Go Deeper In Your Relationships: How To Understand The Circles Of Humanness – Michael Grinder & Associates

Go Deeper In Your Relationships: How to Understand the Circles of Humanness

When people interact, there are several layers that they encounter with each other. In this video clip, you’ll learn the normal process of how relationships move through the layers to go deeper. People will move from appearance to behaviors to styles to values and — ultimately their core identity.

An understanding of the Circles of Humanness will help you know at what level you want to engage and share with another.

Read the transcript:

There are many layers to a human being.

Initially, we notice their appearances. Very quickly, we become aware of their behaviors. Over time, we encounter their styles, both mental and emotional. If we work or live with them, we eventually experience their values. And at the very core is their core identity.

These layers could be described as circles of humanness. Each circle supersedes the importance of the outside circle.

Our impressions and hallucinations of a person are based on how they look — appearances.

Well, we’d all like to politically believe that we are not prejudiced or biased based on how people look, appear, and dress, but we are. Within 40 seconds, people size us up, and we tend to enjoy doing the same thing with them. There’s nothing wrong with that. We just have to make sure that we know it’s not accurate.

So let’s examine, in the Western World, how people might be interpreted by their initial contact with another human being.

People with narrow faces, small eyes, small mouths, thin lips, and if their eye sockets are sunken into their skulls, almost like in a cave, those people are interpreted as being credible, ambitious, driven, and result-oriented.

Whereas people that have wider faces, bigger eyes, bigger mouths, bigger lips, and their eye sockets are closer to the surface, those people are gonna be seen as more approachable and friendly. They’re going to be interpreted as having high morale and being extremely cooperative.

If you have features from one column and also features from the other column, you can probably presume that people don’t stereotype you as much. However, you could have one of those features, your face, your eyes, your mouth, your lips, and your eye socket, and if it’s outstanding, that’s really what they’re basing their first impressions on.

Knowing how other people see you is extremely useful.

If you’re going into a meeting, and you know that it’d be very useful to be seen as credible, and you have many of the features in the credible column, then it’d be best to just be silent for the first 5 minutes. Don’t do any behaviors, and let people cement their impressions of you.

However, if you have the features from the credible column, and you’re going into a meeting where it’s going to be important to have dialogue, it’d be best for you to immediately compensate for your appearance and move into the circle called behaviors, and make sure you smile a lot, and make sure your head moves up and down so your voice sounds friendly.

The second circle, behaviors, involves what happens when you are talking and, in particular, what your voice sounds like.

Interestingly, your voice is actually a product of your body. If you talk with your head very still, your voice will tend to come out flat and businesslike. If you drop your chin down at the end of your phrases and sentences, your intonation will drop down also, which increases the likelihood that other people see you as being credible.

Some of the other things you can add to your credibility on the behavioral level are to have your weight evenly distributed in both legs and try to talk with your palm down.

The behaviors that are associated with someone who is more approachable is that their voice pattern tends to be a product of their head moving up and down so that their voice is rhythmic and almost social, friendly-like.

If they talk with their palms up, that will actually increase the likelihood of the intonation coming up at the end of whatever they’re saying in terms of sentences and phrases. And, if they have weight on one leg more than the other, they’ll come across as being approachable.

It’s important to consider if you have a lot of the facial features of one of the columns and the same innate behaviors from that same column, you have two circles that are reinforcing the impressions that other people have of you.

Styles are what the corporate world has invested in in the last 20 to 30 years.

The belief is, and rightly so, that if we can understand each other’s styles, we’ll be more tolerant and less likely to misinterpret communication between your particular style and someone else’s style.

DISC, Myers-Briggs, respectfully, I would suggest that those are part of a human’s style. Why do we say that? Because, in a given context, our style may be very different. How I will operate when I’m at a funeral versus a wedding might show very, very different styles.

I’d like to add to the collection of styles my own favorite, which are dogs and cats. It’s the ability to transfer our knowledge of household pets to people.

When you go to a pet store, and you get a kitten versus a puppy, you know they’re going to be very different as they mature. Likewise, if you put people on a continuum at one end, high-dog, and at the other end, high-cat, it would help explain why people tend to operate differently from each other.

You can use the initials T and R to describe the difference between a cat style and a dog style.

For the dog, the T and R stand for tranquility and routines. They’re the members at a meeting that when there’s any kind of conflict, oh boy, they’re trying to figure out how to get out of there. They’ll tend to drop their head down. They will tend to want to have just tranquility. And even when we have tranquility, if we change the routines of what we do, oh my goodness, that’s very upsetting for the members that are operating from their dog.

The T and the R for the cat stands for tension and risk.

When we compare the difference between styles and values, the majority of people — while they appreciate knowing each other’s styles — when interviewed if they had a choice between:

  1. Working with someone who has the same values, but different styles
  2. Working with someone with the same style, but different values

90% of the people are going to go for option 1, saying, “I would rather work with someone where we have compatible values, and we have to figure out how to communicate through different styles.”

The difference between your values and your core identity is that we all wear many hats during the course of a week. The values that come out the most in a variety of contexts would be an indication of what your core identity is — the two or three values that you operate most from.

Want to learn more about the Circle of Humanness? Check out Michael’s book, The Elusive Obvious.

Are you new to nonverbal communication, and you’re excited to learn more? Sign up for Michael’s monthly nonverbal newsletter!

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