"I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

Have you ever tried to communicate something and it just didn't come out right? Or perhaps you thought it came out right but the other person took it wrong? Why is it that communication flows so smoothly with some, while with others it can be bumpy and frustrating? Of course the mood you are in, your relationship with the person (boss to subordinate, spouse, best friend), and your background, such as education or expertise in an area, will have an influence on the way you communicate--but there is something more. The way you communicate with others has a great deal to do with your basic personality.

We all have a blend of characteristics that make up our personality. These characteristics have an effect on the way we communicate. Although there are numerous systems for explaining our behaviors and the origins of our personalities, the communication model explained in the book "Showing Our True Colors"is one of the easiest to remember and most fun to apply. Following are brief descriptions of the communication preferences of each of the four Color Styles. Read over the descriptions and determine which one is closest to your particular style.


A Blue's world revolves around people, relationships, and fostering growth in themselves and others. When speaking, they first focus their attention on establishing a relationship or reconnecting with the person. The information they wish to convey is woven into this relationship-building endeavor.

Friendly, Helpful, Empathetic
Expressive with Emotion
Fostering or Maintaining Harmony
May use metaphors to embellish points

Tips for Communicating with Blues:

Acknowledge Them
Show Appreciation
Include them
Have patience
Don't "bark" orders


Golds are generally respectful and responsible. They listen for details so they know what their part is. They usually size up a situation for what would be most appropriate before responding.
Purposeful, Plans Ahead
Respectful, Appropriate
Supportive of Policies and Rules
Detail Oriented, Chronological
Loyal, Devoted

Tips for Communicating with Golds:

Be Prepared, Give Details
Stay on Target, be Consistent
Show Respect
Don't Interrupt
Recognize Their Contributions


For the most part, Greens communicate for the purpose of gaining or sharing information. During a conversation, their attention is usually focused on the matter at hand, not on the relationship.
Logical and Objective
Includes Facts and Information
Big Picture, Conceptual
Questioning, Critiquing
Wry Sense of Humor

Tips for Communicating with Greens:

Allow Them Time to Ponder
Skip the "small talk"
Avoid Redundancy
Give Big Picture or Point first, then fill in details if asked
Don't misinterpret their need for info as interrogation


Generally, Oranges want to share their opinion the minute it hits their mind. Interested in taking action and being expedient, they may skip the softeners and go straight for the "punch-line."
Casual, Playful
Spontaneous, Now Oriented
Fast-Paced, Changes Subjects Quickly
Active, Involved, Mobile

Tips for Communicating with Oranges:

Use "Sound Bites"
Move with Them While They Multitask
Appreciate Their Flair
Allow Options and Flexibility
Lighten Up

Identifying your Color Style and those of others gives you insights to help you improve communication. Instead of trying to get others to change, recognize what you can do. The next time you have an interaction with another person, notice what style is most dominant for them. Remember the suggested tips and experiment with which ones work best with each individual. Like learning to drive, communication gets smoother and more automatic with practice. Remember to let your True Colors show!

Author's Bio: 

Mary Miscisin (http://www.PositivelyMary.com) is a recognized authority on the True Colors methodology and personal change psychology. She is the author of "Showing Our True Colors - A Fun, Easy Guide for Understanding and Appreciating Yourself and Others", along with a host of Color Style applications including the True Colors Online Assessment, Color Style Games and Activities Trainer's Kit, and "Color Lingo" which teaches communication skills using Color Styles. Her best selling products can be obtained at: http://www.positivelymary.com/TrueColors-Shopping.htm

Watch for her PBS Television Special, "Get Curious - Not Furious, Communicating Your True Colors" which airs nationally in March 2010.