Weekly Training Booster Episode #3: How to Improve Your Communication Skills (HBDI)

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Making Business Matter (MBM)
Making Business Matter (MBM)
Weekly Training Booster Episode #3: How to Improve Your Communication Skills (HBDI)
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Improve Your Communication Skills

Join Andy Palmer and Darren A. Smith in the third episode of the Weekly Training Booster. This episode is about how to improve your communication skills using HBDI. Know someone that you just can’t seem to communicate with effectively? I bet you are speaking a different ‘language’.

Screenshot from Weekly Training booster video

Episode 3 discusses how to improve your communication skills

You Can Read the How to Improve Your Communication Skills Episode Transcript Below:

Darren A. Smith:

Hello, and welcome to the Weekly Training Booster. We’re week three and our booster this week is Andy. Andy, how you doing?

Andy Palmer:

I’m good. Thank you. Yeah, I’m good. So we’re talking about how to improve your communication skills.

Darren A. Smith:

We are. So how to improve your communication skills. I’m interviewing this week. I’m asking Andy because it’s his specialist topic, and we’re particularly talking about it around HBDI, a psychometric test, but let’s come back to that. Andy, how to improve your communication skills. Where would you start?

Andy Palmer:

Good opening question. Where would I start? I think I would start with understanding the simplicity of communication. I think all too often people are far too motivated to complicate stuff and say too much when actually just sometimes that whole principle of less is more, getting to the point and being absolutely clear on the message you’re trying to deliver.

Darren A. Smith:

Yep. Absolutely agree with that. You hear people influence and communicate by repetition. Ah, it drives me nuts. They keep telling you the same thing.

All right. So let’s build into communication. You’re an expert in HBDI. What the hell is that?

Andy Palmer:

All right. HBDI, so the HBDI is the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. It’s a psychometric tests. You will have heard of many of the Myers-Briggs, Belbin. There’s a whole host of them, all particularly good in their own individual way. For me, I favor the Herrmann profile, the HBDI profile because it’s incredibly easy to understand. And once you’ve understood it, it’s incredibly powerful and simple in how you then apply it.

So the understanding and the thinking behind it is that we have four quadrants of our brain. So it’s a metaphoric model. It’s an incredibly complicated pieces of kit that we’ve got upstairs. But actually where it starts to understand these, the differences between our left-hand and our right-hand hemispheres and then our upper and lower parts of our brain.

So we’re talking about our limbic motor at the bottom, our cerebral motor at the top. And then the thinking behind the whole brain thinking of HBDI is that each of these quadrants are responsible for different thinking preferences. So it’s about how we prefer to think, how we prefer to communicate and how we prefer to make decisions. It’s why we as individuals have differences and it’s why we can start to appreciate and understand what we have ourselves and then that of others.

Darren A. Smith:

Okay. All right. Got it. So it sounds a little bit like the L’Oreal advert. There’s the sciencey bit over here. All right. So let’s see now if we can get into, if I understand this HBDI thing, I’ve got four quadrants type of thinking preference, how does that help me improve my communication skills?

Andy Palmer:

Sure. Okay. So each of these quadrants, and we’re not going to do it any justice within our 10 minute video here today, but actually the value comes through understanding what those different quadrants deliver. So a very, very top-line level. We’ve got our upper left quadrant, our blue quadrants. These are the people that are very factual and logical and want precise facts. So when we’re either being communicated to or from a blue, it’s going to be here and now. It’s going to be matter of fact, it’s going to be precise and very logical and very rational.

If we then come down into the lower left-hand side. This is our green quadrant. This is more about how. These guys expect punctuality and neatness and they need to see the sequential order and stages of that particular piece of thinking and how that can be done. So when we’re communicating with those guys, we want to make sure it’s a low level of risk, we’re understanding the steps that are involved in order to get that, and we can then tailor what we’re talking about to more better resonate with those guys.

If we come over to the right-hand side of the brain. We’ve got our far more creative side. So that starts with the upper right-hand quadrant. This is our yellow quadrant, and this is all about why. Now these guys prefer concepts and metaphors and linking in with a far more level of flexibility and fun and we can be really creative in how we’re communicating to them and it’s more about the big picture. It’s more about the future, less about that stuff that we saw over on the very logical left-hand side of the brain.

The last quadrant lower right-hand side is our red quadrant. This is about who. It’s the interpersonal skills. It’s the importance of understanding me and understanding you. So it’s about communicating with enthusiasm and passion and being really mindful of the individual’s needs and what the impact it could be on people.

So why, and I’m a big fan of the HBDI, and why we can offer people to understand what their profile is and what their assessment is. We can put the link for that in the video at the end. What we can’t always do is go, “Oh, would you mind filling out this questionnaire so I can communicate with you more effectively?” But what we can do is try to put a tick in each of those boxes. Because by default, we talk in our own style.

For me, as a blue, I talk matter of fact, here and now, and sometimes I can forget that other people don’t think quite as normally. Jokes. Don’t think in the same process that I do. So I try to put a tick in each of those boxes, with that mixture of the what, the how, the why, and the who.

Darren A. Smith:

All right, got it, got it. So we’ve got four quadrants. Let’s say I retain that and I know that people think in different ways, therefore I need to communicate differently. Let’s put a real example to you and let’s try and push you. So you’re ignore a blue, you’re presenting to a crazy yellow. What do you do differently?

Andy Palmer:

Yeah, sure. What do we I differently? So the crazy yellows, they’re going to appreciate understanding why they’re even there, what this is going to mean to them in the future. It’s not about the detail. In fact, I’m not going to put up too many charts, tables, and graphs. I’m going to use metaphors and use images. I’m going to try and bring it to life in a fun way that allows them to go, “I get why we’re doing this and what this means to me and I can see what the impact is going to be in the future.” So bringing that to life with conceptualization is going to be super powerful for them.

This often comes back to my example between you and I. You and I as a crazy yellow, me as a blue, it works both ways. So you might come up with an idea, which comes very naturally to you. You’ll then tell me about it. Because it’s then done as a concept, I’ve got to try and interpret what you’re really seeing. So the power and reliance then comes on me to make sure I’m using questioning techniques with you to get to the what. Is it like this? Is it blue? Does it have spots on? Da, da, da, da, da.

Darren A. Smith:

Brilliant. All right.

Andy Palmer:

You then can also be mindful that I need that detail as well. So we start to become tolerant of each other in terms of how we then have those conversations and those dialogues when we’re communicating.

Darren A. Smith:

And let’s say that the outside world don’t get most, and this the guys who will watch in a sort of intrigued and half thinking, “Okay, I see that.” And if they think they’re miscommunication or not resonating with someone, what’s likely going on between those two people if it’s not working?

Andy Palmer:

If it’s not working, then there’s always that thing of, “Oh, I’ve told them what I want. I can’t see why they just don’t understand it and why they’re getting it.” And it usually comes back to the stuff that we’ve just talked about. So it’s about then seeking clarity.

In your words, “hat does that look like to you? Can you almost reiterate what I’ve just said, just to make sure I’ve been clear with you? So it’s that importance of just almost double-checking and taking and giving yourself that time to check in and make sure it came across as it should have done. Because we can’t just presume because some words that come out of our mouth that makes sense up in our own heads that it’s going to make sense to everyone else.

Darren A. Smith:

And let’s say we’ve got an account manager presenting to a buyer. What’s your tip for them if they’re thinking, “I just can’t seem to present this and they’re getting it.” Either that the buyer’s thick or something else.

Andy Palmer:

And we know that’s not going to be the case, but we do know that actually if you keep doing what you’ve always done and you’re getting the same results and then not the results you’re wanting, you’ve got to try it differently. And it comes back to that point of try and get a tick in each of those boxes. Are you delivering on the what, the why, the who, and the when? And you’re just improving your chances of success by maybe taking yourself out of your own comfort zone and maybe trying something a bit differently that may give a different result.

Darren A. Smith:

I’m going to change the names in the story you once told me. It was a green, which are a sort of mind of their own, structured people and our next step people on our reds, who are our people-people. And let’s call it Bob and we’ll call her Julie and Julie said to Bob, “Bob, do you still love me?” And Bob said, “I told you on our wedding day that I did and if that ever changes in the last 20 years, I’ll let you know.” And I think that’s a wonderful story of just how we miscommunicate. She wanted something to what he wants.

Andy Palmer:

Absolutely. And I don’t have this at home in my own personal life where my wife is red and I’m blue and she’ll come home from work and she’ll be, “How was your day? Tell me all about it.” And she needs to hear that stuff. She needs to bring it to life. And apparently I’m supposed to ask her how she is and how her day was, and yet that doesn’t come naturally so I have to kind of push myself.

The point of all that really means that sometimes they’re diametrically opposing quadrants. The upper right, lower left, and vice versa. We just by default don’t consider their needs as much as we should. So if we can encourage ourselves and prompt ourselves to do that stuff, then it can be super powerful.

Darren A. Smith:

Quite. We’re coming up on our last minute or so. So I’m going to ask you for one top tip. Let’s say someone’s reading an email and they want to communicate better, they want to resonate better. They want to build a relationship. What could they look for in their email that might help them then to change what they do?

Andy Palmer:

In terms of an email that they’ve received or one that they’re about to send?

Darren A. Smith:

Oh, but let’s say one they’ve received might bring this to life.

Andy Palmer:

Yeah. And I think this is where often my communication goes wrong anyway, because we can interpret what we want because we’re missing all the tone and the context when we’re just reading words. So do you know what, whether it’s the right answer or not, my biggest top tip. If you read an email and you’re not sure about it, don’t send an email back. Pick up the phone and have a conversation, talk it through.

If I’ve understood you correctly from what you’ve just sent me on the email, I think you’re trying to say this or think you’re after this. Can I just spend a few moments just to clarify that? And I think it is about clarification and it allows that or reduces that chance of misunderstanding and things starting to go wrong. We can start to maybe separate the gaps between perception and reality and we’ll get closer to the reality as opposed to maybe what we’re perceiving is being said behind those words.

Darren A. Smith:

All right. And we’ll do one last bit just to give these guys one other tip. How can I spot if someone’s, let’s say, a blue in their communication? I’ve received an email. What would I see?

Andy Palmer:

Yeah. It’s going to be matter of fact, it’s going to be here. It’s probably going to lack that human interest elements and it can come across quite cold. Now we can bring each of these quadrants to life, and I think probably what’s easier is actually for us to put the link into our guide on the HBDI profile for people to go, “Actually, this sounds quite interesting, but I’m feeling a bit frustrated because I actually want to know more.”

So let’s put the link into that. Not only will it help understand or give you some thoughts about how you can improve your communication skills, but maybe bring to life a little bit more about what this HBDI profiling’s all about. So yeah, there’s actually a lot of information in the link we’re going to put in that guide that we’re going to put up.

Darren A. Smith:

Okay. All right. Andy, so what we’ve been talking about how to improve communication skills. We’ve linked that into HBDI. We hope the guys will read the guide because it will help them to improve their communication skills. All right. Any last words before we leave until next week?

Andy Palmer:

No, I think it’s really if you want to improve your communication skills because you just see it as an opportunity or you’re aware that maybe others aren’t doing it as well as you’d like them to, then you’ve got to start asking those questions of why is that the case? Because there’s going to be a reason that sits behind it and not just about accepting it and not just about getting frustrated because Bobby in the office just can’t seem to get it right. Well, Bob’s probably thinking exactly the same thing in reverse. And once we get that tolerance and once we get that understanding, we can then start to bridge those gaps and find that common plane of understanding between people and indeed teams.

Darren A. Smith:

Awesome. All right. Andy, thank you. Thank you to Bob, who seems to have featured a lot this week, how to improve communication skills. And we’ll be back next week with another how-to soft skill. Until then, take care. Bye.

Take a look at the How to Improve Your Communication Skills video on our YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog.

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