Seventy-five percent of the people with whom we interact with have preferences different from our own. It is important to be flexible and tailor speech, body language and approach so that others become more open to listen and accept ideas. This is especially important in critical business situations, during the sales process, problem solving, working on a team or providing customer service. Improve communication in your workplace and you improve the results you achieve.

When you can spot cues and subtle differences in the way people behave, you can effectively deal with team members, employees, peers and customers. Here are some tips on things we have found effective.

  1. Recognize your own preferences and behaviors and use them to play on your strengths. It can be hard to step outside of ourselves and really look at the way in which we communicate with others. Let a program like Interaction Style® do some of the heavy lifting for you. Once you know your own style you can adjust or strategically think how you can optimally communicate in a situation.
  2. Plan critical business situations such as sales calls and customer meetings before they occur. Before you jump into a situation, think about your approach as well as the people you will be interacting with. If you have worked with them before, think of approaches that they were receptive to.
  3. Increase your chance at successful influencing by tailoring your approach to the preferences of others. If you are in a workplace that has had group sessions on Interaction Styles, then you have a head start on knowing the preference of others. But, when stuck with a tough group, it may not be a bad idea to facilitate a discussion that would allow you to know more about individual preferences before jumping into crucial decision making conversations.
  4. Manage interpersonal tension by behaviorally flexing. By using interpersonal acumen to temporarily adjust your behavior, you can manage tension and encourage others to behave more productively with you. This enables you to know the people who are critical to your success well enough so that when you are communicating you are considering their preferences and adapting accordingly.

These four adjustments can go far to improve communication in the workplace—and ultimately the ability to work well with others.