Secrets of Communicating with Shiny Happy People

by Shana Montesol Johnson

Are any of your co-workers shiny happy people – enthusiastic, friendly, expressive? You know, the ones with big ideas, no interest in details, and a love for the limelight?  Then you know the joys – and frustrations – of communicating with a Spirited communicator.

As described in my previous blog posts, there are four communication styles to which people tend to gravitate: Direct, Systematic, Considerate, and Spirited. Today’s blog post is the fourth (and final) in my series describing each style.  You can read the previous posts starting here.

If we want to be excellent communicators, being familiar with communication styles is a great foundation. Understanding someone else’s dominant communication style allows us to “do unto others as they would have done unto themrather than simply assuming that everyone else is just like us. Doing so makes for greater rapport, deeper understanding, and better communication.

“Enough About Me – Tell Me What You Think About Me”

Strengths: People whose dominant communication style is Spirited tend to be enthusiastic and intuitive.  They are friendly “people” persons who make themselves available for others, build strong relationships, and have an extensive network.  They’re adept at persuading, motivating, and inspiring others.  They readily express emotions.  They like to talk and enjoy the spotlight:  “Enough about me – tell me what you think about me.”  They are intuitive, focus on the big picture, and pride themselves on coming up with great ideas.

Disadvantages: They are not interested in the details, so they may gloss over them, or ignore them altogether.  They usually do not manage time well, have a short attention span, and may miss deadlines. Once the initial excitement of a new project has worn off, they may become bored with the minutiae of implementation, so may drop the ball or lack follow-through. They tend to be somewhat disorganized.  They can be overdramatic and may be sensitive to criticism.  They may overestimate the abilities of others or themselves.

You can spot a Spirited communicator by their animated and fast-paced speech, often punctuated by large gestures.  They tell stories and anecdotes with gusto, and may go off on tangents.  They are warm, laugh out loud, and use lots of facial expressions.  They make small talk – asking about your weekend, your family, your hobbies.  Their handshake is enthusiastic and their workspace tends to be cluttered.

Tips for Better Communication With a Spirited Communicator

To communicate more effectively with people who prefer the Spirited style:

  • Skip the formality – be relaxed and keep the conversation light.
  • Express emotions, tell them how you feel.
  • Use humor.
  • Allow enough time for discussion – they like to talk.
  • Don’t rely too much on email – talk to them in person or by phone.
  • Don’t give them a lot of details – supply only the critical ones, and put these in writing so that they may refer to them later.
  • Let them share their ideas; engage in brainstorming.
  • Acknowledge them for their great ideas (this doesn’t mean you agree with their ideas or that you will implement them).  They like to be complimented.

Confessions of a Spirited Communicator

My own dominant communication style is Spirited, and I admit to the flaws described above. Yes, I have been known to exaggerate, or gloss over details.  When I am criticized, it stings – I’m working on handling it more gracefully.  I express my feelings easily and readily – whether I am delighted or annoyed, I will let you know (even if you didn’t ask).  And yes, my workspace is cluttered.

Of course, not every aspect fits me perfectly – which is normal. These communication styles are not meant to label or box us in – they’re merely a starting point for understanding unique individuals.  For example, unlike many Spirited communicators, I’m pretty good at time management and rarely miss deadlines.  And while details usually make me impatient, in some situations I can get pretty down “in the weeds.”

It’s also not uncommon to have a mix of preferred styles. I also gravitate toward some aspects of the Considerate style, with a focus on people, empathy, and support – important attributes for a coach, I think.

Knowing that my natural default is to communicate in a Spirited way helps me relate more effectively with others with different styles.  With folks whom I suspect are Systematic or Considerate, I try to tone down my natural enthusiasm and slow down my pace of speech.  With people who are Direct, I skip the small talk and get straight to business.  These small adjustments help me better understand them, and make myself understood.

How about you? How can awareness of your own style help you better communicate and connect with people who are different from you?  Please share in the Comments below.

And speaking of Shiny Happy People, you know the song is stuck in your head now so you might as well listen to it here…

Photo by elward-photography
Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: