Are You Speaking My Language?
Vicki Hollanders – Establishing a relationship with your clients and customers begins the instant you meet – a handshake and a smile. How quickly can you size up the personality of another? Are you dealing with someone who is an extrovert or an introvert? Are you dealing with someone who enjoys casual conversation or one who prefers to remain formal? Will your own personality mesh with theirs? Like with everyone else, some of your natural personality traits may become your weaknesses or even become obstacles.
We have so many options for communication these days, but face-to-face communication is still the most effective way to get the most out of any interaction. It reveals more information than any other form of communication; most importantly, nonverbal communication. Examples of nonverbal communication are facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and attire. Nonverbal communication can support or contradict verbal statements.
You will earn the trust of your customers when you talk to them the same way they talk to each other and themselves. Communicating with impact and achieving influence is not only about what you say—it’s also how you say it.
I recently attended a conference where the keynote speaker delivered an informative presentation before several hundred people. However, during her comments she said a “bad” word three times. For the next three days, that’s all folks were talking about and that’s all they remembered about her presentation. Some folks may not notice while others will. No one, however, is going to go around saying – oh what a good presentation – and no foul language!
While you are communicating with clients always stay professional. That’s not to say that you can’t get to know your clients on a more personal level. Also using humor or not may depend on the personality of the person you are engaged with.
Can you bring yourself to your customer’s level of conversation? Knowing what kind of personality type someone is can be a major advantage in building rapport, closing a deal, or networking. The hardest part isn’t learning about how to tell who is what, but rather how to use subconscious versatility at any given time.
What I mean by this is being able to interact with people, instantly figuring out which personality type they are, then automatically adjusting who you are to communicate with them. The best way to figure that out is to LISTEN. Most often people want to talk – tell you about themselves. LISTEN. And don’t forget to smile!
Vicki Hollanders is a Business Advisor for the Radius ISBDC. Vicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.