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Social Styles

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Webster's Dictionary defines rapport as, relation characterized by harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity. Nice idea, but what does that really mean and how do you create that?

Is it possible to meet a stranger and within a short period of time, create a "relation characterized by harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity?" The answer is "Yes", but it often requires an intention to build rapport in order to achieve it.

It's true that sometimes we meet someone and almost immediately feel a "connection" with them. Not only do we feel that connection, but we do so without any effort. We have a natural connection. We are kindred spirits, of a sort. In other words, we naturally have a "relation characterized by harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity." We have created rapport without even thinking about it.

But more often, we meet a person and feel no connection whatsoever with them. Even when we want to connect and "build rapport", we are unable to do so.

Why is that? Why are we able to have almost instant rapport with some people and almost no rapport with others?

There are a number of reasons for this, but the greatest contributor to rapport lies in our "social style" and the "social styles" of others.

The secret to building rapport with others depends upon our understanding of social styles. It rests with our ability to know our own primary social style, with our ability to read the social styles of others, and with knowing how to best relate to each social style.

Generally, we tend to best relate to people who share the same primary social style as our own. To become a more masterful communicator and to enhance our success, it is critical to become competent in reading others and then delivering our message in a way that will be best received.

A.C.E.S - the four social styles

There are four social styles, and while I know of at least a dozen labeling systems, I call them A.C.E.S., which stands for Analytical, Commander, Expressive, and Stabilizer. Allow me provide a brief overview of each style.

Analyticals are just that - very analytical. They seek perfection. They're organized, detail-minded, and somewhat idealistic. Analyticals can become easily depressed, and are often are moody and sarcastic.

Commanders are natural leaders. They seek control. They are high achievers, can be bold and assertive, and are often very competitive. They also can be egocentric, headstrong, and short-tempered.

Expressives are people people. They seek fun. They're animated, cheerful, and enthusiastic. They also can be loud, overly talkative, and undisciplined.

Stabilizers are relationship builders. They seek peace. You'll often see them as accommodating, considerate and easy-going. Stabilizers will avoid conflict, sometimes at any cost.

These brief descriptions should act to give you a sense of what each style is about, but by no means is comprehensive. Each style has a full complement of strengths and weaknesses, and no one style is better than another. In addition, most of us have a primary style and a secondary style.

Although we speak of just four styles, the combinations of traits within us are almost infinite and make us all pretty complex. To truly master these principles requires a more comprehensive program than what this article



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