Do you know who you’re talking to?

By Marianne Renner: Leadership Coach, Speaker, Author

Knowing your audience will help you get what you want

I recently spoke to a group of business owners in the creative services industry. We spent some time talking about how to handle difficult conversations over creative differences with clients.

We discussed questions such as, “how do you communicate your message in a way that influences others to see things your way?”

I spent more than 15 years in the marketing/communications field and one thing I learned in all of those years is that all of life is marketing/communications.

Let me explain what I mean. Marketing is about identifying a target audience, studying those individuals and learning their behaviors and motivations. When you understand what drives their decisions, you can then craft a message and communicate that message in a way that influences them to buy a service or product.

That’s the same formula for many things in life that we want to achieve. Because more often than not, our goals and desired achievements involve other people and influencing others to see things our way.

Just how do we effectively handle conversations with others when we have differences of opinion? And how can we elevate our level of influence in those conversations?

Whether you want to motivate your team to improve performance, turn a prospect into a client, or just get your kids to pick up their stuff around the house, there are techniques you can learn to improve your level of influence. And at the top of the list is understanding dominant motivating factors.

Know your audience.

Just as in marketing, the key is to know your audience. People have different motivating forces, they have different fears, different characteristics that make up their personalities.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of your own children. If you have more than one child, you know that what works for one, doesn’t work for the other. You have to get creative in how you influence and motivate them. One will respond and follow instructions when you threaten to send him to his room. But if you send the other child to his room, he skips up the stairs singing all the way because he would love nothing more than to sit in his room all day and day dream. Do you ever wonder, “how did these two kids come from the same parents?”

Scientific research has proven that there are four dominant personality types, and each type has its own set of distinct motivations, fears, and characteristics.

When leaders learn to identify these characteristics, they improve their communications with teams and customers. They become better influencers, earn more respect from co-workers and bosses, and get others to embrace their ideas.

Let me give you an example.

Have you ever met someone who is assertive, strong willed, gets right to the point and makes quick decisions? I’ll bet you can think of someone right now who fits that description. On the other hand, you probably know someone who is a real team player, a cheerleader, always keeping the peace and wants to make everyone happy?

Would you communicate to these individuals in the same way? Of course not. These two people have different fears and different key motivators. Once you understand this, you can communicate with greater impact.

If you have your own business or aspirations to grow, advance, make more money, or get promoted – you need to develop this communication skill.

If you want to achieve professional success, it’s not enough just to be good at what you do. You need this skill to earn new clients, keep clients and get more referrals. You need this skill to ask for a promotion, ask for a raise or influence team members to achieve greater success on projects.

A quick and easy way to get started is to download my free DISC “cheat sheet,” a 1-page summary of the four DISC personalities. Keep it on your phone or print it out and keep it in your pocket. It’s a great, quick reference to skim over before any conversation or meeting.

You can instantly improve communication and outcomes of the next conversation you have.

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