So much can get lost or misinterpreted in a sales call, business meeting or even a casual hallway interaction. Elite performers communicate effectively because they understand personality styles--their own style and the style of the person with whom they are speaking. Conflict between two personality styles can quickly corrupt the flow of information. This can be easily avoided.

First, take a look at the four primary personality styles. Which personality style are you?

The Director

You may be described as extroverted, direct, intense and assertive. You prefer fixing problems and getting results. You can be very commanding and tend to take charge more than follow. You can be very decisive and more of a risk-taker. Under stress, tension or fatigue, you can become belligerent.

The Influencer

You may be described as extroverted, relatable, charming and friendly. You prefer interacting with many people and being talkative. You are gregarious and socially out-going. Under stress, tension or fatigue you can become emotional.

The Stabilizer

You may be described as introverted, systematic, easy-going and methodical. You prefer a routine-oriented environment based on consistency, predictability and structure. You prefer to do one thing at a time rather than multi-tasking. Under stress, tension or fatigue, you can become quiet and withdrawn.

The Controller

You may be described as introverted, analytical, precise and detailed-oriented. You prefer procedures, standards and protocols. You are a cautious person who prefers to deal with facts and data. Under stress, tension or fatigue, you can become critical.

Next, follow these simple steps to improve communication:

1. Know Your Personality Style

Here are a few questions to ask yourself: How do I communicate with others? Do I tend to provide lots of details or speak in bullet points? How do I like others to speak with me? How have I struggled communicating with someone didn't stop talking... or didn't say anything at all?

2. Identify The Other Person's Style

What traits do you see in the other person? Are they fast or slow moving? Are they formal or informal? Do they make quick decisions or are they methodical? Are they precise with time and facts? Do they enjoy talking about personal things and are a flashy dresser? Are they intense or easy-going?

3. Modify

Once you know your style and the other person's style, modify yours. This is not mirroring--the technique where you match their actions step by step--they lean forward, you lean forward; they scratch their nose, you scratch yours. That's old school. Instead, simply shift up or down your style to more closely match that of the other person. If you're an extrovert who's impatient, slow down when interacting with an introvert. Let the conversation breathe. If you're a Stabilizer or Controller who's interacting with a Director, get to the point, stick to the facts, and avoid excessive details. If you're an Influencer interacting with a Controller, be prompt, do your homework and be prepared to validate your statements with data.

Successful people in all walks of life are exceptional at reading others and creating conditions for fluid and open dialogue. Part of their success is knowing themselves, recognizing traits about the other person and then adjusting to match their style. Take this skill to heart and you can do the same.

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