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Perfecting Connecting®: Learning to Speak the Language of Others (part 2)

Reading Temperament Clues
Over the centuries, great philosophers, educators, and researchers—from the ancient Greeks to the Native American Indians—have identified four distinct patterns or temperaments that all mankind fall into.Dr. Linda V. Berens, a student of Dr. David Keirsey’s, refined the four temperament patterns even more*. She broke down the essential elements of each temperament pattern into core needs, values, talents, and behaviors.

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The belief that only extraverted people are successful networkers is simply not true. People from all four patterns—Improviser, Stabilizer, Theorist, and Catalyst —have the capacity to enjoy equal success at networking. “Perfecting connecting” is about forming valued relationships, not working a room so you pick up as a record number of business cards.

Adding Animal Metaphors
In TRI Methodology Facilitator’s Guide (1997), Dr. Linda Beren’s identified four animal metaphors (described below) that represent each of the temperament patterns. Also included are case studies from a variety of professionals. These case studies show how their individual temperament preferences have influenced their ability to connect with others.

Remember, these four case studies represent only one example of each temperament. The difference between someone with an extroverted personality versus someone with an introverted personality can make two people with the same temperament preference look very different.
As you read these descriptions, think about which one fits your own temperament preference best. Also, think about the people from your network who may sound to you like one of the other three temperament patterns. Once you have a specific person in mind, read on to learn how to best connect with him or her. Pay close attention to the “rules” you need to remember to heighten your awareness so you can appeal to that person’s core needs and values.

The Improvisers
Their core needs are to have the freedom to act without hindrance and to see a marked result from their actions. Improvisers value aesthetics highly, whether in nature or art. Their energies are focused on skillful performance, variety, and stimulation. Improvisers tend to be gifted at employing available means to accomplish an end. Their creativity is revealed by the variety of solutions they come up with. They are talented at using tools, whether the tool is language, theories, paintbrushes, or computers. They’re natural negotiators and risk takers, which is why the Fox is their animal. Foxes and artisans are tactical, adaptive creatures; they know how to deal easily with changes in their environment.

Improviser case study: Here is how a manager of an outpatient healthcare organization uses tactical approaches when meeting new contacts.

“When I attend a networking function, I always expect to meet new people and learn as much as I possibly can from them. I’m able to walk away confident that I can apply whatever I have learned to improve my success in my job. I never used to like attending networking functions but I have started because I enjoy meeting people and finding out what they do. I like helping them make connections. If there’s an introduction I can make or a door I can open, I’ll jump on that if someone made a positive first impression. I have developed a powerful introduction that is catchy and differentiates me from other people who do what I do.

“When I meet new people, three questions immediately go through my head: Can they help me? Can I help them? Is there a possibility for a mutually beneficial relationship? If I had to rank what’s most important when meeting people, it would be 1) the contacts they have, 2) any offers to help me, 3) their positions, 4) their personalities, and 5) their expertise. Their ability and willingness to follow through is also key to my deciding on whether I keep in touch. Actions speak louder than words or promises.”

When connecting with Improvisers, remember to:

  • Talk about your actions—what you’ve done, results you’ve achieved
  • Talk about how you’ve influenced others
  • Respond quickly to their non-verbal cues—the first 17 seconds is critical in making a positive first impression because they get bored easily
  • Appeal to their need for freedom/options/variety
  • Show them action—who, when, how to get things done…now!


The Stabilizers
Their core needs are for group membership and responsibility. Stabilizers need to know they are doing the responsible thing. They value stability, security, and a sense of community. They trust hierarchy and authority, and may be surprised when others go against these social structures. Stabilizers know how things have always been done so they anticipate where things can go wrong. They have a knack for attending to rules, procedures, and protocol. They make decisions based on what worked in the past. Stabilizers are called Beavers because they have incredible logistical talents for how they build their dams and approach their work. They mate for life and are fiercely protective of their families (or teams). They know how to conserve resources.

Stabilizer case study: Here is how an organizational consultant and head of his own consulting firm uses logic to maintain his relationships and cultivate new contacts.

“I’m not a natural networker and I don’t easily initiate conversation with people I don’t know. However, I’m very loyal to my network contacts and extremely dependable, so often they make the first contact for me. If the person appears sincere in wanting to develop a professional relationship, I will follow up immediately, most likely by email.”

“Recently, I attended a professional association meeting where I didn’t know anyone in the room. Two members introduced themselves to me and we engaged in lengthy conversations that led to several business possibilities. I immediately followed up with both of them and we’re now attempting to do business together. I’m extremely organized and structured in maintaining my contacts. Even with my busy travel schedule, I make a point to stay connected to my contacts. I consider these people my best advocates in helping me build my business.”

When connecting with Stabilizers, remember to:

  • Acknowledge what they’ve done/contributed
  • Be factual, use detailed descriptions, and quantify if you can
  • Talk about what you’ve learned from the past using comparisons
  • Be dependable and consistent; always follow through
  • Provide structure to your connection with them
  • Appeal to their need for membership and belonging

>> Continue to Part 3 >>

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