The more you have in common with someone the easier it is to get along with them.
We are more easily influenced by those we like hence the saying, ‘people buy people’, as any salesperson worth his salt should know. If we like someone we are more inclined to buy from them and to cooperate with them.
Conflict usually results from differences or perceived differences between people. So enhancing this likeability factor can reduce conflict. The more we blend with the other person the less conflict there will be.
Blending with the other person can maximize similarities and minimize conflict.
We can do this by mirroring their body language, not mimicking it but gently matching it. We do this naturally when we are with friends. Just watch people in a café, restaurant or at a bar together and see how similar their body language is, or if they are not hitting it off how distanced and different it becomes.
So when you find yourself in conflict with someone, or disliking them, stop and ask yourself why this person is behaving in the manner they are? Even if you don’t fully understand their reasons, or find them difficult to understand, this will at least prevent you from getting overemotional. Also remember that you can’t change another person so it is no good thinking, ‘I wish they would be more reasonable or compassionate, or understanding, or less hostile.’ Wishing won’t make it so.
So how can we get on someone’s wavelength, even those whom we find it difficult to relate to? I always say to people, ‘You think you‘re normal, but what is normal?’ Normal is different to each and every one of us. We see the world through our own eyes, we think everyone should behave, act and be like us. Well of course they don’t and they’re not like us. We are all different. We all have different personalities and understanding this and recognising this can help us to adapt our approach to another person and get on their wavelength.
In 1926 William Marston came up with a model of Personality Types that is still used today. While people are highly complex and certainly more complex than the descriptions I am going to give you, this model will, I hope, help you to see yourself and others in a different light and enable you to change tactics to communicate more effectively.
We inherit personality traits from our parents, grandparents, great grandparents … Of course this is influenced by other factors like upbringing, environment, education and levels of intellect and maturity but to make things more simple here we will look at the four basic types of personalities. Although we may contain a mixture of these traits some will be stronger than others within us. This dictates how we communicate and behave. See if you can recognize ourself from the descriptions below. Then think about how you might need to change your approach towards another person in order to influence and persuade them, and to manage them.