I enjoy people. I’m the guy who looks forward to a party to meet someone new as oppose to dreading have to walk in a room full of strangers. Most of the time that I find myself in a new situation, I look forward to making new friends. As gregarious as I am, I have learned that not everyone communicates the same way I do–as a matter of fact there are several different “communication languages” my clients and friends use for their primary mode of communication. Much like the popular “love language” concept where some prefer words of affirmation and others touch or some gifts, these communication styles or languages are key to unlocking the potential in a sales and management relationship.
If you’re in sales (I believe we are all in sales of one form or another), consulting or ministry , the sooner you figure out the best way to communicate with each of your clients or potential clients, the more you can get done.
Here’s 5 different communication styles or languages I have categorized over the years:
1. The Verbal Processor. He wants to talk through all decisions and ideas. There’s a lot of talking that goes on during your exchange with a verbal processor but not form you; it needs to come from him. At the end of a conversation you might be exhausted, but the verbal processor is just getting warmed up.
2. The ADD. (Attention Deficit Disorder). The sooner you get to the bottom line the better. This person often cannot focus on details and minutia and quickly disengages from you if you’re too detailed. Sometimes you’ll be in the middle of a sentence and they’ll say: “hey, look–shiny.” More than once I’ve had great strategic conversations walking through a mall with an ADD leader. The change in pace and scenery helped him to stay on topic for more than 10 minutes.
3. The ADD Texter. Yes, some of my clients have such difficulty focusing that they can’t even stand reading through emails, much less sitting through meetings. They love sending and receiving quick text messages even for important subjects. These folks usually love Twitter.
4. The Mental Processor. They are difficult to read. They might agree or disagree with your point, so it’s hard to keep the discussion moving forward, since there’s usually not much discussion. With this person, you should make your best case and then follow up a couple of days later as they’ve had a chance to think through your proposal.
5. The Face-to-Face Feeler. Some people don’t do well with phone and even teleconferencing. They need to feel the warmth of a visit and reconnect emotionally with you. For them the success of the project or idea is tied to how they feel about it and about you. I can’t tell how many times I’ve heard “this just feels right” when embarking into a pretty large project where the details were either sketchy or non existent altogether.
What other communication style have you experienced?