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Sorry I Don't Speak Your Language

Some helpful tips to understand personality languages/types.

Image What if we just met at a networking event and you confidently introduce yourself. It's now my turn and I smile and reply with, “Ooga booga booga”! You're likely confused and weirded out. Some of you may even think I'm having a stroke. What have I discovered? Random sounds with possible random movements, although it may mean something to me, doesn't help you to connect. Mental note made.

Okay, let's change it up. Same scenario but after you say your elevator speech I respond with real words. Sounds promising right? But wait for it…. this time I say, “My ex-man brought his new girlfriend. She's like oh my god, but I'm just gonna shake it”. Each word makes sense but you have no clue why I would say such a demented thing. My new discovery? Speaking in English but in a way you don't understand, doesn't help you connect with me either. Wow. No offence but I'm realizing you're rather difficult to work with!

The reality is we are networking but we are not clicking. What you say, especially in business, can make or break any deal. It sounds scary but it's very much the truth. We prefer to do business with people we are comfortable with.

So the million dollar question is: how do you change it from sounding like “ooga booga” to something that resonates with the other person? It's simply a matter of listening and finding clues to help determine their personality traits. Unless you're a secret spy, everyone throws off clues. Once you figure out the clues, then use this information to better understand that person's personality.

For example can you tell if the person you are speaking too is a leader or problem solver? A nurturing soul? Spontaneous? Believes in order and rules? Did you know that clothing, hair style, mannerisms and even their employment/business can tell you a lot? Step One: Figure them out. Step Two: Speak the right language.

Some helpful tips to understand personality languages/types:
  • Most courses divide personalities into a few primary languages spoken. Some facilitators teach 4 types; I like to use 5 as there is a personality type that very much exists but it's often overlooked.
  • Very few people speak 100 percent of one language. This means most people have a primary and second component to their personality, and as such, they speak one language with an undertone of a second.
  • Clues can help you figure out someone's personality type as well as rule out non-applicable languages.
  • Fully understanding each language and then having hands-on experience is the best way to have success. Just like your elevator speech, understanding personality traits becomes much easier with practice.

We all know the importance of networking for the success of your business. But networking is just one of the tools you need. It doesn't matter how many people you get to meet, if you cannot relate to them or if they can not relate to you, the chances of developing a true connection shreds like a paper dress at a pool party.

Learn the clues to what makes people tick and use this information for your business advantage. The more you can understand about someone's personality, the better you can make appropriate decisions. As a marketing and business strategist, I can say with confidence the time an entrepreneur or team leader spends understanding personality types is one of the most valuable components to building a successful business.

Karen Baring


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