Tied into these communication styles is motivation styles. When discussing an issue, one person may best be motivated by how it affects the rest of the team, while another may be motivated by how much praise or recognition they will receive.
One style isn't necessarily better than the others, they're just different. And when working with other people, especially in a supervisory role, it's important to understand their styles in order to properly communicate with and motivate them. (On a personal note, this was one of the first big lessons I learned as a manger by pissing off one of my team members.)
These topics tend to be covered within the context of business, because different types of people necessarily need to work together. But what about personal relationships?
When discussing an issue with a friend or relative--especially a contentious or politically charged issue--these styles are absolutely still in play. But many of us don't even think about it. The natural, default communication style is based on what would we respond to and are motivated by. The kind of explanation or argument that would go over really well if talking to ourselves. The problem is, that's not who we're talking to and trying to win over. The key is to identify the other person's styles so that the explanation can be framed in a way that resonates with them.
These might include:
- The impact that it will have on people in the neighborhood, especially given the stench that paper mills put out (if you've never smelled one, consider yourself lucky).
- The environmental impact that the plant will have from its wastewater, air pollution, and on nearby forests.
- The economic impact it will have as it drives down the property values in the surrounding area.
- An appeal to modern technology that promotes digital distribution, especially given the rapid decline of physical newspaper distribution.
- Side note: some paper mills have adapted well and are thriving by producing cardboard instead of paper. People aren't reading and writing in physical form nearly as much these days, but we sure do ship a lot of packages for online shopping.
The point is, if you want to persuade somebody to your cause, it's important to present your case in a way that actually matters to them. Especially when it comes to conversations across the political divide, where different political leanings produce yet another layer of motivations.
Of course, we're all individuals, so just because our "team" is motivated in a certain way doesn't mean we will be. It's important to get to know and understand the person in order to be able to communicate effectively.
To be clear, this isn't about manipulation, it's about respect for the person your dialoguing with, helping them to understand why you feel the way you do.