I find politics interesting. I also find it informative, challenging, thought-provoking, and crazy-making.

There’s often more talking then listening going on. And there’s a lot of rehearsal about what is to be said, rather than impromptu understanding of what needs to be heard.  Politicians are seldom fully present in the moment.

I began to imagine what politics would be like if . . .

. . . the fear (perhaps well intentioned, but driven by ego), at so many levels, could be set aside. What would happen it politicians could truly begin to “listen without defending and speak without offending”.  It would become a kinder, more gentle process.  Would it then become less effective?  Would this slow down or weaken the political system?  I think not.

Often when people slow down communication to listen and understand, negotiation occurs more smoothly and resolution happens more quickly. This is one of greatest challenges I have when working with couples in marriage counseling or leaders in business partnerships.  They become concerned that things won’t be resolved if we slow down the communication pattern and shift gears.  Yet what happens is that when communication is slowed down, people become more conscious and more aware.  They gain insight and understanding.  They experience relief in being understood, and they become hopeful and open to new ideas, resolution, and adaptation.

Slower communication is a wonderful thing.

We confuse speed with progress. Real progress is learning what is working and what is not working for us.  Perhaps practicing how we might “listen without defending and speak without offending” is a viable option.

So please consider pausing, breathing, listening, and reflecting. I assure you, it will not slow down progress.

 Four Styles of Communication – DISC

Based on the work of the psychologist William Moulton Marston, industrial psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke developed a behavioral assessment tool call DISC.

Here’s a quick over for your consideration.

D – The Controller

  • Wants facts
  • Goal oriented
  • Paints with a broad brush
  • Not interested in details

Here’s how to best communicate with D – The Controller

  • Be efficient and businesslike
  • Get to the point
  • Clarify goals and objectives
  • Give conclusions, details only when requested
  • Focus on results, not methods

I – The Promoter

  • Social
  • Loves to talk
  • Enthusiastic
  • Curious
  • Expressive

Here’s how to best communicate with I – The Promoter

  • Avoid rushing communicate
  • Ask about relationships
  • Talk in terms of people and stories
  • Offer examples and metaphors

S – The Supporter

  • Low key and calm
  • Patient, balance
  • Competent and steady
  • Conflict avoidant

Here’s how to best communicate with S – The Supporter

  • Avoid coming on too strong
  • Earn trust
  • Give time for big decisions
  • Provide reassurance
  • Focus on security

C – The Analyzer

  • Appreciate details and organization
  • Analytic
  • Serious
  • Purposeful
  • Love lists, charts, graphs

Here’s how to best communicate with C – The Analyzer

  • Be well prepared
  • Have facts and figures
  • Answer questions directly
  • Allow time for analysis