Friday, June 10, 2011

Communication - Read Your Audience (Part IV) - Colors

Communication - Read Your Audience (Part IV) - Colors
by Lee__ on 07-13-2010 at 04:22 AM (252 Views)

"Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." -- George Bernard Shaw

Excerpted from Please Understand Me II
by David Keirsey 1998

Originally Posted by David Keirsey
If I do not want what you want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong.

Or if I believe other than you, at least pause before you correct my view.

Or if my emotion is less than yours, or more, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel more strongly or weakly.

Or yet if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, let me be.

I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up changing me into a copy of you.

I may be your spouse, your parent, your offsping, your friend, or your colleague. If you will allow me any of my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, then you open yourself, so that some day these ways of mine might not seem so wrong, and might finally appear to you as right -- for me.

To put up with me is the first step to understanding me. Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. And in understanding me you might come to prize my differences from you, and, far from seeking to change me, preserve and even nurture those differences.


1. Orange - Energy

2. Red - Structure

3. Blue - Emotion

4. Green - Knowledge

This is the system I'm going to use for this blog.

It's a personality test system, so people tend to use Colors to label people, as in, "Bill Gates is a Green," and "Oprah Winfrey is so Blue," and "Martha Stewart is an obvious Red" and "Evel Knievel must have been an Orange." Not a big deal, although arguments could be made either way. Again, a subject for another blog or discussion. I fall into that habit too at times, though I actually prefer to look at it from a Situational perspective, meaning that I try to look at it as a situation or task specific evaluation label, rather than a permanent individual person label, and I try to recognize and remember that people respond differently and exhibit different preferences at different times for a variety of reasons. 

There are only four categories listed there and some 6 billion+ people in the world. We're not all going to jam neatly into those four little boxes and stay there no matter how nicely color-coded and labeled they are or how intent we may be to force it.

Want to know more, Darcy? 

Next installment coming up...

Updated 01-05-2011 at 03:11 AM by Lee__
Tags: communication, personality tests, psi shrinkers, team


Darcy - 07-13-2010 04:26 AM
*antsy dance*

Lee__ - 07-13-2010 04:31 AM

Looking very Orange today, my dear.

Darcy - 07-13-2010 05:06 AM
I'm tagging you as a Blue/Orange combo. Can't wait to read the breakdown of each color

Lee__ - 07-13-2010 05:25 AM
A bold, early move. I love it!

Lee__ - 07-13-2010 07:38 PM
And if it looks familiar, yes, it's basically MBTI/Kiersey for Dummies, so to speak. It's a simplification for the shorthand necessary to make it portable, practical and usable for real world application on a daily basis.

Communication - Read Your Audience (Part III)

Communication - Read Your Audience (Part III)
by Lee__ on 07-13-2010 at 01:46 AM (160 Views)

"Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." - - George Bernard Shaw

I am more than a little skeptical of personality tests and their usage, I must confess, but that is probably a subject for another blog or a post in the Carl Jung's personality test thread.

Icebreaker Activity, Neat Trick
That said, I used them a lot as a corporate trainer. Turns out personality tests are a great training tool. They are terrific ice breakers. Naturally. Our favorite subject, at least for many of us, after all, is ourselves. And they're a pretty nifty parlor trick.

Common Language
They make an excellent basis for what trainers like to call "common language," which basically means, "Let's all get on the same page and call it the same thing in order to better understand each other and not be confused by moments of, "So when you say 'X,' do you mean what I mean when I say 'X' or what that guy over there means when he says 'X'?" or "Can we all agree to call it a 'coalesced object' and not 'that Rubiks cube looking thingamajig'?" It's an agreement on terminology in order to facilitate more effective and efficient communication. Basic personality tests are great for that. And the simpler the personality test, the better it is as a tool for the purpose of common language.

Illustration, Reminder, Communication
Personality tests also serve as both an illustration and a reminder that people are different and therefore give and receive information differently. They are a great basis from which to start a discussion about strategizing effective communication. Emphasis on start.

Lasting Image, Association
Ever seen someone do the old time management efficiency illustration with a jar of rocks, pebbles and sand? Instant wow factor, instant recognition, instant understanding and instant common image burned right into the memory banks. Boy does it stick with people. Basic personality tests are like that.

KISS, Colors
It's a bit cumbersome, potentially awkward and definitely annoying to walk around identifying people as INFPs or ESTJs and so forth and then working out a communication strategy for the 16 personality types in daily conversations. I'm not actually recommending that. But I still think it is helpful to have some idea of general communication cues to watch for and respond to...and I think a basic personality test like Colors at least starts a conversation about how to do that. Also, the more complex systems tend to get individuals thinking solely about themselves and for too long for discussion or training purposes. (Have you seen how long the entire description for each personality is?) Colors is about as basic as it gets and because of that it tends to be popular, it tends to pull people out of paperwork and makes it easier for them to think in context of community.

Common Colors
It also tends to have a lot of variations. Like I said, it's popular. People like to play with it. So yeah, we're going to need to take a moment to work on common language so we are on the same page about what color represents what communication style. Won't that be nice?

Part IV coming up...

Updated 01-05-2011 at 03:12 AM by Lee__
Tags: communication, personality tests, psi shrinkers, team


Darcy - 07-13-2010 04:06 AM
You just love leaving me hanging, don't you?

Can't wait for part IV!

Lee__ - 07-13-2010 04:14 AM
I do.

Communication - Read Your Audience (Part II)

Communication - Read Your Audience (Part II)
by Lee__ on 07-06-2010 at 05:55 AM (223 Views)

"Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." - - George Bernard Shaw

✤ Are you a fan of the The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment?

✤ Do you prefer the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS)?

✤ Are you more comfortable with the simple Colors?

✤ Do you think psychometric questionnaires and self-assessed personality tests are a load of hogwash?

✤ Are you familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains?

✤ Are you completely unfamiliar with any of it?

I'll accept a "yes" answer on any of those questions listed up there. What matters is that you accept the fundamental idea that people are different. Billions of us little buggers on the planet. Come to terms with the fact that there are some variations out there.

One of the KEY variations is in how people receive information. Once you've accepted THAT, then you can figure out how to tailor your message so the chances it will be EFFECTIVELY and MEANINGFULLY received will be greatly increased. Of course that means that you will have to accept the idea that you NEED to tailor your message.

That's a lot to accept. It's okay. I understand. Take your time and give it some consideration. Let me see if I can help.

Tailoring a message so that it actually gets received means understanding the recipient of the message enough to deliver the message in a way that person can hear it. Really well and truly hear it. You don't know everyone you communicate with, so how do you understand each person well enough to tailor the message so you can be sure he or she will hear it?

You could ask. Seriously. Some people know exactly what works for them and are quite happy to tell you.

You could also look for cues.

Some people have a primary learning style that is auditoryvisual or kinesthetic. This means they tend to pick up information better by hearing it, reading it or doing it. Everybody learns best with a combination of all three, but we all have a primary learning style too and that can be a good thing to recognize if you want to effectively communicate information.

Some people have a primary motivator that is based on energystructureemotion or logic and knowledge. This means they are motivated to hear information better if there is energy, structure, emotion or logic behind it.

If you can surface these style preferences in the people you are communicating with, then you can GREATLY improve your chances of accomplishing your communication goals.

Think about people you work with, whether it's at your job, charity, home or what-have-you. Are there some people you just know you'd better go and speak to face-to-face in order to get their attention? Are there some people you just know you'd better send an e-mail or memo to and let them have a day to ponder the information before you talk to them about it? Are there some people who are moved by your investment in your project and your need for help, whereas others could not seem to care less until you point out what is in it for them?

Any of that sound familiar?

If not, never mind.

If so, good. Part III coming up.

Updated 01-05-2011 at 03:15 AM by Lee__
Tags: communication, personality tests, psi shrinkers, team


Just Jordan - 07-07-2010 12:06 AM
Did I miss Part I?

Very interesting! I have to run for a bit, but back later for a better read (skimmed it just now) and possibly commentary!

Lee__ - 07-07-2010 04:04 AM



Lee__ - 07-12-2010 11:27 PM
Carl Jung's personality test

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® at The Skeptic's Dictionary

Forer effect

Updated 07-12-2010 at 11:38 PM by Lee__

Communication - Read Your Audience (Part I)

Communication - Read Your Audience (Part I)
by Lee__ on 07-01-2010 at 09:12 PM (166 Views)

What's your goal?

1. Do you want to spit something out and say, "there, I said it"?
2. Do you want to leave 'em guessing? Leave yourself a loophole or an escape hatch?
3. Or do you want to convey some information to another person or group of people in an effective manner that may actually effect change of some sort?

The answer matters.

The first one (1) is common to petulant teenagers and frustrated, unsupported and/or untrained managers. I'm not sure what anyone really gets out of it other than to check off an item on a to do list or to get the chance to say "so there" and "nanny nanny boo boo."

The second one (2) is a good one for lawyers and magicians. I worked as a legal secretary for a couple of years and the first few months I was there, the lawyers would say, "Would you please stop editing and clarifying our documents? Your communication skills are excellent, but we WANT to be vague and confusing. We're doing it on PURPOSE." A significant learning moment for me there. Sometimes people use our language to confuse, rather than clarify. Unfortunately, that second one is also a commonly used one for people who are themselves confused or uncertain. They're doing it on purpose too, only with their fingers crossed.

The third one (3) is for the rest of us. The majority of us...the majority of the time. Most of us, when bothering to communicate, want to actually communicate something to someone and do it effectively with a good result. If that's the case, you might want to consider putting a little thought into your who are you communicating to?

Communication is NOT one-size fits all.

And that old adage you learned in Sunday school, the Golden Rule..."Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is not so golden when it comes to communicating with people. All people simply do not receive information the way you do. Pounding them over the head with your preferred communication style when they are just not hearing you is an exercise in mutual frustration.

George Bernard Shaw is supposed to have said, "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." He was a playwright. The man knew something about language and communication.

So if your goal is to convey some information to another person or group of people in an effective manner that may actually effect change of some sort, then you might want to tailor your message to the "tastes" of the recipients. You might want your audience.

Anyone disagree?

Anyone agree?

Anyone have any ideas on how to read your audience?

Lay it on me.

Updated 01-05-2011 at 03:15 AM by Lee__
Tags: communication, personality tests, psi shrinkers, team
Categories Communication


dadatic - 07-02-2010 06:09 AM
I want to convey information in an effective manner, but I also want to have an escape hatch just in case. There, I said it.

Lee__ - 07-02-2010 06:47 AM
Lawyer, magician, criminal or escape artist?

MrsBo - 07-02-2010 12:50 PM

Originally Posted by Lee
Lawyer, magician, criminal or escape artist?
Aren't they all the same?

dadatic - 07-02-2010 03:02 PM

Originally Posted by MrsBo
Aren't they all the same?
Yes. They are all the same:

A lawyer is the same as someone who practices or studies law.
A magician is the same as a person with magical powers.
A criminal is the same as a person who has committed a crime.
An escape artist is the same as an entertainer who amuses the public by escaping from restraints.

Lee__ - 07-02-2010 08:30 PM
dada is too clever by half...or in this case, a whole.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Communication - The SMART Kind

Communication - The SMART Kind
by Lee__ on 06-30-2010 at 01:47 AM (333 Views)

Good communication is a passion for me. So what better topic to blog about. 

There's a really old chestnut that continues to withstand the test of time and use. It gets presented a lot in management and sales training seminars, but it's really an excellent general communication tool applicable just about anywhere. It's also very easy to remember and use. It's a two parter. 

1. The Motivation Cycle. 

Picture a circle. This thing is in constant motion. It's not linear. You just keep cycling through each part of the process in order.

1. Set expectations.
2. Inspect progress.
3. Give feedback.
4. Reset expectations.

2. SMART Expectations


Any expectation you set should be a SMART one.

It should be specific. Not general and vague and open to multiple interpretations and much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair or complete and total confusion while everyone either runs about in opposite directions or plops down and does absolutely nothing but grumble or try to get control of the remote for the TV.

It should be measurable. How else will you know if the thing was accomplished? It doesn't have to be on an InD level with charts and graphs and data and analysis. Don't overcomplicate the thing. If you want, for example, dadatic to get on Skype voice with a bunch of forum whores, then it's easily measured, isn't it? As soon as you hear his voice on the Skype call, you've measured it. But you have to let him know your intentions and that you want him to be there and when. "Hey dada. I'll be there Saturday at 3pm SL time (PST) on Skype at this Skype address and if I don't hear your sexy voice I'll be so very disappointed." That's the trick.

If you want me to help you with an event in Second Life, then you let me know specifically what you want..."Lee, I'd like you to be the hostess and greet people as they come in the door and tell them about the games we are playing." Specific, thank you. "I'll be there doing the DJing, so I'll be focused on the music and will look to you to catch all the people who arrive." Measurable. Yes. You'll be there too and you will know if I'm greeting people or going AFK. Got it.

It should be achievable. There's no point in telling me to build a sim or region in Second Life or telling me to make a pink cocktail dress for an event. I don't have the skills. I don't have the first clue on how to begin, let alone finish. There's equally little point in telling me to buy a real-world yacht for a forum whore meet-and-greet vacay. I don't have the cash. Make it something I actually have a chance at accomplishing. Anything else is cruel and unusual punishment.

It should be results-oriented. Telling me to alphabetize M&Ms, for example, is busywork at best and a special kind of torture at worst. And it won't make me likely to listen well to much else you have to say. I, like most people, do so much better if I know WHY I am doing something and that there is a value to what I am doing and what the context is to what I am doing. It not only motivates me, it empowers me to make better decisions about what I am doing and that leads to better results.

There should be an expressed time component. When does it need to be done? When is this party you want me to host? When do you need this sim built or this dress created? Critical bit of information there.

An example of a SMART expectation would be:

Steph, would you make a white transferable and copyable RLetc logo t-shirt for human male and female Second Life residents for an RLetc Bay party we want to have in August? I'd like to hand them out as free gifts, but also have them so the staff can be wearing them to promote the site. I'd like to have the shirts by August 1. If you could drop it in my inventory by then, I'd appreciate it. Thank you.

Specific? Yes. Not just any shirt, but a specific shirt.
Measurable? Yes. You'll see the shirt in your inventory. Try it on.
Achievable? Yes. Steph can actually make shirts and this gives her a month to do it. Shoot her some Ls for costs maybe.
Results-Oriented? Yes. It will help promote the site.
Timebound? Yes. The shirts are due August 1.

(Calm down, Steph, it's just a hypothetical.)

Seem obvious? Sure. But think for a moment. Are all your (outgoing and incoming) expectations that clearly and helpfully communicated? No. That's why miscommunications abound.

Seem micromanagy or manipulative? For some people it does seems that way. And that's why they deal with the fallout more than the people who see it as just plain old good communication. And here's a thought for you...some me...find overly macro or bad communication more frustrating and potentially manipulative than the SMART kind.

Seem like management stuff for work? Really? Try it at home. Try it with your spouse, partner and kids. No, you are not the center of the universe and we are not all here to obey your every you friend, coworker, spouse or partner in crime, we might present ourselves to you and say, "How can I help?" "What can I do?" Or hell, we might just be part of the same community and being part of that community means communicating with each other and occasionally wanting things from each other and doing things for each other...even if that just means moving your bloody car out of the way of my garage before I have to go to work tomorrow. Ya know?

You can ask your husband to take out the trash Friday night and spend every hour for the rest of the weekend fuming over his contrary laziness while he blithely watches the game figuring it will be perfectly reasonable for him to take it out on his way to work Monday or you can ask him to take out the trash tonight because you have company coming over tomorrow and potentially avoid the fuming and frustration and inevitable fight and have a clean home. Capisce?

People get into trouble communication-wise when 1. They see it only from their point of view and 2. They expect everyone else to psychically see that one (theirs) point of view. Stand on principle all you want, the real principle that matters is that you actually have to specifically tell people what you expect of them if you want something from them.

Also, people like you to notice when they do things for you and they often like a bit of feedback. So when your husband takes out the trash and you are cleaning the house and you see the trash is gone (inspection), remember to say, "Thanks honey!" (feedback).

And before you get the idea that all feedback should be positive, complimentary feedback, consider this scenario...

Let's say Humpty asks me to make some Second Life Notecards with slurl links to the RLetc sites in Second Life. "Fantastic. I can do this," I think. I go into Second Life, I open my Inventory, I create a Notecard, I do a bit of a write up and then I copy and paste the slurls into the Notecard. What I end up with are a bunch of odd little text boxes that mean and do nothing. At this point, Steph drops by and asks me how it is going (inspection). I show her a copy and express my frustration over these weird little boxes. "How are you putting the landmarks in the Notecard?" she asks. (inspection) I tell her, she laughs (Steph always laughs, nicely), and then she helpfully tells me how to drag landmarks into the Notecards from my Inventory, not copy and paste slurls into Notecards as I was doing, in order to get functioning links. Then she tells me to have a go using the new and improved method (resetting expectations). Golden. That's why I freakin' love Steph.

I'm not insulted. I'm not offended. And I'm a helluva lot less demoralized than I was a moment ago feeling like an idiot who couldn't figure out how to get the job done.

(And no, I did not create the RLetc Notecards. Bo and Humps did that. I only just learned how.)

That's the Motivational Process of Communication with SMART Expectations.

It works with employees, managers (try managing up), friends, family, partners and volunteers.

So here's my SMART expectation for you, dear blog perver...

Post a comment to this blog including...
your tips for good communication and/or
your good experiences with good communication and/or
bad experiences with bad communication

...that caused you to learn something about communication sometime this summer (by October 1, 2010). We might all learn something from...communicating about communication.

Specific? You tell me.
Measurable? Yeah, I'll see the posts...or not.
Achievable? Of course.
Results-Oriented? Yeah, we might learn something or feel validated or have a laugh or a good groan.
Timebound? Yes, ya lazy-assed whores.

So endeth the sermon.

Can I get an amen?

Updated 01-05-2011 at 03:16 AM by Lee__
Tags: communication, personality tests, psi shrinkers, team
Categories Communication

Humpty - 06-30-2010 12:05 PM
Printed out and stuck to the wall

Lee__ - 06-30-2010 04:53 PM
Get out of it. You did not. lol

Darcy - 06-30-2010 04:59 PM
stuck to the wall with what?

Lee__ - 06-30-2010 05:03 PM
Aaack! Darcy!

Steph - 06-30-2010 05:16 PM
I'll be honest, you did give me a brief wtf moment as I skimmed.