Is it true that opposites attract?

Yes and no.

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Often we are attracted to character strengths that are opposite to our own perceived weaknesses. For example, an introverted person might be attracted to a more out-going person and vice-versa. But having different communication styles doesn’t mean that we don’t hold the same values and attitudes.

Rather than thinking in terms of opposites, it’s better to think about you and your partner as being complementary to each other.

Relationship experts agree that the “3 C’s” – communication, clarity and compromise – are necessary for any successful relationship.

This is not only true in marriage, but also with friendships and business relationships.

In a relationship-based business, such as – oh, I dunno, let’s say real estate – understanding how to modify your own style to communicate better with a different style is arguably the most important skill you can learn.

It’s doubly important and doubly complex because practically every day, we’re dealing with two people at once – the married couple – who rarely have the same communication style as each other! So, how is it possible to communicate effectively with two different communication styles at once?

Let’s say you’re doing a listing presentation to a couple. One is an expressive and one is an analytical (polar opposites). How do you deal with that situation?

Amateurs will present to the person they are the most comfortable with (the one with a communication style closest to their own). That’s a massive mistake. You may think, “At least I’ve got a 50/50 chance,” but that’s completely wrong.

You think only one of them is the decision-maker? Ha! Maybe in the 1950s.

Today, couples have to agree on important decisions. If they disagree, the answer is no.

An expert presents to a couple by switching styles, back and forth, throughout the presentation.

For example, with an expressive/analytical combo, you’d better sit down before the presentation and establish rapport with the expressive partner before you even start talking about market stats with the analytical partner.

“But Ted! If I switch back and forth throughout the presentation, won’t that interrupt the flow and slow things down?”

That’s amateur thinking. Couples have already learned to appreciate their different styles and to be patient with each other. Sure, maybe it takes a bit longer, but it’s WAY more important to make an impression on both partners than it is to burn through your presentation as fast as you can.

Yes, I’m talking to you, drivers. (Drivers are the most resistant to modifying their own style.)

By the way, I’ve never met a Realtor who didn’t believe themselves to be at least a borderline expert on this topic.

And yet, the only ones I’ve met who actually were experts are those who devoted considerable time to study, practice and develop their skills, specifically in this area. It’s no coincidence that these were also the most “naturally” successful agents I’ve met.

If you think you’re a natural at this, I can assure you, you are NOT. But it’s not hard to learn. Just make it a priority to learn more about communication styles. Take a course. Any course. Please!


  1. These skills as noted do not come naturally to many people, especially to real estate “sales” agents. Establishing the mindset in business is critical to success. But it is not always so easy for some to take courses and learn; those to whom such skill doesn’t come naturally. Cognitive dissonance. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink comes to mind. And then there’s NLP. Programming.

    Agents experience their own contradictory thought processes, and many find changing their own mindset difficult. They want to be the boss, the decision maker; the one who ultimately decides what is best. Dangerous territory. The agent often wants to lead and insist on being the dominant one in the discussion. Bad mistake.

    Agents must show a genuine interest in understanding people, motives and goals. Front and foremost the agent must know their place. Not to overstep. They don’t own the subject property or are not the buyer about to purchase. Agents have no right to offer “their” opinion.

    Agents have to learn (and that’s the magic word) to listen and understand how to deflect so as to avoid misunderstanding, important to watch and quickly interpret body language; how the couple “treats” one another. Sometimes behaving as though you aren’t even there, all but dismissive of your presence.

    If I sensed disagreement between the couple on any important aspect, I always graciously invited the couple to feel free to leave the room as my presentation neared its end, to provide them privacy and the opportunity to agree or disagree in private and come back and let me know their decision.

    Some agents play their hand to the one who seems to be the dominant personality, not realizing that person isn’t necessarily the actual decision-maker. Note who signs first and if they sign on the upper or lower signature line on a contract; even if it’s one to the other just showing respect by signing on the secondary line; it speaks volumes.

    That might show you what you will need to know at an offer presentation down the road. Never dismiss the lesser of the two, directing your conversation only to the one who appears to be the dominant decision maker.

    Carolyne L 🍁


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