Communication Skills: “Point People” Need “Story People” Too

You know you are speaking with “Point People” when their preferred communication style is to cut to the chase. They get impatient with the backstory and explanations that build to a conclusion or recommendation — the bottom line is what’s most important to Point People, and the sooner you deliver it, the better. 

“Story People” prefer to provide the background. They think context is very important, and like to explain, describe, and build a story, ultimately revealing conclusions and recommendations.

It’s no surprise then, that given their different preferences for delivering and receiving information, Point People and Story People can have a tough time communicating with each other. 

Recently, we wrote an article about Point People and Story People. “Communicating with Point People” focused on how Story People can adapt and communicate more effectively with Point People. Most CEOs and senior leaders are Point People, and Story People need to understand how to effectively communicate with them.

But Point People need Story People too!

Not only are most CEOs and senior leaders Point People, they also tend to have a bias toward hiring and promoting other Point People. For effective leadership, surrounding yourself with people who think the way you think and communicate the way you communicate is a dangerous course. 

Leaders need followers, and as a leader you need to develop your followership. However, you will not succeed with followers who all talk and think like you do. If you are a Point Person, a room full of bullet-point, bottom line-oriented people will cause you to miss important contributions and insights, and hamstring your decisions. Such a dynamic tends to create overconfidence and “groupthink” — which in turn discourages critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. For more, read Arden Coaching’s article, “Diversity, Including Diversity of Thought, Benefits Your Organization.”

Background and context is vital for decision-making. Leaders can better understand an idea, an alternative, a recommendation, or a conclusion by understanding the journey that led there — the process, the factors, the details, the analysis, and the weighing of the pros and cons. Story People provide that. For more about communication skills, read “Leadership and Communication Skills: 4 Insights.”

One way to help people recognize their preferred communication style is through a DiSC assessment. DiSC is a proven tool designed to better understand yourself and others — and how everyone interacts and works together. For more, read, “The Value of DiSC for You and Your Team.”

You want other types of thinkers and communicators on your team. So, create some space for Story People and expand your leadership super powers!

To learn more about communication skills, DiSC assessments, and building leadership skills at your organization, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.