Did you know that everyone in the world can fit into four basic behavioral styles, and that your behavior style shines through when you communicate? If you want to be more influential and persuasive, it’s crucial to know how you come across to others. So, how would knowing your own style(s) affect your presentation? 

First, it’s important to understand what those basic behavioral style categories are. While they can go by different names, most people’s behaviors tend to fall under one of these four category descriptions: control-oriented, supportive, technically focused or socially oriented. 

Knowing your own style helps you more effectively communicate with others. If you are not speaking about something that is relevant to your audience, or in a way they want to listen, they will likely not pay any attention. So how you say it becomes crucial.

Here are some clues to help you discern which behavior style you may fall into:

Do you tend to be direct, action-oriented and focus on the big picture, eliminating fluff and niceties? If so, you may have a driving behavior style. 

Do you tend to be bubbly, extroverted and spontaneous, using lots of words and animation? Your behavior style might fall into the expressive or socially oriented category.

Are you reserved, prefer to use few words and take a process-oriented approach with detailed information? Sounds like you may be more analytical by nature. 

Are you diplomatic, easy-going, subtle and prefer building a consensus? If so, your colleagues, family and friends may see you as being a supportive style.

Knowing yourself allows you to be aware of how you come across to others – that’s the fun part. I have lots of folks in my classes who take the Behavior Style Assessment and joyfully say, “Oh yeah, that’s me all right!”  

Here’s the challenge, however. If you want to be influential and persuasive, you must know your audience and be able to deliver a presentation communicating in a way that is meaningful to them. That is where this gets harder. Understanding the characteristics of the other basic behavioral styles and how they prefer to be communicated with challenges you to understand their preferences, but it also allows you the option to flex to their behavior preferences. 

Consider this example of flexing. You are a big-picture, enthusiastic behavior style who prefers to present information in a high-level, colorful way, and you find your sale or promotion depends on the opinion of the chief financial officer, whose business it is to know exactly how you arrived at your recommendation. This CFO prefers accuracy and precision based on facts. How do you present to that person in a way that addresses their business and personal needs? You could find yourself at odds with this decision maker if flexing is not involved. 

Just as likely is the situation where it is the other way around: a reserved, detailed-oriented person presents to a lively, “give me the bottom line” decision maker with a short attention span and perhaps, poor listening skills. What do you think happens in this scenario? You are likely to be interrupted multiple times as the decision maker grows bored with too many details, and you are frustrated because you feel cut off and unable to get your points across.

Flexing to another’s style is not easy when your own style comes naturally, and it can be a real test to get out of your own comfort zone and communicate so another can hear you. Increase your odds of being heard, getting your ideas bought into, making more sales or whatever your goal is by learning more about human behavior and then learning how to flex. Start by taking a Behavior Style Assessment, learn how you are perceived by others and then take it a step further to learn how communicating in different ways assures you are being heard by a higher percentage of folks than only the ones who are just like you. A bonus: you will also hear them better too. Who knows? Recognition, a promotion and perhaps a raise could be next!

As owner and president of PresentingPlus! LLC, Kate Tunison helps clients develop confidence and skills as public speakers and business communicators. Based in Alpharetta, PresentingPlus! Works with clients in the Atlanta area and nationwide. Contact Tunison at www.presentingplus.com.

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