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How to Communicate Effectively with a “Feeler” – Don’t Be Understanding Rather Show Understanding


How to Communicate Effectively With the Feeling Decider

In the last newsletter, we outlined how to reach the analytical and conceptual mind of Thinkers” whose dominant cognitive and neurological happens or is located in the cortical brain.

The realization, the principle that for the “Thinker” the complex question we pose to them connects them to us in ways that are very powerful, is the foundation for effective communication with a “Thinker”.

Similarly, I have found in my practice and this was certainly verified in my doctoral research as well, that we can heighten communication with “Feelers” by speaking the specific language that they tend to prefer and giving them the deeper thing they really seek in a relationship; understanding and connection.


There is a three-step process for the Thinking Decider to engage the Feeling Decider:

1. Identify the Feeling Deciders Emotion:

2. Support that Feeling

3. Offer Reassurance

1. Identify the Feeling Deciders Emotion:

Please note the Thinking Decider does not need to understand the feeling, but merely identify the emotion the Feeling Decider is experiencing in that moment.

In other words, as a Thinker you do not possess in a natural sense “emotional empathy” but you can develop “cognitive empathy” which means you can read what people are feeling and respond accordingly, show understanding or treat them with empathic language.

Suggested language for this phase would be something like, “You must feel (worried or upset)…”

These two words, “worried or upset” represent and embody the wide array of emotions that feelers experience.

Telling the Feeler “Not to worry” is like asking them to stop breathing.

Worrying about things, is what they do.

As a Thinker, not having natural emotional empathy does not mean that you are anti-social at all.

It just means that to break the relational logjam, there will be moments when you need to have in your language repertoire connective, empathic language.

By the way, what would a leader or anyone be willing to choose such different language?

And further more and especially when the other person is “way too emotional” and you see emotion as at best secondary data, at least much inferior to logic and reason?

Well, here is are several reasons, that if you logically think about might help you consider such a radical departure from your current approach:

1. You are good person who enjoys the challenge of getting better.

2. You are a smart person who likes to solve problems.

3. This approach, if you are in an intricate and ongoing relationship and you need the target person’s cooperation, is the best and most effective way – my doctoral research demonstrated that it works 93% of the time, even in the most difficult situations – to change their reaction to you from a negative reaction to a positive reaction.

4. You understand that the world is infested with people who do not always see things your way, and learning facilitative communication is only serves to enrich and expand your repertoire such that you will use it (almost every day for the rest of your life.


2. Support their Feeling

The suggested language for Support is something like, “Of course you are going to feel (worried or upset).


3. Offer Reassurance

Suggested language for this phase would be something like, “I just want you to know that I think you can do this project and I am with you…”

The Feeling Decider becomes more logical and analytical and surprisingly tends to say back to the

Thinking Decider the solution the Thinking Decider wanted to initially say.

This of course is precisely what the Thinking Decider wanted in the first place.

In other words, the Feeler takes the Thinker where the Thinker wants the Feeler to go – not by manipulation but by facilitation.   They speak in language that motivates the opposite type.

A good catch all phrase you can use is “It’s OK to feel that way.”

Alternate Words You Can Use with the Feeler:

“I need to be more:

  1. “Considerate”
  2. “Thoughtful”
  3. “Caring”
  4. “Attentive”
  5. “Accepting”
  6. “Appreciative”
  7. “Concerned”

….about how you feel…”


How the Three Determinants Affect our Communication

In other places I have spoken about the Three Determinants that make people do what they do.

They are of course:

1. The “Me” that is my “System”

2. The “Me” that is my “Situation”

3. The “Me” that is my “Self”

The diagram below shows how we can use language to incorporate those three determinants for “Thinkers and Feelers”

Here it is applied to the “Feeler”.

In this article and the several previous articles we have tried to establish, I trust successfully, that a major filter for people is how they like to make decisions.

Some tend to use logic mostly; we call them “Thinkers”.

Some tend to use emotion mostly; we call them “Feelers”.

These are biological predispositions and need to be facilitated if good communication is to occur and a good, mutually beneficial agreement is to be reached.

The diagram below shows how we can use language to incorporate those three determinants for “Thinkers and Feelers”

I included this diagram in the previous Communicating Effectively with “Thinkers” article.

Here it is applied to the “Feeler”.



Communicating with or Facilitating a “Feeler”

To communicate effectively with the Feeler, acknowledge what they feel.

With the Feeler, starting at the small “Self” circle, show understanding to them by acknowledging their feelings through all three circles. You then do the same in circle two, acknowledge their feelings with respect to their ‘Situational Self”, and you then do the same in circle three, acknowledge their feelings with respect to their “Systemic Self”.


The last five articles attempted to address the rather thorny issue of conflict with people or staff in which the fundamental disparity was embedded in the the two distinct neurologies of the two parties.

The instructive thing about this kind of conflict is that usually neither party sees the real issue; the disparity in communication preference and style.

Unless we are trained and willing to have a different mindset and use more facilitative language, we will continue to spin our wheels and be precluded from being the complete and powerful leader we need to be.

By the way, on the one hand, this does not happen overnight.

And here is a little riddle for you.

The more you use it, the less you will need to use it.

Good luck on this one; it is a beauty.

For more on this topic, we recommend the following


Execute Your Communication
Skills or They Will Die

The Key to Superior Personal and
Professional Communication

Click Here For Video and Full Description


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