Making the Platinum Rule Work for You


How to Work Effectively with People with Different Communication Styles

We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule, but in business, The Platinum Rule is even more important. Dr. Tony Alessandra asserts that The Platinum Rule, “Treat others the way they want to be treated,” recognizes what drives people is varied. You can’t control others, but you can control your actions. By shifting your behavior, you can have more productive relationships with different people. Most employees fall into one of four behavioral stereotypes, and your approach for communicating with each of them should be different. Let’s take a look.

Dealing With The Director

Their Primary Focus: Results

Your Goal: Demonstrate Competence and Efficiency

When communicating with someone who is fast paced, decisive, dominant, strong-willed, goal-oriented, and ambitious:

  • Prepare your points in advance
  • Be brief and to the point
  • Stick to business


  • Getting into conversational or personal tangents
  • Being abstract in requests

Dealing With The Socializer

Their Primary Focus: Interactions

Your Goal: Demonstrate an Interest In What’s Important to Them

When communicating with someone who is charming, enthusiastic, persuasive, magnetic, optimistic, talkative, and political:

  • Be friendly and build rapport
  • Talk about the big picture more than details
  • Keep them focused—they’re easily distracted


  • Being all business
  • Being curt or cold

Dealing With The Thinker

Their Primary Focus: Data

Your Goal: Demonstrate Preparedness and Thoroughness

When communicating with someone who is neat, compliant, thoughtful, introverted, reserved, and self-controlled: 

  • Be non-threatening and soft spoken
  • Draw out their ideas and opinions—they won’t offer
  • Be personable and patient


  • Rushing into business and making demands
  • Pushing them to move too quickly

About the Author:

Heidi Souerwine is the Conference and Content Manager for ASAP, the APC, and EA Summit. Prior to moving to joining the ASAP team, she spent 15 years in Washington, DC managing events from 10 – 10,000 attendees for international membership associations, non-profits, and the federal government. Heidi is passionate about needs-based program development, purposeful event design, and cultivating active community and attendee engagement.

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