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Understanding people- How to communicate effectively


Understanding people- How to communicate effectively

There are lots of different types of people in this world each with different experiences, beliefs, values and goals who have encountered different circumstances and who have different interpretations of what is right and wrong and how life should be lived.

The challenge lies in having the strong belief that only you are ‘right’ in your thought processes and that other people are ‘wrong’. It can be so easy to say ‘that’s not right’ when hearing something that you don’t agree with or to upset another person by stating that what they think ‘is embarrassing’ and ‘wrong’.

It Is important to realise that it is ok for people to think differently and quite often this is due to being exposed to different ideas and concepts. It is quite obvious that the person who has travelled the world, lived in a different continent and spends their time meeting people and reading books will have a different thought process to the person who has stayed in their one neighbourhood all their life.

This doesn’t mean that the person who has travelled is right about everything, just that they have been exposed to different things and will have a different perspective.

What we need to realise is that everyone’s subconscious minds are filled with different influences. Everyone has had a different upbringing with different parents, different friends, teachers, media influences and work experiences. All of these factors create the person’s thoughts and perspectives. We need to keep this in mind when we are communicating with other people. We need to start thinking about everything from the other person’s point of view and literally place ourselves into their heads. This really helps when you are angry with someone. If you can start seeing things from their perspective, you will get a greater understanding of why the person may have made angry comments or acted in a certain way for example.

What we also need to remember is that there are gender differences to take into account when communicating effectively. John Gray delves into this topic heavily in his brilliant book “men are from mars, women are from Venus”. Men and women have different styles of communicating and different ways that they want to be communicated too. When communicating with a woman, it is important to listen and empathise. With a man, be direct and to the point.

Added to this everyone has a different personality type and a preferred way to be communicated with. If you complete this quick questionnaire (, you can find out what style you are. The model is called IMA and the concept is that everyone possesses 1 of 4 personality styles and therefore only naturally connects with 25% of the population, meaning 75% of the population they won’t feel naturally connected to.

This is again important to realise when communicating effectively as each personality style has a preferred way of being communicated with. If you learn this, you will be a very successful communicator.

The moral of the story is that everyone is different, they have all had different influences which have formulated their opinions and beliefs and therefore it is important to empathise with the person you are communicating with, put yourself into their shoes and understand that each and everyone one of us is ‘right’ in our own individual map and model of the world.

Written by Emma Vites, Founder The Apprentice Project @emmavites, @apprenticepro

© 2013