(Oprah.com) -- You know that feeling you get when you say something you weren't supposed to say and it comes out a little louder than you anticipated? It's a naked moment, and there's nothing you can do to cover up. You goofed, everybody heard, and how you fare from here on out depends on what you do next.
When I started a new job three years ago, that's how I felt all the time. My requests were falling to the bottom of most people's list of things to do. I couldn't get anyone to cooperate.
Although my boss and I had frank discussions about the need for me to adjust my style of interaction, he had no practical help to offer.
I called my friend Tony --a management and branding consultant -- and told him what was up. "Did you think about asking them for a coach?" he said.
"A communications coach. Your HR department probably has a list, and I bet they'll even pay for it."
And that's when I met John Artise, my communications sensei. He has been in the business of communication for close to 30 years, and bases his coaching style on the work of Paul P. Mok, Ph.D., a Harvard-trained psychologist who, in the 1970s, developed a system called Communicating Styles Technology (CST) which is built on Carl Jung's theory of psychological types.
Artise has administered more than 5,000 communication style assessments to people in corporate outplacement and training to investigate language styles.
After analyzing the results, he identified four types of communicators: Feelers, Sensors, Intuitors, and Thinkers.
Can we talk?
So how do you know whether you are talking to a Feeler, a Sensor, a Thinker, or an Intuitor? Artise teaches people to listen for clues to the other person's communication style -- or the style they've slipped into for that particular moment-so you know how to get compromise and cooperation from anyone, at work or at home.
To become a black belt communicator, use the following cheat sheet:
The Feeler uses language to express emotion.
How to recognize a Feeler
She's an empath and wants to connect, make you feel comfortable. If you're not doing so well, she'll try to figure out a way to help you.
How to get a Feeler to cooperate
Listen for signals that she is overwhelmed or exhausted. The Feeler needs to hear two things: One, that you understand she's having difficulties -- something like: "I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. I don't want to make things more difficult for you."
Second, explain that she's the best one to help you: "I'm in trouble and I need your advice; you're so good in situations like this." Being a rescuer is the role she lives to fill, but she wants to be acknowledged for it. When she feels appreciated, she'll be ready to jump in.
The Sensor is driven by the drumbeat of constant deadline; she's interested in getting things done quickly.
How to recognize a Sensor
A Sensor labors under the constant pressure of deadlines and does everything -- including communicating with you -- in bursts of very intense energy. She has a short attention span and can make you feel as if you're taking up too much of her time just by saying hello.
How to get a Sensor to cooperate
She responds best when she knows you have a plan for getting a task done fast. You need to communicate in easily digestible sound bites, so prepare ahead of time. If you don't get to the point quickly enough, the Sensor will consider you an additional source of stress. What you want the Sensor to know is that you can help reduce her workload.
The Thinker operates on logic: She loves organization and systems and she likes to see projects through to the bitter end.
How to recognize a Thinker
These people play by numbers and facts. They are logical and realistic, and they will pop any idealistic balloon by citing a similar situation in which someone failed.
How to get a Thinker to cooperate
A Thinker loves systems and organization and solving problems. So when she points out inaccuracies or mistakes, let her know that you understand and will fix the problem. She needs to be reassured that you'll stay grounded in reality and that you'll be very careful about gathering your research.
The Intuitor thinks in terms of the conceptual and long-range plans; she's a problem solver but not necessarily interested in sticking around to implement solutions -- she'd rather move on to the next puzzle.
How to recognize an Intuitor
She's the one with the big ideas that you have a hard time understanding. She presents information as though you're supposed to know exactly what she's talking about. She doesn't give any context -- no last names of people to whom she's referring, no company names even though she's discussing a problem specific to that company. When you ask questions, she gets impatient. She doesn't realize that you don't know what's in her brain.
How to get an Intuitor to cooperate
Let her talk out her ideas for a while before you begin asking questions. They should be phrased to show her you like her ideas but simply need more details to understand the full picture.
By Amy Hertz from "O, The Oprah Magazine," November 2007 E-mail to a friend
Subscribe to O, The Oprah Magazine for up to 75% off the newsstand price. That's like getting 18 issues FREE. Subscribe now!
TM & © 2009 Harpo Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.