Crack the Communication Code with the Three C's, blog by Business Coach Lisa van Reeuwyk

Crack the Code on Communication

Written by Lisa van Reeuwyk

Each and every relationship in your life will rise or fall on your ability to communicate, yet it remains a source of conflict, frustration and often deflates the best of intentions when approaching a conversation. Whether you’re a business owner, an executive or simply want to be a leader in your own life, pulling back the curtain on your communication patterns as you open up to new ways of listening and responding will not only increase the quality of your conversations, but your nervous system will be giving you a high five too.

People couldn’t be more different, just look at the myriad of Personality Tests out there to guide through all the nuances of being a Homo Sapiens. Here are a few I use in my work at Bloom Business Development with my business coaching and sales training clients include:

Myers Briggs

This personality test was first developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, during World War II and is inspired by Jung’s work on psychological types. The MBTI aims to classify individuals into one of sixteen different personality types using four letter acronyms, for example I’m an INFJ.


Learn your dominant learning style between Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic (yes there are many more like music, spatial, non-verbal and logical-mathematical).

True Colors

True Colors is a simplified and more accessible version of personality assessment, using four primary colors to represent different personality styles.

The Enneagram

We are born with three native intelligences: feeling, thinking and doing. When you identify your dominant intelligence and which one is repressed for you, you and change your life. The Enneagram is a popular and powerful personality system that describes nine interconnected personality types, each with its distinct patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It offers a deep and comprehensive understanding of human nature, motivations, fears, and core desires. The Enneagram is often used for personal development, self-awareness, and improving relationships.

Clifton Strengths

Learn your top 34 strengths with themes sorted into four domains. CliftonStrengths is widely used in workplaces, educational institutions, leadership development programs and personal growth initiatives. When used in team settings, CliftonStrengths helps identify each team member’s strengths, leading to better collaboration, more effective communication, and improved team dynamics. Its versatility makes it appealing to different audiences.

Human Design

Calculated based on the person’s birth date, time, and location. It combines elements from astrology and the Chinese I Ching’s hexagrams to create a complex chart that reveals the individual’s energetic makeup, strengths, and potential challenges. Learn more about Human Design here.
Personally, I’m an INFJ which is the rarest Myers Briggs type, my Enneagram type is the Individualist / #4 is so rare most people don’t know one and the Reflector type in Human Design makes up less than 1% of people. You can start calling me Pegasus, according to these tests I’m one rare soul.
Knowing more about your tendencies, what motivates you and how you interpret the world is powerful. But when you discover and accept how different people actually are, this is when you can reach communication nirvana. Here are my three C’s of communication, why they matter and some clear tips on how to practice them.

Practicing the Three C’s of Communication


How do you feel when someone is genuinely interested in what you’re saying and asks follow up questions? I’ll go out on a very short limb here and say you feel pretty darn great when someone enjoys what you’re saying enough to ask follow up questions.
Most people simply wait to speak and that’s not only noticeable but it doesn’t foster trust, vulnerability or honest communication.
In a study by the International Listening Association, it was reported that effective listening skills are ranked among the top five essential skills in the workplace. Despite this, studies indicate that many employees struggle with actively listening, preferring to wait for their turn to speak instead.
Another survey conducted by a consulting firm found that only 31% of employees have received formal training on active listening in the workplace. This suggests that many individuals may not be equipped with the necessary skills to engage in active listening effectively.

When you’re fully present in the conversation, both physically and emotionally, people can see that you’re there to support and listen without distractions.


Speaking our truth takes courage and is an expression of our own individual needs, not an outward attack. When you can first practice active listening and not take the communication personally, it becomes organic to practice concern.

Showing you care about their situation builds a lot of trust and can open the door to change. A few proven ways to show concern without sounding condescending or sprinkling  accelerant on an enflamed situation include:
  1. Active Listening: Listen attentively and empathetically to the person’s concerns and feelings. Avoid interrupting or imposing your views on them. Acknowledge their emotions and validate their experiences. Use language that reflects back what they’ve said to ensure you understand their perspective.
  2. Use Non-Judgmental Language: Be mindful of your language and tone. Avoid using judgmental or critical statements. Instead, offer supportive and neutral language that conveys empathy and care. For example, say, “I can see this is a challenging situation for you” rather than “You should’ve known better.”
  3. Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage the person to share more about their feelings and thoughts by asking open-ended questions showing that you’re genuinely interested in understanding their perspective without making assumptions. For instance, ask, “How are you feeling about this situation?” or “Would you be open to telling me more about what happened?”
  4. Offer Supportive Statements: Express your support and willingness to help if needed. Use phrases like, “I’m here for you,” “You don’t have to go through this alone,” or “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to assist.”
  5. Empathize and Share Personal Experiences (if appropriate): If you’ve been through similar experiences, share your story in a way that highlights understanding rather than taking the focus away from the person. Be cautious not to make the conversation about yourself. Instead, use your experiences to show empathy and relate to their emotions. Sharing a like experience is an easy go to, so use this after practicing the other skills.

Remember, everyone’s emotional response is unique, and what works in one situation might not be appropriate for another. Flexibility, sensitivity, and genuine care are key elements to demonstrating concern effectively without escalating the situation.


Time and attention have become our most precious resources. In any given day you’re lacking in the ability to care about one more thing, including this conversation someone dropped in your lap as you’re trying to tick something else off your never ending task list. Here are six tips to extend compassion when conflict or emotion arises:

  1. Validate Emotions: Acknowledge and validate the person’s emotions, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Let them know that their feelings are valid and understood. It’s helpful to know your Enneagram type for this skill.
  2. Offer Support: Express your willingness to help or support the person in any way you can. Ask if there’s anything specific they need or if they would like to talk more about their feelings.
  3. Avoid Judgment: It’s a go-to flex for many, but when you refrain from making harsh judgments or criticizing the person’s actions or decisions, the communication between people can be transformed. Instead, focus on understanding their experiences and emotions (curiosity for the win).
  4. Be Patient and Understanding: Allow the person to express themselves at their own pace. Be patient and understanding, especially if they find it challenging to open up or communicate their feelings.
  5. Use Non-Verbal Cues: Pay attention to maintaining eye contact, using comforting gestures, and showing warmth through your facial expressions and body language. This varies greatly between cultures and personality types.
  6. Follow Up: After the initial conversation, follow up with the person to check on how they are doing. Showing continued interest and concern reinforces your compassion and support.

Compassionate communication fosters trust and strengthens relationships. Creating a positive and nurturing environment for open dialogue is sorely needed in the workplace.

Bonus Tip

Timing really is everything. Acknowledging when it’s a good time to have important conversations so you can communicate from a place of care, concern and curiosity can be the difference between a peaceful resolution or a massive step backwards.

Check out more holistic business blogs to find your rhythm, make more money and have way more fun.

Two Easy Tips to Unlearn Toxic Habits

Three Habits Hacks of Successful People

Four Tips to Create and Set Goals

Flip the Script on your Elevator Pitch

Keep going, keep growing,

Lisa van Reeuwyk