Hippocrates, the “father of medical science,” once described four basic personality types based predominantly on bodily fluids (hence, their funny names). His Four Temperaments are: Choleric, Sanguine, Melancholic and Phlegmatic. Sounds messy, but Gordon translates Hippocrates’ temperaments for today’s home decorators to help them understand their clients, know what to expect from them and how to work with them.
Being a talented designer is important, but having critical people skills is equally necessary, says Gordon. Besides being The Designer’s Coach, a coaching and consulting service dedicated in assisting professionals in the interior design and decorating business, Gordon is owner of Decorating With Fabrics, Monsey, NY; the director of design for Exciting Windows!; and the director of the Home Improvement Alliance Group, Rockland County, NY.
• Choleric: This is the self-motivated leader. She is someone who can be strong willed, make quick decisions and relentlessly pursue goals. Decorating decisions are not something to agonize over. She can be a great client because she decides fast, but she will turn on you if she doesn’t like the final results.
• Melancholic: This client likes her time to be quiet and reflective. She likes her home to be beautifully decorated and organized. The Melancholic tends to be very critical and pessimistic; however, if you can please her, she will become extremely loyal and your greatest advocate.
• Phlegmatic: Easy going and usually likeable, dependable, polite and even-tempered. This person is not flashy and her decorating decisions are usually informal—she likes a comfortable, easy-to-live-in home. She will have to be led to choices. If she is unhappy, you might not know it because she is not likely to complain about anything.
• Sanguine: Typically the life of the party. She is creative and imaginative and loves to decorate. Because she is very spontaneous and will make quick decisions, you need to slow her down. She can become easily distracted and hard to get to focus. She might get angered quickly, but she is quick to forgive and forget.
Source: Neil Gordon, The Designer’s Coach; www.thedesignerscoach.com