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It Helps To Speak The Other Person’s Language – Rich’s Rules for Influence # 4

June 17, 2016

Rich's Rules TitlecardWhen I first learned to SELL training, my boss instructed me to build rapport with clients starting the moment I met them.  A useful tactic was to find something in the prospect’s office of personal meaning and ask about it.  The family picture on the desk, the award on the wall or the golfing trophy on the shelf – an obvious conversation piece about the individual’s love for the game.  If I found something in common during that conversation all the better.  If we ended up golfing buddies – bingo!

From Commonality to Rapport to Influence

That was then, this is now.  But the principles of rapport remain the same. Looking and listening for points of commonality and building on those points are vital next steps.  Sometimes you experience an enjoyable conversation.  Other times you get an opportunity to do business. And, once in awhile, you cultivate a new and lasting business relationship or friendship with someone you didn’t even know the day before!

Newer studies show even the most minute points of commonality can open the door to rapport and influence.  Things like sharing the same first name, a birthday or love for a particular type of music.  Little things can make a big difference when it comes to building rapport.  “Anyone who loves jazz can’t be all bad.  What can I do you for?”   

Commonality leads to greater rapport.  Rapport to potential relationship.  Relationship brings opportunities for mutual influence and persuasion.

Relating to Someone’s Behavioral Style is a Plus

One important area of commonality and rapport is a person’s behavioral style language.  One of the most accurate and widely used assessment and training tools today is the DISC Model of Behavioral Styles.  For those unfamiliar with DISC, the acronym represents four styles of Dominant, Inspiring, Supportive and Cautious in some models (Personality Insights) or Dominant, Interactive, Steady and Compliant in others (DISC Provider). Because there are many sources of information about DISC, this article will stay focused on the communication and influence aspects.  For example:

  •  When communicating with D types, those that are direct and results oriented, it’s best to communicate in a direct, bottom line or to-the- point manner.  This is the language the D type best understands.  And, this is one way to gain the individual’s ear and respect.
  •  With I types, those who are spontaneous and people focused, it’s important to keep the conversation fun, upbeat and engaging.  By doing so the person is apt to find you fun and interesting and likely to keep the interaction going.
  •  While talking with S types, those who are considerate and relationship centered, it’s helpful to relate in a warm, friendly and caring manner.  Doing so sincerely will open the door to continued dialog.
  •  With C types, those who express themselves in a more factual and less emotional manner, it’s best to communicate with logic and reason.  By doing so the person is likely to see you as someone who is sensible and worthy of conversation (because most people aren’t!)

Speaking Four Behavioral Languages is an Advantage

So, how does persuasion further come into play with these four styles?  Here are a few additional pointers:

  • When proposing something to a D type be prepared to make your case in aconcise, impactful manner that shows how he or she gains orprevents loss from what’s being offered (opportunity for gain is a primary human motivator – so is fear of loss).
  • When proposing something to an I type make sure you appeal to the emotional factors of fun, excitement, involvement with others or, at a minimum, something that’s interesting.  If you’re not enthused about what’s being suggested, the I type probably won’t get too excited about it either (emotional appeal is one of the three major building blocks of persuasion – along with credibility and reason).
  • When proposing to the S type be sure to emphasize HOW something can be easily obtained, implemented, monitored, etc.  S types may have a hard time getting on board with a new product, service, objective or project if they can’t see HOW to get started, HOW it needs to be done and HOW it benefits everyone involved. Sincerity is critical (credibility is another of the three major building blocks of persuasion).
  • When proposing to C types make a strong logical and factual case.Although most people are persuaded through feelings or swayed by emotion, C types are the most likely to stick with the facts, figures and statistics when making a decision (logic or reason is the third of three major building blocks of persuasion).

Rich Drinon, M.A. is a leadership communication skills coach with an a master’s degree in in leadership communication,  30 years of experience coaching leaders and managers and expertise in the art and science of persuasion.   He is a certified DISC instructor.  

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