Remember that scene in the original Star Wars when Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Sir Alec Guinness, casually breezes past a stormtrooper blockade with a deft wave of his hand and a “move along”? As it turns out, such persuasive feats are impossible in real life (believe us, we’ve tried). No matter how effective a communicator you think you might be, there’ll always be people who rub you up the wrong way. From the guy in the office who won’t shut up, to the family member that won’t, well, talk at all, sometimes interacting with those around us can feel like swimming against the tide.
Thankfully, Mr Thomas Erikson – a behavioural expert and advisor to the likes of Ikea, Coca-Cola and Microsoft – may have a solution to your interpersonal woes. His book, Surrounded By Idiots, breaks down the Disc theory put forward by psychologist Mr William Moulton Marston – essentially categorising people into four distinct, easy-to-understand personality types, each represented by a colour.
“Instead of thinking that the other guy is a bit weird, it’s very useful to understand why he reacts the way he does,” Mr Erikson tells us. “And the more you understand other people’s point of views – and they yours – the fewer idiots you have to deal with. Everybody wins!”