Despite our good intentions, our interventions do not always have the desired outcome. You might have heard about the TRACOM social styles? It’s a well-known model used to adjust and adapt our communications and be aware of our own preferences and those of our colleagues. Social styles categorize the ways a person communicates, perceives, appreciates, assimilates, and reacts to information. How might this social style model benefit you in your professional relationships? How might it help you create the impact you want in your communications?
I interviewed Ève Laurier, General Manager of Edelman Montreal and Award-winning strategic communicator who is passionate about communication. For her, the main challenge for people in communication is ‘’accepting that authenticity is where you have to start, asking yourself what you want to say and why, and what’s the impact you want to have with that message’’.
Beneath the iceberg
I like to bring up the image of an iceberg to demonstrate that our words and actions show only a fraction of who we are and what we feel and experience. It is also at the tip of the iceberg that we interact according to our social style, tendencies, and personality. Our values, beliefs, hopes, and dreams, however, are often hidden, beneath the surface, as are our true selves. Getting to know yourself and your employees requires donning a wetsuit to go deeper!
Sometimes, at a meeting, we may feel impatient. Has this ever happened to you? The next time you feel such impatience, stop and analyze the interaction! What is underneath the surface? Is it the topic that stirs your impatience or is it the way it is approached? Sometimes the topic can be viewed as non relevant or too operational, but more often that not, it is the way it is brought about.
The social styles
Let’s revisit the four social styles briefly and look at their use in communications and decision-making. When we communicate, we seek, depending on our style, to obtain one type of information or another. And we create an impact. Let’s ask ourselves what impact we want to have?
Ève invites us to reflect on our ‘’why’’ and question our intention when we communicate. She says : ‘’What’s your intent? What’s the impact you want to have with your message? It will connect with your gut, your heart, your emotions and become easier after’’.
The social styles indicate a communication preference, on the tip of the iceberg, not your personality. Any of these four social styles can make you a great leader and allow you to be kind and people oriented. You can be success-driven in any of these styles. The social styles merely indicate how you like to communicate and how you prefer to be ‘’communicated to’. The real secret here is how adaptable we are the preferences of others so that we can better connect with them and harmonize our style.
Where do you recognize yourself? What are your tendencies? And what are your co-worker’s styles? Explore all the social styles in this article.
Everyone is different and has their own way of interacting, responding to stress and handling emergencies. Understanding the different social styles of our colleagues and employees can help us tailor our interactions, facilitate collaboration
and achieve our goals. As a leader, how can we concretely leverage social styles to maximize our interventions by adapting them to the style of our co-workers?
Adapting to others
As managers, to modulate our communication and maximize our influence, we have a responsibility to recognize our own communication preferences and those of our employees.
For Ève‘’The social styles are important because ‘’you have to communicate, anybody has to interact and collaborate with so many people in a day so you have to do it well if you want things to go well, to be enjoyable and if you want to perform.’’ She also adds ‘’Once your intention is clear, you have to stop thinking about you, completely, and start looking at the person in front of you and wonder what’s going to the impact of the message on that person. What’s their style and how will they be able to listen with what I came out with? Ounce you crafted your story, it’s absolutely no longer about you or your own communication style, it’s about the person or the people around you.’’
Adapting to others’ styles will allow you to do that and it involves recognizing them, understanding them, putting yourself in their shoes and asking questions like: What is important to this person? What are their needs? How do they like me to present information or a project to them? The answers to these questions then allow for an adapted approach and exchange with others.
Here is a chart that illustrates what each style focuses on in their communications.
Reviewing these styles and what they focus on, how can you adapt to others’ preferences?
Social styles can help you better communicate taking the needs of others into account and reduce, rather than fuel, tension when addressing a difficult communication or managing conflict.
To what situation might you apply this model as of today? What are you learning about yourself?
As always, I invite you to be inspired and inspire!