Identifying Interaction Styles and Relating To Others

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By Linda Ernst

Are you getting the most out of the “red book”, Understanding Yourself and Others, an Introduction to Interaction Styles 2.0, when you use it to help clients clarify their best-fit Interaction Style? Are you using the material in the book to the best advantage?
Here are some suggestions for using the book to help clients identify Interaction Styles and relate to others…

Identifying Others Activity – What to Look For

This is a great activity in a workshop and can be a good discussion with an individual client. Have participants start by reading the “What to Look For” section at the bottom of page 37. Don’t forget, but don’t tell too soon, the answers are on page 44.

Your clients may have some questions about this activity and may strongly disagree with some of the ‘right’ answers. Be sure they make sense to you so you can help them see the rationale. In the character sketches there are many clues that indicate more a whole type or a variation of an Interaction Style rather than just the actual Interaction Style theme.
Perspective Shifting and the Communication Stages Map

These 2 pages are the basis for my favorite activity in an Interaction Styles workshop. We originally created the Communication Stages Map for caregivers, mainly the nursing staff, at Yakima Memorial Medical Center in Yakima WA a number of years ago. They found it so helpful we have refined it and have created several perspective shifting activities to help participants practice shifting their energy to communicate with someone of a different Interaction Style.

We start by having participants choose an Interaction Styles they want to practice communicating with. They group with others who want to practice that style, use the Communication Stages Map to formulate their approach and then demonstrate for the whole group. We often give them a scenario about getting a colleague to take over a report or presentation to the team because you have an unexpected high priority project with a quick deadline. The colleague’s natural Interaction Style is the one you are practicing. I find that in most groups someone who has the style being practiced is ready and willing to role-play on the spot since they just need to be themselves.

The discussion/debrief is about what worked, what didn’t, what could you try to do differently; advice from those with that style; and clarifying any misunderstandings or biases about the style. In one group, we had to convince those practicing the In-Charge style that they didn’t need to shake their finger in their face to get their attention!

Where Do You Go From Here

Don’t miss the good stuff on this page – it’s the closing for a workshop or a client discussion that helps answer the so what now question.

Let us know if this is has been helpful information for you and please share ideas you have for getting the most out of the “red book”.
And, remember – the content in the book supports the Interaction Style Explorer™ – How We Do What We Do.

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