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Jan 15 2011

Holiday Challenge: Elevate the Quality of Each Conversation

The holidays are great. But let’s face it. They can be a time of increased stress caused by a lot of poor communication. Why not use the next 30 days to elevate the quality of each conversation?

Try this with Uncle Harry over dinner or your boss in the boardroom: First, determine their personality style, and then respond accordingly. Here’s how:


Analytical: Look for a slower pace, business like person who is time conscious, focused on facts and data, likes to be right and dislikes making decisions.

Respond by: Slow down. Use facts and historical data. Make them right. Give guarantees. He or she may need the weekend to decide.

Driver:  They are fast paced people, focused on results; time conscious, likes control and not good at listening. They dislike idle chatter and actions that don’t show a result.

Respond by:  Be professional with these people. Plan ahead. They want results, now! Give them options so they can be in control.  Reduce chit-chat.

Expressive: They are fast paced personalities who enjoy variety, big picture projects and recognition. They dislike a lot of detail work.

Respond by:  Give these folks recognition and approval.  Use words like “gut”, “intuition” “feel” when asking them to consider your ideas.

Amiable:  They are slow paced people who are excellent at building relationships, listening, sharing their person life. They dislike taking big risks and stuffy, impersonal conversations.

Respond by: Establish a personal relationship. Give personal guarantees. Occasionally reconnect with the Amiable to uncover hidden issues.


Personality style flexibility can be a great asset.  In 1994, I was giving a sales presentation for an accounting firm in Seattle.  The people I was meeting with were all Analyticals.  I, however, was as an enthusiastic, fast-paced, big-picture Expressive.  Soon, eyes glazed over and watches were checked. To put it bluntly, my presentation was bombing.

I quickly changed my approach and began slowing my pace and talking quieter. I allowed my arms to fall to my sides. I stated facts such as, “based on our results XYZ Company our sales training program helped them realize a 20% annual growth rate.”  I drew ROI figures on a flipchart and offered a money-back guarantee.

Behaving in this manner felt unnatural to me, yet, I got the sale.  I attribute this to understanding my personality style, identifying the personality style of others and adjusting accordingly.

Cautionary note: Personality styles don’t define who we are, just our preferences.

To use these techniques is about focusing on the needs of others, while being genuine and sincere. It’s about knowing your style, identifying the style of others, and when appropriate, adjusting your style to align with theirs.  To find out what your style is go to www.MFILeadership.com.  Have a great holiday!  And best of luck in elevating the quality of each conversation!