” This is simply the same concept.
I’m not a text messaging Queen. I guess it’s because my brain goes faster than my fingers can type on those little buttons. But, I know that my kids respond best to text messages. So, when I want to tell them something quickly, I text. I know that it’s their preferred way of communicating. Obviously, texting won’t replace face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball conversations, but when I want to get a quick response, I know that it’s the best method. (The “lagniappe” of using their preferred communication method is that they often text me short, but thoughtful messages, wishing me luck for a speaking engagement, or telling me thanks for all I do for them.)
The bottom line is that if I want my message to be understood and received, it’s up to me to adapt to the other person’s communication style, not the other way around. Pay attention to the way the other person communicates and mimic his/her style. For instance,
Notice whether the other person prefers communication to be:
- Short, sweet, and to the point
- Detailed, accurate, and factual
- Casual, friendly, and enthusiastic
- Thoughtful, methodical, and sincere
The cute little boys in the video aren’t in Rome, but they are definitely speaking a foreign language. The important thing is that they are both fluent in the same language and they are truly connecting with each other.
As a leader, a boss, an entrepreneur, or a manager, are you truly connecting with your team members? Are you speaking their language?
YOUR TURN! What will you:
- start doing,
- stop doing, or
- continue doing
to connect and engage your team members? Use the comment box below to share your action plan with us!
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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication. In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.
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