Written by Telana Simpson

Frames of Mind– Part 3

We’ve been exploring Frames of Mind that are common, especially in the work place, and how they effect communication. We looked at the preferred size of information people use when communicating and reasoning in Part 1, and the frames of mind about dealing with instructions in Part 2.

The last frame of mind in this series that I’d like to share with you is about how we work with and compare data and information.

Matching vs. Mismatching

On the one side of the continuum we look for what matches what we already know, we look for what we find as the same as our existing knowledge. On the other side, we look for what differs or mismatches our knowledge.

Matching vs mismatching thinking styleThis frame of mind plays a dominant role in determining our overall style of communication, as well as our world-view.

Those who sort for sameness, tend to focus their attention on how things match up in similar way to previous experiences. They value security and want their world to stay the same.

Those that prefer to sort for differences will first notice the things that differ and don’t match. They value change, variety, and newness. They don’t like situations that remain static – they find them boring. When overdone, they will notice only differences, problems, and things that do not fit.

Now can you imagine someone who sorts for sameness at an extreme level working for someone who mismatches information in an extreme way? It would make for an exciting relationship, to say the least.

Another interesting point about this continuum is that some people match with exception, and others mismatch with exception. By this I mean some look for similarities first, and then differences, while others look for differences first, and then similarities.

How to work out your preference

So where are you on this scale? Ask yourself:

  • What relationship do you see first between what you do now and what you did last year?
  • What do you pat attention to first when you walk into a room?
  • What is the relationship between where you live now and your previous home?

Notice if you answers are about what’s the same or similar, or if they are about what’s different.

So have you worked out if you prefer similarities or differences? And can you work out what your colleague prefers?

Sorting for difference and Communication

So how do we communicate with this frame of mind?

Well, with those who match, emphasize areas of mutual agreement, security, what you both want and ignore differences –especially at first.

With people who mismatch, emphasize how things differ, the new, the different, the distinctions – even the revolutionary. Talk about adventure and development.

For those that do a bit of both- alternate your talk between things that match and those that mismatch.

Applying in life

Talking is easy. Communication, on the other hand, requires greater skill –and as we’ve explored the frames of mind involved in communication, I hope you have seen how the skill of effective communication can be developed.

You can develop it through being aware of the size of the bits of information you use when talking. You can also look at how people prefer to deal with instructions, and give it to them in a more options or more procedural way. And you can look at how some people prefer to match or mismatch information, and you can tailor your message so that you get your points across to them in the way they can more easily understand it.

So as a coach this article would not be complete without bringing these tips into action. So, did you find this information useful? Have you decided to remember it? Can you identify an opportunity in the next week where you can try one of these tips out? Perhaps it’s a meeting, a conversation with your colleague, a phone call or a reply to an email.

With finding ways to use these tips, you’ll notice that people understand you more, and there will be less frustration in communicating. The effectiveness of your communication will improve, and with that you’ll be more successful.

So to end with, for those who are global- these are the tips to be successful. For those who are more procedural, remember that there are 3 sets of frames of mind each on a continuum, and their order is 1. global-specific, 2. options- procedures, and 3. matching-mismatching. And for those that mismatch, well you probably won’t remember this article anyway!

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 Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net