Boardmanship for Charity: Part Six

Boardmanship for Charity

Part Six

By Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM / Published February 2017


Editor’s Note: Boardmanship for Charity, Part One, was published in the June 2016 issue; Part Two was published in the August 2016 issue; Part Three was published in the October 2016 issue; Part Four was published in the December 2016 issue; and Part Five was published in the January 2017 issue.

Have you ever had a failure to communicate with someone, failed to have a meeting of the minds, or been misunderstood? What you thought you said is not what the other person heard!

Each of us has a definable style of communicating, and it relates to our brain dominance. Each person is born with a preference toward using one part of his brain more than others for giving, receiving, and processing information. Loosely speaking, there are four main quadrants of your brain, which translates into four basic styles of communicating. Knowing there are four basic styles and being able to identify them in someone else gives you a head start in talking with them.

The front of your head is the top of the circle—the D and I quadrants. The front part of the brain is the part that is the high-risk, fast-paced decision maker.

The back of your head is the bottom of the circle—the C and S quadrants. The back part of the brain is the part that is the low-risk, slower-paced decision maker.

The left side is task oriented—the D and C. The right side is people oriented—I and S.

To decide which style you are talking to, ask yourself the following questions.

The “D” Style

Would you describe the person as a very dominant, direct, determined, demanding, decisive individual? Someone who tends to speak before he or she thinks, who seems to be strong-minded and confident (even when obviously in the wrong), someone easily bored with too much detail, and who likes new and innovative ideas (sometimes off the wall)?

Do these phrases describe the other person?

  • I like to win.
  • I like to plan the future.
  • I like new ideas.
  • I like results.
  • I like to be my own boss.
  • I like to move fast.
  • I like a challenge.

If so, then you are dealing with what behavior specialists call a Dominant (“D”) personality or communication style.

To encourage more effective communication, do not be too strong or overbearing toward them. This personality type likes to win, so if you can (without compromising) concede on an issue or let them win on a certain point, let them. Next, be sure you get to the bottom line quickly in your conversation. Do not overwhelm them with too many facts and figures. Give them the big idea. They are only interested in results, goals, and achievements. Third, try to seem more confident and assertive. Recognize they will challenge your position or idea. This person actually likes to argue! Don’t let them intimidate you. Lastly, cut the small talk. Be direct and businesslike. Stress results and don’t waste their time.

The “I” Style

Are you talking to someone who can be described as very interactive, influencing, interesting, and inspirational, and who has never met a stranger? Someone who tends to be very sociable and people-oriented, who lacks attention to detail and is easily distracted, but who loves to have fun and talk a lot? Who has the ability to “take the conversation away from you”? And, if it were possible, they could sell ice to Eskimos? This is the ultimate PR person or sales person.

Do these phrases describe the other person?

  • I like to be liked.
  • I like to express my ideas and feelings.
  • I like being in front of a group.
  • I like surprises.
  • I like lots of fun activities.
  • I like recognition.


If so, you are dealing with what we call the Influencing (“I”) personality or communication style.

The Influencing (“I”) personality or communication style loves to talk. They like to feel important, so let them talk first. But, you will have to remind them that you are there to do business, not visit. If you also are people-oriented, the two of you will have to be careful not to talk each other to death. Don’t forget the reason for your meeting. Be sure to “ask for the order” or “schedule a meeting” or “make a decision.” Try to keep them focused and not let them ramble. This type is very sensitive to facial expressions so be sure to show some enthusiasm when you talk. Smile. They don’t mind talking to strangers, so give them an assignment where they can do that. Don’t overwhelm them with facts and figures. They like to have fun, so let them try out whatever you are showing them. Some of you will have to be a little less formal and businesslike and be friendlier when you talk to these types.

The “S” Style

Is the person you are talking to someone who is steady and predictable, reluctant to change, supportive, shy, sensitive, and the sweetest person you know? Someone who is very dependable, can be easily talked out of their opinions, enjoys being part of a team, and will contribute untold hours behind the scenes to ensure that the work gets done?

Do these phrases describe the other person?

  • I like to be accepted.
  • I like teamwork and cooperation.
  • I like sticking to what works.
  • I like harmony.
  • I like things to stay the same.
  • I like sincere appreciation.


If so, you are dealing with what we call the Supportive (“S”) personality or communication style.

The Supportive (“S”) personality or communication style likes to help. These will be your most loyal volunteers and easiest to get along with. When threatened, they can become very stubborn. You will need to slow down a little bit and not scare them. If your communication style is stronger than theirs, try not to intimidate them. Give them time to digest the facts. They do not like change and need to have time to think before they can support the change. They prefer the stability of the tried and proven and are not impressed, but threatened, by new and innovative ideas. Because they are people-oriented, they always appreciate comments from you about their family members. Be careful not to come on too strong or be overly friendly too soon. Once you win their confidence, they will usually vote with you rather than against you.

If you are still not sure which type you are dealing with, use the half-empty, half-full glass test…

The “I” says, “Great, the glass is half full!”

The “C” says, “Rats, the glass is half empty.”

The “S” says, “Umm, half full. No! Wait! Half empty, no, half…  What do you think?”

The “D” says, “Hey, I ordered a cheeseburger!”

Notice that the “D” and the “S” and the “I” and the “C” are opposite communication styles and rarely see eye-to-eye. The types of conflict each opposite pair will have are easily predictable. Since the conflict is predictable, so is the conflict prevention strategy and stress management.

The “C” Style

Are you dealing with someone who could be described as a critical thinker, somewhat suspicious, calculating, concerned, cautious, and very detail oriented (“picky”)? Do they ask lots of seemingly impossible questions, tend to be well organized, like to stick to proven ideas and methods, and follow the letter of the law (i.e., the “documents”)?

Do these phrases describe the other person?

  • I like to be right.
  • I like to know what is expected of me.
  • I like an established plan.
  • I like clear instructions.
  • I like finishing what I start.
  • I like organizing things.


If so, you are dealing with what we call the Critical Thinker (“C”) personality or communication style.

When talking with them, be prepared to answer their questions. Do your homework ahead of time and give those facts, figures, comparison, charts, graphs, and all the data they will need for proof. They will need longer to process the data, so slow down and don’t be too pushy. Give them time to think. Don’t be phony, answer their objections, and never say “don’t worry about it.”  Next, don’t socialize. Cut the cute stories, don’t waste their time, and don’t appear silly. Thirdly, expect skepticism. It’s normal for this type of person. Be prepared to address their suspicions.

Last, keep a thorough and precise approach to your discussions. This type will appreciate if you outline things in a sequential, chronological manner. You need to appear orderly (make sure your office is not a mess and that your shirttail is tucked in and your hair is neat). 

Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM

Florida CAM Schools

Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, guides managers, board members, and service providers in handling daily operations of their communities while at the same time dealing with different communication styles, difficult personalities, and conflict. Effective communication and efficient management are her goals. For more than 15 years, Barbieux has educated thousands of managers, directors, and service providers. She is your trainer for life! Barbieux is the author of Boardmanship, a columnist in the Florida Community Association Journal, and a member of the Regulatory Council for Community Association Managers. For more information, contact, (352) 326-8365, or