Say it Right: How to Communicate Effectively to Win Others Over to Your Cause.


Sag es, aber sag es richtig – Wie du es schaffst, so zu kommunizieren, dass du dein Gegenüber für deine Sache gewinnst.


Imagine you want to enlist a colleague for an important project because you rely on their expertise. However, you don’t get along particularly well with this colleague. Now, you’re determined to sort things out so you can make progress on your project. But after your brief conversation, your colleague doesn’t seem enthusiastic and probably won’t put in much effort. Something went wrong, and when you think about it, you often find yourself unable to connect with this person. Where’s the problem? Here’s how you can significantly improve your communication skills.

The root cause of communication problems often lies in the differences in our personalities. Most people aren’t aware of the differences and dynamics between different personalities. Especially when the other person is quite different, we need to actively try to find common ground for successful communication. But how can you learn to communicate in a way that the other person can understand?

If you want to make communicating easier, you need to understand how you operate and how the other person operates. The easiest way to do this is with a personality model. There are countless models on the market, many of which aren’t very useful, but there are some that are truly effective and complement each other. One model that we know works because we use it with hundreds of people every year is the persolog Personality Model. It provides a quick and comprehensive insight into behavior, helping you assess not only yourself but also others better. It identifies a total of 20 behavioral tendencies derived from combinations of four behavioral dimensions: Dominance (D), Initiative (I), Steadiness (S), and Cautiousness (C). This model also highlights what’s important in communication for D, I, S, and C.


Back to our example. How can you get D, I, S, and C excited about a joint project?

For a colleague with a pronounced dominant behavioral dimension, you should appeal to their ambition and desire to win. It helps if you speak assertively, present the facts, and argue in a competitive manner. (“It won’t be easy, but I want this project to achieve the best sales our department has ever seen.”)

You can win over a colleague with a pronounced influencing behavioral dimension by considering their sense of community. Therefore, you should speak collegially and in a team-oriented manner. You need to ignite their enthusiasm and make it clear that you need them specifically to bring the project to success together. You can also explain that both he and the rest of the team will benefit if everything goes well. (“With you as part of our team, we can achieve the best sales our department has ever seen.”)

If you want to convince a colleague with a pronounced steady behavioral dimension to contribute to your project, you must kindly ask if they can help you. Then you should explain step by step what problem you have with your project and how they can help save the project. Clear instructions and familiar conditions are also helpful. (“In the team, we lack expertise in xy, but if you join us, we can still successfully complete the project.”)

The colleague with a pronounced cautious behavioral dimension needs a clear problem analysis with as precise data as possible from you. You should be factual, analytical, and precise in your argumentation. You must make it understandable that you need them right now because they work so conscientiously, and the success of the project depends on their accuracy. (“Currently, we have a problem because expertise in xy is simply not available in the team. This is evident from the fact that sales are too low without xy. But if you join us, we have a realistic chance of completing the project with the targeted sales.”)



So there are four different approaches you can consider in your communication:


D is mainly interested in WHAT needs to be done.

I wants to know WHO needs to do what.

S wants to be informed about HOW something should be done.

C needs to know WHY something should be done.


It’s important to note: It’s not about categorizing or pigeonholing people because everyone is unique. Of course, there is no person whose behavior is exclusively influenced by one behavioral dimension. There are always elements of all four dimensions present, but to varying degrees. Additionally, behavior also depends on the context, i.e., the situation or role in which a person finds themselves. Nonetheless, the persolog Personality Model gives you guidance on how to adjust to your counterpart. Why not give it a try the next time you want to enlist a colleague for your cause?


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