Suggestions Offered for Enhancing Business and Client Relationships

Suggestions Offered for Enhancing Business and Client Relationships

Chicago Kitchen and bath designers searching for a way to better "connect" with clients, employees, sub-contractors or other business partners should consider using a different approach, one that is based on recognizing the personality style of the other person and tailoring presentations and communication styles accordingly. 

That is the opinion of Evonne Weinhaus, president and founder of Communication Works, who presented a seminar here at the recent K/BIS on ideas for better managing interpersonal relationships in business.

Based on Weinhaus' research, there are four different personality styles. Each of these, she notes, has specific traits, strengths and weaknesses, which must be considered when trying to communicate effectively with others. The four personality types are:

  • "L" Style: This style represents someone who is loose and lively with people. The strengths of this peronsality type include their emotions, enthusiasm, optimism, persuasiveness and people oriented nature. These types of people are generally very open, popular and lively, Weinhaus believes. "L" style individuals also tend to be more fast-paced and assertive than any of the three other styles.

Their weaknesses include being excitable, reactive, disorganized and vain. 

"L" personality types are generally best motivated by applause or praise, according to Weinhaus, who notes that this is important to recognize when dealing with "L" types of personalities.

  • "R" Style: An "R" style person typically rushes to get results. These personalities are fast-paced individuals who tend to be action oriented, power-oriented, determined and confident. According to Weinhaus, "R" style people may feel that they've lost control at any point in time, in which case they will move into over-control mode. It will be important for them to choose their own methods of reaching goals.
    Their strengths include being practical, independent and open 
    to change.
    However, their weaknesses can lead them to become pushy, impatient, possessive and insecure, Weinhaus notes.
    "R" personality types tend to be motivated by achievement, Weinhaus claims.
  • "E" Style: Efficient and easy going are the characteristics of this personality style. Many times, "E" personality styles will outwardly agree with a client or designer even if they do not entirely agree, just for the sake of avoiding conflict. Their focus is relationship oriented, and they believe very strongly in a team concept. Feelings of appreciation are very important to them. Their strengths include being extremely dependable, agreeable and supportive. 
    They also are likely to remain reserved and calm even during times of conflict, she notes. 
    Agreement tends to motivate "E" types, Weinhaus adds.
  • "F" Style: Finally, the "F" personality style describes individuals who figure out facts. These individuals need time and space, mostly to help them gather more data or come up with a date for completion of a design. According to Weinhaus, they tend to work on a timetable and are somewhat serious. Their strengths lie in that they ask for more information than they need, are very persistent and accurate. They are also very task oriented. 

In contrast, these personality types are slow to make decisions, are critical and judgmental, and can be picky.
"F" types tend to be most motivated by accuracy, Weinhaus notes.

Understanding these personality types will help designers know how to address different types of people more effectively, Weinhaus believes, while helping to limit misunderstandings and conflict. However, she warns that simply knowing what "type" of client, employee or business partner you're dealing with is not enough. You also must also learn how to communicate effectively with them by "mirroring" their communication style. 

Weinhaus suggests that communication can be enhanced by using words that "match" the personality style of the person you are speaking with. For instance, "L" types of people react positively to words like "ideas," "brainstorming" and "special;" "R" types react well to words like "goals," "results" and "outcomes;" "E" types tend to react well to words like "feelings," "team effort" and "appreciate," and "F" types tend to respond well to words like "facts," "figures" and "thoughts."

Once dealers identify the personality type of the client, they can learn to relate to them effectively by doing the following, she says:

  • Match the viewpoint of the other person: Try to adapt your style by looking at things from the other person's point of view.
  • Move cooperatively to solve problems: When facing a conflict, find joint solutions that attack the problem instead of each other.

Finally, Weinhaus offers these tips for communicating effectively:

  • Diffuse, don't ignite conflict.
  • Listen carefully to what the other person is saying, verbally, and non verbally. Different types of people can say things differently based on their communication style, yet mean the same thing. Listening beyond the words will help enhance communication.
  • Keep the other person involved in problem solving.
  • Use negotiations wherever possible, so both parties feel like they are "winning" something.