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Adjusting Communication Styles

Depending on a person’s meta program, people will have either a specific or a general orientation. Specific people will focus on details. They need to piece together different small portions before they can see the bigger picture. These people are described to have an inductive way of thinking. They process information better through a “divide-and-conquer” attitude. They need to understand the small details before they can comprehend the bigger picture. One way of looking at it is that they see individual trees, instead of a forest.

On the other hand, there are individuals who start with the general view before they scale it down to the particulars. They have a deductive thinking style. They are the ones who want to look and to understand the complete details before going into the specific ones. They need to see the whole ocean before they can see the drops of water. Moreover, they are simply more interested in the whole rather than the parts. Most people are general-oriented individuals (60%), while there are a few specific-oriented people (15%), the rest are a mix of both.  

When you understand the differences between individuals with specific and general orientation, you can adjust your communication styles in order to communicate better with them. Specific-oriented people use definite details in their speech. They like breaking down topics into specific information. Specific people follow a sequence when they talk, and they tend to start from the beginning or start from where they left off when interrupted. They use “modifiers, adverbs, adjectives; proper nouns for people, places, things”.

On the other hand, General-oriented people will speak about overviews, principles, and concepts. They have no trouble talking about things in a random manner. They are big in making overviews, summaries, or conclusions. They use simple statements and hardly focus on details. If you observe most men and women, women are usually specific-oriented and men are general-oriented. Women want to talk about specific details when they talk to each other. For example, women will talk about what their dates wore and what they ordered. On the other hand, if you ask the men about it, they will answer, “It was a great date.”

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