Recently, had a music teacher attend one of our Personality Insights, training programs here in Atlanta, Georgia. I was talking to her about her profession. She loves to teach students how to play the piano. Her personality style, as well as her professional vocation, complement each other nicely. She is very task-oriented and focused on the details as she teaches her students to be precise in their musical skills. After all, it never works to almost play the right note, does it? It has to be exact. (Most of us have heard someone sing off-key or miss a note and it stands out like a sore thumb.) Even though music is very much an art, it is also very much a science. I am not much of a musician myself, but, I certainly know bad music when I hear it. Good music requires a lot of precision, effort, commitment and dedication. Anyway, back to my story.
This particular music teacher understands personality styles. She understands that some students are born with more of a desire to entertain than a focus on the discipline of practice. She told me of one little girl who came for her 30-minute lesson every week full of life, enthusiasm, and all excited to tell the teacher her latest story or adventure. The music teacher said it is always difficult to get her to calm down and focus on her lesson. She told me, “I want to make sure that the parents get their money’s worth and give the child a full 30-minute lesson. I feel it is a matter of integrity.” She went on to explain that since she has learned about personality styles, she knows that this little girl has an Inspiring personality style. The music teacher said, “If I will let her talk for the first two minutes, and really be interested in what she is saying, and laugh at her story or adventure, she will then settle down and have a good lesson. It is amazing to watch how those first two minutes affect the next twenty-eight minutes of her lesson!” The teacher concluded by saying, “It is funny; before I understood her personality style, I considered those first two minutes a waste of time. Now I have come to see them as the most important two minutes of our time together. It is after I have ‘wasted’ those two minutes that she comes alive and we connect for the next twenty-eight minutes.”
As I listened to that story, I couldn’t help but be deeply grateful for the fact that some people actually do “get it.” Some people really understand that if you will “waste” a couple of minutes trying to connect with another person based on their personality style, rather than your own, everything that follows will be much, much better.
If I am talking to a Dominate type, I need to make them feel respected and that they have some power, control or authority. If I am speaking to an Inspiring type, like this teacher did, I need to allow for a couple of minutes of fun or enthusiasm before we get down to business. If I am speaking to the Supportive type, I need to make sure that I am gentle and communicate peace and appreciation for them. And, if I am talking to a Cautious type, I need to make sure that the details are covered and that there are quality answers and value shown at the very outset of anything that we do together.
As I have said before, common sense is not very common. All it takes it a little bit of effort on our part to “waste” a couple minutes on another person based on where they are coming from and then everything will be better after that in the interaction. We can begin to connect and have a productive business or personal relationship because we have gotten off on the right foot together. That is what this Tip is really all about. It is learning to understand others so you can have better relationships, whether it is in your business, with family or with friends.
The music teacher in this story has mastered that in her profession. She has learned to read a situation and act in harmony with it. Now her students are reaping the benefit of her wisdom. It works for her and it can work for the rest of us, too!
Tip: Always waste the first two minutes!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm