Tellers, Sellers, and Yellers
These three types of talkers like to have the final word.
They also like to be right.
“Tellers” lecture, expound, and explain to others. Their tendency may be an occupational style that often accompanies professions of expertise such as medical doctors, college professors, attorneys, and other advice-givers.
In conversation, tellers will tend to use forms of the very to be. They believe they are explaining to you the way it “really is.” You will not find them using modifying phrases like “the way it looks to me,” or “my viewpoint on that is . . .” Instead, they will speak their truth as if it is THE truth when instead, as we know, it is their opinion, or their conclusion, or merely their “story.”
Tellers feel satisfaction in talking much more than in attending or actually listening. After all, during listening they will sometimes hear thoughts and opinions contrary to their own, and that is not at all satisfying to them. They'd prefer hearing themselves informing others, and they are usually well-intentioned in doing so, even though blinded to the possibility that others also have valid ideas to share. They are willing to accept mere acquiescence as an appropriate response.
Sellers like to “close the sale” by managing the talk. They are usually well-rehearsed in their opinions, and they seek to convince, to overcome objections, even to wear down their conversational targets (or adversaries.) Sellers get their satisfaction from “winning'em over” and having other conversers actually admit “I guess you're right.”
Some sellers are actual salespersons, but one need not work in this profession to adopt the “seller's stance” during conversation. For example, lots of people show symptoms of the “selling” approach when they use the “Yes, but . . .” structures to dismiss your objections. They want their ideas to prevail and are –basically – not open to really considering your alternative ideas. (Notice this style manifesting during our current political season – when both “sides” believe they are absolutely right..)
“Yellers” will attempt to conquer with vocal volume. Their voices will become louder as they overtalk. Try to interrupt them? No use. They talk louder, and they keep talking. (Public examples include the pundits on the CNN “Crossfire” program.)
Private examples abound, as in personal and spousal arguments. Observe children yellers, and also observe grown-up “children” trying to out-shout each other when civility and reason fails.
At its best, conversation is a collaboration among people, not a competition. Sometimes, for fun (as in word-games), it can be a “co-opetition.” In the teller, seller, and yeller styles, the frame around the conversation is competition: The teller seeks to overcome ignorance by “informing.” The seller seeks to convince the reluctant or the wrong-headed by winning the argument. The yeller seeks to dominate by vocal power – to win by overtalk or shouting.
These three types may be fluent and verbally skilled talkers but, lacking the instinct for collaboration, they are not masters at conversation.