As a leader/manager, you have the challenge of leading individuals on the spectrum of communication skills. Some individuals will be literal/concrete thinkers. Think Dr. Sheldon Cooper of the Big Bang Theory. In order to increase productivity and cooperation, there are some communication techniques that will help.
Positive communication with literal colleagues and clients:
- Literal individuals often face challenges in interpersonal communications. Specifically they are often unaware of the nuances of body language and non-verbal communication techniques such as vocal tone. They will often misinterpret body language cues.
- Literal individuals will often over-explain. It’s okay to say, “I understand.”
- Other characteristics of literal individuals:
- Determination to seek the truth
- Advanced vocabulary and interest in words
- Perseverance in gathering and cataloging
- Encyclopedic knowledge of topic
- Focused desire to maintain order and accuracy
- Do NOT take it personally when they do not
make small talk, smile, or engage in typical interpersonal communication behaviors.
- Think about your word selection and use specific words that exactly capture what you mean.
- Refrain from using lots of hand or arm gestures.
- Provide lists and detailed justification for your proposals and/or actions.
- When possible, communicate via phone and e-mail.