When You’re a Contemplator Communicating with a Demonstrator

You want to take your time and work through every possible pitfall to ensure that you’ve made the perfect choice. They want to decide quickly and move on. You’re focused on learning from past experience; they live in the moment. You’re desperate to convey just how bad the situation could turn out to be; they’re telling you to cheer up and look on the bright side of life.

When a focused, perfectionist contemplator has to deal with an easy-breezy demonstrator, expect frustration and hurt feelings. You can help the conversation along by taking a deep breath and a step back as you try to see the situation from their perspective. At the same time, your focus on details and deadlines means that you can ensure a decision gets made now, instead of being kicked down the road until the demonstrator is forced to focus.

Quick Tips for Contemplator-Demonstrator Conversations

  • DO give the contemplator time to ramble and express emotion before you get to the point.
  • DO expect grand plans, brainstorms, and tangents. This is how demonstrators work through a decision.
  • DO remind the demonstrator of important details and try to make sure the decision is somewhat grounded in reality.
  • DO try to balance your worries with their eternal optimism to reach a realistic view of the problem.
  • DON’T start out by stating your preference forcefully, or the demonstrator may be reluctant to express their preferences.

Contemplators Need a Light Touch When Dealing with Demonstrators

If you’re a contemplator, dealing with your demonstrator can be maddening. They won’t stay focused, stick to the schedule, or even acknowledge how bad things will be. They don’t just tell themselves that everything will work out for the best—they actually seem to believe it. As a contemplator, you may feel like it’s your job to get them to face the harsh realities in front of them and to admit that the future is full of negative consequences. But don’t.

Trying to make the demonstrator see things your way won’t facilitate communication or decision making. It will just create a dynamic where the demonstrator feels the need to cheer you up and accentuate the positive. You’ll both become mired in a cycle of “Yes, but…” and no decisions will be made.

If you’re trying to help a demonstrator make a major life decision, it helps to see your role as advisor and facilitator. You don’t have to introduce everything that could go wrong. Instead, focus on major issues and roadblocks and encourage the demonstrator to come up with a plan that deals with them. You may need to refocus the conversation several times, but the plus is that the demonstrator will make a decision and move on.

Keep the discussion light and low-drama. Resist your tendency to try to make things more exciting or to give the discussion more weight. Avoid talk of looming deadlines or urgent needs. Demonstrators hate being boxed in, and the more you emphasize urgency and severity, the harder it will be to get them to buckle down and make decisions.

Once a demonstrator has made a choice, resist your urge to keep talking it over and dissecting it. If the demonstrator is satisfied, that’s good enough. It doesn’t have to be a perfect solution as long as it’s an agreeable solution. Finally, if you want the demonstrator to express their opinion freely, let them speak first. Because demonstrators prefer to avoid conflict at all costs, if you voice your preference first, the demonstrator may simply shut down and agree with you to head off a potential argument.

Learn more about communicating with a demonstrator here.