When You’re a Narrator Communicating with a Demonstrator

You think like an engineer, methodically working through the problems in front of you in an orderly manner. Meanwhile, the demonstrator is like a stereotypical artist, brainstorming, jumping between threads and plans, and generally uninterested in boring details. However, you both thrive on consensus-building and have generally positive outlooks, so your conversations will be fairly free of conflict and drama.

If you can help the demonstrator come down to earth a little and can keep up with the flood of new ideas, analyzing and sorting as you go, the two of you can be a great problem-solving team.

Quick Tips for Narrator-Demonstrator Conversations

  • DO try to record a demonstrator’s ideas to work through later rather than trying to keep up with them as they appear.
  • DO have a general outline for the conversation prepared in advance, so you can steer them back to the topic when they go off on a tangent.
  • DO expect a fairly quick decision from the demonstrator once you explain options.
  • DO bring up obstacles and possible solutions at the same time, to keep the conversation positive.
  • DON’T provide so much structure that the demonstrator feels coerced and boxed in.

When a Narrator Meets a Demonstrator, A Happy Medium Is Key

You seek order and structure. They don’t want to be boxed in. You like to proceed methodically, with an eye towards strategy. They’re more spontaneous, tactical thinkers. When a narrator and a demonstrator team up, they can be unbeatable innovators, as long as they can find a happy medium between their preferences. Luckily, both types thrive on consensus, so your natural tendencies will help you strike a balance.

One of the most important places you’ll need balance is in creating structure for the conversation. Demonstrators are natural brainstormers. One of their most common phrases is, “Oh! I just thought of something!” That something may be related to the problem you’re working on, but it may be related to something you discussed a week ago, or something that you haven’t even addressed yet. Since you like to be methodical, dealing with each idea as it surfaces can derail any hope of a decision.

Instead, agree at the start to write these ideas down and to circle back to them at the end of the process, before the final decision. This will give you time to think about them and analyze them, but without dampening the demonstrator’s natural enthusiasm and imagination.

Like narrators, demonstrators thrive on the positive. They don’t like to be weighed down by large numbers of problems and objections. You can keep the discussion practical yet positive by mentioning each negative along with one or more possible solutions. “This apartment isn’t walking distance from your gym, but if you chose it you could learn to use a ride-sharing service or find a closer gym.” When a demonstrator weighs options, they weigh both the positives and the negatives, but a negative with an easy solution won’t hold them back from an almost-perfect solution.

Decision-making with demonstrators is often fairly quick and easy. They’re happy to tackle the problem so they can get on to the next big adventure. Once they’ve decided, they may count on you to work out the details, but that plays to your natural servant-leader strengths. As long as you keep them from feeling trapped or boxed in, you and the demonstrator should be able to work well together.

Learn more about communicating with a demonstrator here.

When You’re a Narrator Communicating with a Contemplator

You’re both focused on details, but your approaches to decision-making tend to be at odds with each other. As a narrator, you tend to focus on problems because you intend to solve them and make a course of action workable. The contemplator, on the other hand, focuses on problems to highlight negatives and to rule out certain courses of action.

That means that whenever you start trying to solve a problem (perhaps by answering “But the concert’s on Tuesday and I have an appointment Tuesday morning,” with “Well, we’ll have plenty of time to shower and change in between”), the contemplator feels like you’re minimizing their worries instead. Since contemplators also love drama, this can trigger a dynamic that’s fun for them but toxic for you. Learning to rein in some of your natural tendencies can help these conversations go more smoothly.

Quick Tips for Narrator-Contemplator Conversations

  • DO understand that when they list a potential negative they’re not asking for a solution.
  • DO refocus personal attacks as attacks on the situation, not on you.
  • DO set a deadline for making a decision, and stick to it.
  • DO periodically refocus the conversation on larger goals.
  • DON’T withdraw in the face of contemplator drama.

When a Narrator and a Contemplator Meet, Milestones Are a Must

There are two big pitfalls that can derail communication and collaboration between narrators and contemplators. On the one hand, it’s easy to fall into a negative dynamic, where the contemplator picks at the narrator, trying to get a reaction and spark drama, and the narrator withdraws, antagonizing the contemplator even more. On the other hand, when you’re working well together, the combination of your detail-oriented natures may keep you from ever reaching a decision.

To avoid drama, acknowledge a contemplator’s feelings, but do not treat excessive negativity as a commentary on you, your skills, or your ideas. Contemplators use drama to rouse themselves to action and goad themselves forward. They also see attention as a sign that you value them and understand their feelings. So, the more you ignore them, the more devalued they feel, and the more they will attempt to provoke a reaction.

Instead, acknowledge their negative feelings from the start, but throw in a bit of praise. “I understand this is a difficult and depressing conversation for you, and I’m so proud of how you’re working through this problem.” That will refocus a contemplator on the decision to be made instead of all the negative events that have led up to the current situation.

Set up milestones before you get together with times or dates attached. This will help keep both of you on track, since both narrators and contemplators thrive when they have clear rules and boundaries. As you work through options and analyze approaches, periodically restate the overarching goal so that you continue moving towards a decision.

Once you have a decision, write it down and have the contemplator commit to it. This will let you both move on to other conversations and projects.

Learn more about communicating with a contemplator here.

When You’re a Narrator Communicating with an Assertor

The first rule of narrator-assertor communications is ‘stand your ground.’ Assertors often mistake your quiet, detail-oriented nature for a lack of interest or of an opinion, and will charge right past you in their single-minded pursuit of their goals. While you hate conflict, trying to avoid it in this case will leave you without any input at all.

Meanwhile, hard-charging, impulsive assertors actually need your help. Your ability to spot difficulties, solve problems, and think strategically means that you can give your assertor necessary information for making a truly good decision. When the two of you work together, you can both develop solutions and take immediate action on them.

Quick Tips for Narrator-Assertor Conversations

  • DO prepare for some drama and conflict. It’s how many assertors self-motivate.
  • DO stand up for yourself and your own needs, even if it exhausts you.
  • DO remind the assertor about how their actions affect other family members and friends.
  • DO gather and organize information before the conversation. Assertors like to make decisions quickly.
  • DON’T take the assertor’s bluster and criticism personally. It’s not actually about you at all.

When a Narrator Works with an Assertor, It Helps to Have Thick Skin

Narrators have a habit of retreating from a situation when they feel hurt or undervalued. While this is an understandable survival strategy, it will hamper your attempts to communicate with an assertor. If you want to help your assertor make decisions about touchy subjects like health, finances, and their personal lives, you’ll need to stretch beyond your comfort zone and be ready to deal with conflict.

Assertors tend to criticize and pick fights partially because that’s how they motivate themselves to act and achieve. They see the negativity as a challenge, something to disprove through action. Meanwhile, you take personal attacks, well, personally, and they hurt. When you deal with an assertor, you just have to ignore the opinion and focus on the facts. Keeping the discussion fact-centered keeps them focused on decision-making, rather than on their rather questionable motivation techniques.

Assertors tend to consider only their needs and wants when they make a decision, so you’ll also have to advocate for the interests of other loved ones, even if they’re not present. Luckily, you excel at building consensus. In some ways, you’ll be acting as a moderator between the assertor’s needs and those of the absent parties. As a narrator, you often function better when you’re defending others and their interests, so this dynamic actually plays to your strengths as a communicator.

Finally, while you like to think strategically, research, and work through decisions with an eye towards minimizing risk of failure, assertors are whirlwinds. They thrive on risk, love taking action, and make decisions with their guts. To ensure that the ‘gut decision’ is also a good one, do your research and strategizing before you sit down to talk with the assertor. Then you can both minimize conversation time and maximize the odds of a good decision.

Learn more about communicating with an assertor here.

When You’re a Narrator Communicating with a Narrator

There will be no conflict in this communication pair, but you may fall prey to inaction and uncertainty. You both love to research, develop strategies, troubleshoot possible paths, and build consensus. However, when two narrators get together, there’s no one to push them towards a decision. It’s easy to get so caught up in the research phase of the process that you never actually reach your goal.

To help a narrator loved one make decisions about complicated issues, you’re going to need to step out of your natural communication role and stretch yourself in new directions. Otherwise, you’ll fall into the trap of endless discussion with no real decisions made.

Quick Tips for Narrator-Narrator Conversations

  • DO embrace the power of checklists to keep yourselves on track.
  • DO set a deadline for the decision so that you can move forward.
  • DO wait to engineer solutions until after you have chosen a path.
  • DO feel free to bring in a neutral third party to help you decide and to keep you on track.
  • DON’T neglect feelings when considering important life decisions. Facts and feelings both matter.

When Two Narrators Talk, It’s a Chance to Grow

You seldom come across a business, community group, or team made up of only narrators. That’s because you value consensus and servant-leadership, but function at your best when you’re judging and weighing inputs from all kinds of communicators. In a narrator-only environment, you may never reach a consensus because neither of you feels strongly and both of you want to gather more data. Plus, you’re both so easygoing that you feel that there’s no rush to decide. Narrators don’t like to be hasty about things.

In extreme cases, you may need to ask a neutral third party to keep your discussions on track. Otherwise, you can become so involved in solving the most interesting problem in front of you that you lose sight of the big picture and the original goal of the discussion. When you need to help a loved one make decisions related to aging, however, it doesn’t make sense to tackle a problem related to finance when you need to be discussing the side effects of a drug. Sometimes, you need help to focus on the immediate, and a third party can do that for you.

If you can’t ask for help, you’ll have to stretch yourself. Checklists and timers can be a great way to keep a discussion on track, hit all the key points, and make real progress toward a solution. If you treat the decision-making process itself as a problem to be engineered and solved, you’ll be able to reach a decision within a reasonable timeframe.

Finally, don’t reduce the final decision to one based solely on facts. With big life decisions, how you both feel can be as important as other realities on the ground. While taking refuge in a facts-only view can help avoid conflict in the short term, you’ll reach a better decision in the long term if you consider both facts and feelings, even when the feelings cause you some discomfort.

Learn more about communicating with a narrator here.

When You’re a Contemplator Communicating with a Narrator

You both like to take your time, contemplate facts, and look at possible problems. However, while you approach potential problems as warnings, the narrator sees them as engineering challenges. This can be frustrating, since the narrator keeps trying to fix things that, for you, are more expressions of uncertainty and worry as you work towards finding the ideal course. Narrators also enjoy perfection, but they’re completely happy to readjust reality to achieve it.

When you’re working well together, you can conquer obstacles and transform a mediocre plan into a great one. However, you both like to take your time and work through every possible option, so you may need a big-picture person on call to help you keep your conversations on target.

Quick Tips for Contemplator-Narrator Conversations

  • DO try to keep you both focused on the present, not past mistakes or future strategies.
  • DO use praise as a motivator.
  • DO set a deadline for a decision so that you both have to reach a conclusion.
  • DO expect them to see the problems you highlight as puzzles to solve.
  • DON’T criticize or make personal attacks. Negativity can make a narrator shut down.

When Contemplators and Narrators Communicate Well, Solutions Happen

When you need to communicate with a narrator, it’s important to think before you speak. Negative and accusatory language won’t motivate a narrator. Instead, they respond by putting up walls and withdrawing from a perceived confrontation. To keep narrators engaged and interested, focus on the problem to be solved, not attacks on people.

You may have the tendency to list the negatives of a potential action as a way to show that it’s not a workable option. Be careful. A narrator will take that list of negatives as a challenge, and try to engineer solutions to each of them. Because narrators value consensus, you’ll reach an agreement more quickly if you just state your preference, rather than if you try to convince them that your way is the only right way.

You both love facts and research, so when you approach a problem together you’re likely to enrich and deepen each other’s understanding of the issues. Narrators are especially strong at planning and strategic thinking, which can be especially helpful when you’re dealing with the financial concerns of aging.

When the two of you see the same problems and are willing to work through them, a contemplator and a narrator can become an extraordinarily strong team. Your one weakness will be a tendency to focus on details and lose sight of the larger problem. To keep the big picture in mind, consider setting a deadline or bringing in a third party to help you remember the ultimate goal of your discussions.

Learn more about communicating with a narrator here.

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.

When You’re a Contemplator Communicating with an Assertor

You love details and focusing on what can go wrong. She soars above it all, focusing on the goal and ignoring obstacles until they impede her progress. You both love the challenge and excitement of a good fight. Criticism only spurs the two of you onward. In many ways, a contemplator working with an assertor is a great team.

You want your loved one to make decisions, and you have the skills necessary to support and troubleshoot those decisions, and you both care more about being right than pleasing other people. However, problems can erupt when you and the assertor disagree about goals, or when the assertor chooses an option that you don’t like. Even when you’re working together, you may cause disunion among a larger family group, as other communication types can feel left out and marginalized when the two of you get to work.

Finally, you like to make calm, considered decisions, while the assertor can be more of a ‘snap judgment’ type. You’ll need to match your pacing and skills to hers if you want to reach the best possible decision.

Quick Tips for Contemplator-Assertor Conversations

  • DO come prepared with relevant facts. The assertor won’t want to wait for you to gather information.
  • DO take time to listen to their view before you launch into yours.
  • DO try to make them aware of important details.
  • DO think about how the decision-making process affects others in your circle of family and friends.
  • DON’T try to highlight every possible negative outcome. Focus on the 3-5 most important obstacles to overcome.

Balance Personalities When a Contemplator Meets an Assertor

When you’re communicating with an assertor, your biggest challenge is to strike a balance and be prepared for quick action. Assertors are decisive. They allow a limited time for information gathering and thought, and then follow their gut impulses. You like to work decisions over, and may go back and forth a few times before you settle on your ideal solution.

To facilitate conversation with an assertor, come prepared. Gather your facts and information before you meet. Work through potential solutions ahead of time. Arrive at the conversation ready to listen, speak your piece, and make a decision.

If you feel as if your assertor is making a poor decision, outline your objections concisely, with a focus on the facts. If the ultimate decision is yours, not hers, expect pushback if she doesn’t agree with you. Explain your reasons for your decision as clearly and concisely as possible.

Both contemplators and assertors value being right more than they value reaching a consensus. If you and the assertor can’t agree on a decision, it’s a good idea to ask a third party to act as a moderator to help you both express your concerns and wishes, and to suggest possible compromises. Remember, when you’re dealing with aging loved ones, the ultimate goal is not to be right or to win, but to meet their needs respectfully and lovingly.

Learn more about communicating with an assertor here.

When You’re a Contemplator Communicating with a Contemplator

Even when someone shares your communication type, it can be challenging to converse well and reach decisions together. You’re both focused on details, so it’s easy to miss the big picture and a host of workable solutions. You’re both perfectionists, so may not want to make a less-than-ideal choice, even when your ideal doesn’t exist. You both thrive on drama, and so it’s possible to fall into a rabbit hole of what-ifs while losing sight of what is.

When you’re helping another contemplator deal with concerns related to aging, it’s important to take a step away from your natural style in order to help them find comfort and find solutions.

Quick Tips for Contemplator-Contemplator Conversations

  • DO try to avoid delving too far into what-ifs. Focus on the actual facts as you know them.
  • DO acknowledge that a decision must be made. Set a deadline for the decision.
  • DO work together to develop solutions to potential problems.
  • DO feel free to ask a third party who is more of a ‘big picture’ type for advice.
  • DO NOT allow yourselves to get so involved in potential bad outcomes that you forget to look for potential good outcomes.

When Two Contemplators Talk, It’s Important to Have Boundaries and Rules

You and your loved one are both contemplators. He gets you. He’s the only one who understands why disaster is looming and why only proper planning will avert it. When everyone else is telling you to look outside, it’s a beautiful day, he understands why you grab your umbrella on the way out the door.

The same thought patterns that help you understand each other can be counterproductive when it’s time to make big, uncomfortable decisions about his health, finances, or personal life. To facilitate this decision-making, you may have to take a step back from your natural style. Listen to his list of potential roadblocks, but don’t pile on with your own. Instead, ask leading questions like “What can we do to overcome that problem?”

Try to focus on the bigger picture. Since this is hard for both of you, consider having your discussions with a whiteboard or other writing tool in the room. You can write a description of the issue in large letters across the top. For example, “THE CURRENT PULMONOLOGIST ISN’T HELPING.” Then, if the conversation veers off into unrelated or marginally related details, you’ll both have a reminder to pull you back on track.

If your perfectionist tendencies and wont to worry are getting in the way, it’s okay to call in a third person to help facilitate the conversation and decision making. Find someone who’s good at big ideas and thinking outside of the box to help nudge the two of you out of your focused view and back on track. It can be hard making decisions as a contemplator-contemplator pair, but with extra effort, you can help your loved one navigate concerns related to health, finance, and personal life.

Learn more about communicating with a contemplator here.

When You’re a Demonstrator Communicating with a Narrator

You both hate drama and love consensus-building. You love to brainstorm, they excel at problem solving. It should be an easy partnership, but there’s one huge problem. A narrator will not be rushed, while you love to jump right to the solution.

To work well with a narrator you need to be able to slow down, take time to listen, and both ask and answer probing questions. The great thing is, this new way of communicating won’t just strengthen your ability to work with a narrator—you can use it in all aspects of your life to improve your communication skills everywhere.

Quick Tips for Demonstrator-Narrator Conversations

  • DO slow down and give the narrator time to process information.
  • DO approach negatives as problems to be solved rather than avoided.
  • DO listen to their preferred options and then express yours, so you can both work towards a consensus.
  • DO come prepared with facts and research. Narrators like to know where you got your information.
  • DON’T forget to set a timeline for a decision. Narrators love research, and without a deadline will never leave the ‘research phase’ of decision making.

When a Demonstrator Works with a Narrator, Take it Slowly

In some ways, you’re the perfect match. You both get along well with people, shun arguments, and tend to take a positive outlook. You’re loyal and friendly. But when it comes to solving problems and making decisions, your natural communication styles can be at odds. You move between ideas quickly, picking one up, dropping another. You prefer to reach a solution by trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t, then moving on.

Meanwhile, the narrator would rather move slowly and think strategically. They deal with objections or roadblocks by fixing them. And they’re willing to take the time to come up with the perfect fix. Give them that time. If you rush a narrator, they just withdraw and refuse to go anywhere. So give them the time to play tortoise to your hare. They’ll reach a consensus with you, but you probably leaped to it. Now you need to wait for their slow and steady decision-making process to catch up.

When you’re stating problems or working towards solutions, don’t pepper the narrator with one idea after another. Take a break and give them time to absorb what you’re saying and think about it. It may help if you keep a notepad handy while you talk. When your brain runs ahead of where you’re at in the conversation, jot down your thoughts to mention to the narrator later.

Finally, set a deadline for a decision. You don’t need it, but your narrator does. Without a deadline, researching problems and crafting strategy will take over, and a narrator may get ‘stuck’ at this point in the decision-making process. A deadline and some encouraging words can help keep the narrator progressing towards the ultimate goal.

Learn more about communicating with a narrator here.

When You’re a Demonstrator Communicating with a Contemplator

When you’re used to looking on the bright side and accentuating the positive, a contemplator can seem like a bit of a downer. Their detail-oriented worldview is extremely focused on avoiding past mistakes and lowering expectations for the future. Contemplators are perfectionists, and they have a knack for finding things that don’t meet their exacting standards. Meanwhile, you try to make the best of everything.

The contemplator sends their food back to the kitchen if it’s not hot enough; you’ve been known to eat the wrong menu item without voicing a word of complaint. You enjoy grand plans and big brainstorms, the contemplator works exhaustively on one small idea, trying to smooth out every last flaw. Can the two of you hope to communicate and make decisions together? Yes, if you each focus on your strengths and try to understand each other’s worldview.

Quick Tips for Demonstrator-Contemplator Conversations

  • DO listen to and appreciate their enumeration of details.
  • DO help refocus on the big picture if the conversation gets too focused on minutiae.
  • DO feel free to focus on facts, not on the negative emotions attached to the facts.
  • DO encourage the contemplator to rank options, since no one option is perfect.
  • DON’T let the contemplator keep picking apart the decision after it’s been made.

A Demonstrator and Contemplator Must Play to Each Other’s Strengths

Your sunny, upbeat nature may irritate them sometimes, but when it comes to choosing between difficult choices in situations where ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist, you can be a contemplator’s strongest ally, expanding horizons and creating paths where none existed before. However, before you can help you’ll need to slow down a little and give the contemplator time to explain all of the details and pitfalls weighing on their mind. If you rush this part of the conversation, there will never be a decision.

After you let the contemplator air the details, help refocus them on the larger issue. Without this help refocusing, contemplators can get stuck in a loop, going over the same details again and again as they try to find a solution that solves every problem forever. (Hint: these sorts of solutions never exist in the real world.)

Use facts to refocus the contemplator on the problem at hand. Ignore any statements of the form “But you always,” or “We never.” You should be aiming for a consensus, and you’re just the person to forge one. Since no option is perfect, have the contemplator list the pluses and minuses of each, and then score them and put them in order.

One tool that many contemplators find helpful is a PMI chart. In a PMI, you can go through each option together and list its pluses, its minuses, and anything you find interesting. You’re essential for this part of the process, because your optimistic nature will allow you to see positives that the contemplator overlooks. Meanwhile, the contemplator will be able to flag negatives that you miss. Working together, you’ll be able to settle on the best course of action more quickly than either of you could working alone.

Once the two of you reach a decision, move on to something else. Contemplators have a tendency to revisit decisions they’ve already made and second guess themselves. You can’t stop this process, but you can implement the agreed-upon solution before the second-guessing starts, since it won’t actually result in new information or a better course of action.

Learn more about communicating with a contemplator here.