Do you think this is a strange question?
Most people, including myself, tend to think that our own communication style is ‘normal’. We humans have a tendency to act and think according to our own key facts. This is what we experience as ‘normal’. Actually, with that we all consider ourselves the standard and think, perhaps unconsciously and deep down, that the other is not living up to that.
Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders are two Dutch politicians. Obviously, they debate all the time. However, one time their argument got out of hand and they summoned each other ‘to act appropriate’. This was a clear case of two different communication styles and enneagram types clashing. From his perspective, Rutte was convinced that Wilders’ communication style was inappropriate. And vice versa.
This was not about the content of the argument, but about the manner of communication.
The nine different enneagram types have nine different communication styles: the manner of communicating. The way this is done, has everything to do with where the type’s attention (unconsciously) goes and what is important on a deep (and therefore also unconscious) level.
A brief overview:
what the type focuses on and how that comes across in the ‘sending’ style:
|Type||Focusses on||Style as sender|
|1||a good result, tasks that need to be done, what needs to be improved, the right and ideal||precise, accurate, clear, complete, detailed, explaining, conscientious|
|2||humans, giving the other a good feeling, the relationship and being seen in this, the joint (objective e.g.)||attentive, warm, cosy, enthusiastic, cooperative, interested, taking space, empathic|
|3||profiling oneself, scoring, achieving goals, targets, performing, the functional||efficient, charming, fast, ‘one-liners’, brief and clear, directive, business-like|
|4||himself or herself, authenticity, depth, content, what is of value; the beautiful and special||expressive, sensitive, intense, vivid, sometimes soft, sometimes powerful|
|5||the content, understanding, knowing, exchange of knowledge, solving, the factual, the business||rational, factual, contemplative, brief and clear, concise, analytical, reserved|
|6||the context, gathering information for a clear view on potential risks, the threatening||warm, asking questions, doubtful or beyond any doubt, sceptical, prepared|
|7||the future, keeping options open, maintaining freedom, the fascinating||spontaneous, playful, cheerful, positive, narrative, associative, creative|
|8||the own truth, where the other ‘stands’ (and how firmly), control of the conversation||direct, to-the-point, firm, down-to-earth, sometimes brusque, witty, directive|
|9||what the other person wants, make/keep friends and harmony, prevention conflicts||quiet, careful, friendly, scanning, harmonious, slow, cooperative|
Do you recognize your own dominant style? And maybe that of politicians Rutte and Wilders?
When I talk about communication style, I do not only mean the style as ‘sender’. Namely, that is what is usually described when discussing communication styles and which I refer to in the overview above (because it is known).
For the ‘sender’ style, it often describes what the sender’s attention is focused on. Such as of task or people (relation) oriented, the content or process, on ‘me’ or ‘you’ or ‘we’, etc.
Also, the style of the sender is often described. Think of taking space or giving it, direct or indirect, introvert or extrovert, reflective or expressive, cooperative or directive, etc.
But what do these communication styles of receivers look like?
So far one usually only writes about the receiver when it is about its receiving role in the communication process. Surely, without the receiver there is no communication. However, not much is published about the several existing styles of receiving. While I think this is the point where communication fails most of the time: we can not (or do not want to) receive the message at all or not in the way that is meant by the sender.
In my book Enneagram voor Dummies, I describe the receiving style for each of the nine types. Because this book is sold out (and only available in Dutch and German), I will give you this information for free in the article that comes with this blog.
Note: I will be writing more about receiving styles in the near future. Particularly because there is not much written about it yet. So if you think this is interesting: please keep track of my upcoming blogs (and books)!
On your growth!
Master in Mindsets