Written by Telana Simpson

Frames of Mind– Part 1

Every person you meet today, who you engage with in conversation, who you try to influence or who tries to influence you in some way, is operating from some frame of mind.

It is this frame of mind that is behind or above the actual words that they are using. It is this frame of mind that determines their perspective; that determines what they value, their style of thinking and feeling, and pattern for choosing and behaving. All of which we experience through how that person communicates with us.

I’d like to share with you some frames of mind that are most common, especially in the workplace, and that effect communication.

Before we look at the first one, I just want to point out that these frames of mind are on a continuum and are very contextual. So you might prefer one side of the continuum in one situation, and the other side in another situation.

Also, there is no right or wrong frame of mind. Rather there are only useful and less useful frames of mind for each specific context.The size of information you share effects your communication success

Size of Information

So the first frame of mind is about the preferred size of information people use when communicating and reasoning.

On one side of the continuum is the global aspect- the big picture thinking. On the other side is the specific aspect – the minute, detailed thinking.

People who prefer a more global processing style tend to like high level abstract ideas first, and then they deduce down to the specifics.

Whereas people who are more detailed oriented begin with the specific details and then induce up to general principles and global ideas.

So where are you on this continuum? To help you work this out, how do you answer these questions?

  • If we were to do a project together, what would you want to know first: the details and a lot of the specifics, or the overall purpose and what we generally will do?
  • When you pick up a book, what do you pay attention to first- the big picture, the book cover, or specific details about its value?

Global vs. Detail

So do you have a sense of whether you prefer more specific or more global thinking? And now what about a colleague at work? Or a family member? Does s/he talk about the big picture or the details more?

So for those of you who have a more global orientation, you probably can easily recall times you’ve felt bored and frustrated when someone has insisted on telling you every detail of a project or meeting. You probably feel like saying: “Give me your general concept or idea and let me see what that implies”.

And for those who sort via specifics, you may recall the frustration of dealing with someone who seemed to talk ‘up in the air’, in fluff land, vaguely, and did not supply you with important details of reality. You’ll be saying: “Give me the details, and let me see what it means to me”.

Effective Communication

Knowing how and at what level a person processes information, gives us important information about how to package our communication to that person in an effective manner.

So to communicate with someone who needs and wants details, give him/her lots of specific details, break things down into particulars. To communicate with someone who needs a more global understanding first- talk in concepts, principles and the larger ideas first. Skip the details when you start – you can go there later.

To manage another more effectively through the way you communicate, notice where the person is on this continuum of global vs. specific and chunk your information to suit their preferred style.  Learn to communicate in chunks to your audiences preference.

Next time we’ll look at our frames of mind about dealing with instructions.

To effective communicating!

About the Author:

Telana Confidence Trainer | Inner Coaching | imageTelana is a dynamic, transformational Personal Coach and Blogger who specializes in communicating and relating.  She is fascinated by consciousness evolution and goes on adventures to push her boundaries and preconceptions.  She offers coaching and training programmes to help individuals develop their ability to express themselves and their potentials and improve their relationships, and is a host of an online TV show.
Image courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net