Over the past three weeks we have covered Taking responsibility; “The result of your communication is its meaning”, Listening well, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, and some Stylistic differences (Big Chunkers vs. Small Chunkers” If you’ve missed any you can go back through the past three weeks at www.franksomma.com and click on the blog.
This week I thought it would be fun to cover another style challenge; “Matchers vs. Mis-matchers.” In a general sense matchers tend to agree while mis-matchers tend to disagree but there is more to it than that. Let me give an example. You’re driving into a parking lot with a passenger and as you go to pull in to a spot they point to a different spot and say “why don’t you park over here?” That’s a mis-matcher. If it’s someone you know well and spend a lot of time with, you’ve envisioned having a big “world clock” and turning back time just so that you could aim for the parking spot they are now pointing to KNOWING FOR SURE that they would point to the spot you originally chose because it isn’t about the better spot it is about changing your choice and you’d be right.
Mis-matchers are often thought to be naysayers because they disagree so often and work in a language pattern that incorporates a lot of no, not, can’t won’t and don’t. It is not negativity however, it is creativity. Mis-matchers want to change everything they see. They don’t take a suggestion as is, they think, “what could go wrong here? “ Or “How can I make this work better.”
A more sophisticated mis-matcher will control their tongue and let the parking space go, saving their creative suggestions for more important things. A knee-jerk mis-matcher will disagree with almost everything often starting sentence with the work no.
Matchers are easy to point out as they will tend to nod their heads in a yes motion as you speak. They look for ways to relate their own experience with what you are telling them. When you tell a typical matcher about a book you are reading on the civil war she will come up with a story about watching a battle reenactment in Gettysburg. Matchers may seem to be desirable company, agreeing with your suggestions but a matcher in the extreme is pretty boring and adds very little to the equation.
Offering suggestions not thought of creates a good synergy between thinkers and simply agreeing flattens that process and takes the power out of it.
The purpose here is to help you recognize these two styles so that you can adjust your style to get the most out of each encounter. Here’s a quick story to illustrate. My good friend is a knee-jerk mis-matcher needing to change almost everything that comes his way. He lives about 40 minutes south of me. Each year we take a trip to upstate New York (north of me.) I called him and said “Joe, you’ll drive to me and leave your car here and then we’ll head up there, right?” He said, “No, I can’t leave my car there. What if my wife has trouble with her car? It’s kind of old. Can you come and pick me up?”
You see what happened there? I proposed something and he immediately found a valid (in his mind) reason to change/improve my suggestion.
So I learned. The next year I called and said, “Hey Joe, when we go next week you don’t want to leave your carhere and then head upstate…rihtgt?” And I let that sentence hang there. He said, Yeah. I will come up to you.” The opposite of the idea I’d floated.
That may seem manipulative to you (because it is) but it is also useful to understand these two styles and to draw ideas out of the matchers you know and temper the mis-matchers you encounter.