Knowing which language to speak to others is vital for creating an openness to be heard. Likewise, knowing which language you speak in response to others can provide some useful self-awareness.
If someone walks up to me speaking Japanese, for example, I will smile at them, shrug my shoulders and use signs and gestures to try to get them to understand I don’t know what they are saying. Or I will try to find someone who speaks Japanese to help them. Or get them to type what they are saying into my PC and then Google the translation. You get the picture. I will do whatever I can to help them out. If this happened to someone else, they may simply ignore them and walk away. Still others (think extreme nationalism) might even yell at them saying they are in America, don’t they know we speak English here?
The various responses to these languages are really no different than the responses we get with our languages of influence. You may think my response to the situation above is because I am polite. Maybe. But mainly it is because I speak Liaison as my predominant language and I want to help them out. For those who don’t speak Liaison predominantly, they may not respond at all, or respond negatively.
The Information Language
Today we are talking about the second language of influence, the Information Language. For people who speak Information, being convinced that what they are hearing can be supported by data and is not just rhetoric is essential. The Information Language values correct and complete information as much as the Liaison Language values respect and validation for people and their opinions.
So how do we learn the language of Information?
- Provide what you believe they need and communicate what you have done to supply them with the information.
- Do the research necessary for any further questions they have. Be thorough.
- Follow up when the data is complete. The effort you have made to get them what they value will be appreciated and likely open the door for your position to be heard.
Be informed. People who value knowledge and learning will respect the fact that you have taken the time to supply them, without bias, what they need.
The Information Language needs a little time to absorb all the material supplied, so be patient. Ask when a good time would be to follow up with them, then follow through on that. And when you do, let them know you value their feedback and be prepared to take some criticism when they give it to you. Sometimes they will have information of their own to counter yours, so just be prepared. Listen. Do your own absorption of their material. You will grow a little in a new language.
And remember, there are times when it is more appropriate to ask for their information first. Just be sensitive to this and if they appear hesitant to look over what you have provided, ask for their information on the topic first. This will open the door for you to be heard next.