“I Have To Speak To You In Bullet Points…….”
Understanding our customers’ behavioral styles is critical to our effectiveness in connecting with and communicating to them. There are a number of tools that help us understand the behavioral style of our customers (and colleagues). They go by the names of DISC, Meyers Briggs, and others.
Each of us has a behavioral style—our styles are neither good nor bad, they just tell us how we tend to hear and engage, how we process information, what influences our abilities to make decisions.
If we want to connect effectively and impactfully , it’s critical for us to understand the behavioral styles of the people we are seeking to influence. Communicating with them in a way that maximizes their ability to “hear” and “understand” is critical.
So I might communicate with one person, leveraging lots of data, with another helping them understand a broader vision and their role in implementing it, with another I might focus on building the relationship. Our ability to connect effectively is dependent on our ability to understand their behavioral style and communicate in a way that complements their style.
But we forget, conversations are two ways. We have our own behavioral and communication styles. We react in certain ways–based both on what people are saying and on the way they are communicating. Our own behavioral styles impact the way we engage and communicate with our customers and colleagues.
I’d always been aware of the importance of understanding people’s behavioral styles in communicating with them, but had never realized how much my own behavioral style clouded my own ability to engage and be engaged. But a number of years ago, I was concluding a conversation with my VP of Sales Ops. As we finished up the conversation (it happened to be a very good one), she said, “Dave, I’ve learned that I have to speak to you in bullet points……”
She understood my own style and was aligning how she spoke to me in a way that maximized my ability to “hear and be engaged.” She wanted to make sure she was communicating with me in a way that engage me and made sure I understood her point.
All of a sudden, it struck me, regardless how well we may leverage behavioral styles in communicating with others, our own behavioral styles impact the effectiveness of our communications. Stated differently, a customer may tell us something, but we hear it in a way that it very different than it was intended.
Just was we have to be sensitive to how to communicate with customers and colleagues, so they really “hear” us, we have to be sensitive to how we listen and hear–and our own unconscious filtering.
Engaging our customers and colleagues, making sure we both understand and are understood is important to our ability to accomplish our goals. We have to realize it’s a two way street–we have to understand how the customer’s behavioral style and our own impact our conversations.
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