5 Ways Analytical People Can Better Communicate With “Big Picture” People

Is your meticulous focus on the details off-putting to others?

People who aren’t analytical or detail-oriented (i.e., “big picture” people) could experience your communication style in a negative way.

This is especially true if they feel that you’re overly focused on details at the expense of big picture goals or, worse, at the expense of their relationship with you.

What can you do to communicate more effectively with “big picture” people?

As an analytical person, you don’t have to change who you are or grow frustrated that others won’t take the time to listen to—or appreciate—the valuable contributions you make to a project, team, or organization.

Instead, there are five simple things you can do to better communicate with non-analytical or big picture people, so that they feel more connected to you and satisfied in their interactions with you.

  1. Build the relationship, first.
    Don’t go straight to business. First, connect on a personal level. Express a genuine interest in other people’s kids, vacations, health, etc. Routinely give sincere compliments and thanks for good work, especially before offering criticism.
  2. Dial the intensity down a notch.
    Try to remember not to come off as too intense. Preface your insights, criticisms, and questions by letting folks know that your mind tends to focus on details and you know it can drive others crazy.

    Maybe even apologize in advance, depending on your audience. Keep and convey a sense of humor about it.

  3. When delivering “insights” (that could be taken as criticism!), preface them.
    Start with positive things—thanking the team, pointing out good things, etc.

    Try to preface facts with a big picture tie-in to engage people and help them understand why these are important. And then be sure to conclude by reiterating why they’re important.

    Introduce the facts by saying something like: “I know I have a mind that focuses on little details and that it can drive people crazy. And I’d like to share what I see from my detail-oriented perspective.”

  4. When you get frustrated with others not seeming to care about details, remind yourself to listen.
    Remind yourself to listen to other people, reflect back what they say, and try to appreciate their point of view. If you use active listening with them, they’re more likely to be active listeners when listening to you.
  5. You don’t have to change who you are. 
    I’m not asking you to become a different person or change how your mind works. These tips are about making adjustments to your communication style to better connect with listeners.

    I offer them only to help you ensure that your insights, ideas, and recommendations are heard and valued by those who are less analytical or favor a big-picture view of the world.

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Want to learn more about why data-driven presentations fail and how to make yours a success? Read The Secrets to Financial Storytelling.

Steve Mandel

Steve Mandel

Steve founded Mandel Communications in 1983. He is a renowned presentation skills trainer and coach and the author of the highly successful book Effective Presentation Skills. In addition to serving as a key Mandel company executive, Steve thrives on working directly with clients in one-on-one coaching and group workshop settings. He has a deep understanding of the communication challenges faced by professionals and executives in high-stakes settings and works with clients to pinpoint and address mission-critical communication needs. Steve's business success and his avocation as an accomplished amateur astrophotographer have earned him special recognition in Forbes magazine.