room on the edge

inspiration (+ a push)

3 Steps to Better Communication using just 3 Simple Colours

Friday. WomenWorks’ local monthly meeting. Beautiful setting right on the ocean. (thanks Viv!) Sunshine. 16 Women. One presenter: Fiona Akers, looking gorgeous as usual. For an hour, she entertained us and got us thinking about the way we all communicate with each other, specifically, on how we can improve our communication skills using 3 simple colours.


Fiona, with her many years of experience in management and working with teams, maintains that the problems many of us encounter in our dealings with others are often due to the style of communication – the way we say things – rather than what we are saying, and that style is down to our personality type.

There are many personality and style type indicators available – the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, The Kolbe Index, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter to name a few, but to keep this simple, Fiona groups people into three main communication style colours; Red, Green and Blue.

Each group has some great Strengths, which are all needed for this wonderful world of ours to function fully. See which ones you recognise in yourself from these lists – or better still, ask a friend if they see any of these characteristics in you. Are you mainly Red, or RedBlue, or a perfect combination of all three (brown!)?
[table id=5 /]

So, that’s great – we’re all fabulous of course! But, and here’s the crux of the matter, each group also has what others might call our weaknesses, but what Fiona likes to re-term our ‘Overdone Strengths’ – we just go too far for the other groups to handle. Now, see which ones you recognize in yourself!! Not quite so perfect…
[table id=6 /]

In practice, a Green might drive a Red crazy because she wants to explain in great detail all the problems with current project they’re working on (Reds don’t do detail – they just want to get on with it). Or a Red might deeply offend a Blue by dismissing their ideas in a brainstorming session or forgetting to say ‘please’ when asking them for the next report… and so on.

So, how does all this help us in improving our communications and interactions with others?

1. Well, first, know thyself – if you’re a vibrant Red, fess up to the fact that sometimes you can be perceived to be a bit demanding by others – not by your fellow Reds of course, but those Blues and Greens who just don’t get your directness and enthusiasm to get on with things. Of course, most of us are a combination of more than one colour, so pay attention, observe which situations let you be more Blue or more Green and where you tend to overdo your strengths on occasion.

2. Next, just practice noticing what colours other people might be – your partner, your children, your friends, those people at work who really wind you up… try seeing them in a new light. They’re not out to spoil your fun, or to deliberately irritate you (usually), they just have a different way of expressing themselves and a different way of relating to how other people express things to them.

3. And finally, have a go at adjusting your behaviour accordingly – if you’re in a room full of Greens (often found in the IT department) pitching your next great idea, it’s no good just being enthusiastic and positive – they’ll want details, and lots of them. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t jump with joy at the end of the pitch, raring to get started on your great idea – they’ll want time to think it through first:
[table id=8 /]

So, there you have a lighthearted look at the colourful side of communication…

Post your stories, tips and experiences on this topic below – we’d love to hear them!

Fiona Akers, a self-confessed Red, aka The Campo Goddess, is a Management Consultant and Training specialist, now living her dream life in the sun.

Please mail me if you have any questions for Fiona.

WomenWorks is a local women-in-business network based in La Herradura, Costa Tropical, Granada, Spain. We meet on the 1st Friday in every month and welcome new members from far and wide.


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