Are your team aware of the different social styles?

Does it make a difference whether or not you adapt your language and communication style to suit the many clients or prospects you engage with? You bet it does!

I have lost count of the number of times that I have won (or lost) important deals as a result of understanding and acting upon the smart teachings of the social intelligence company Tracom, when it comes to Social Style.

Firstly, let’s define Social Style and point out that it is not the same as personality profiling.

As an individual, you have a unique personality made up of a collection of emotional patterns, mental processes, values and behaviour patterns, which are all influenced by personal experience and genetics. Accurately describing and explaining your personality would not just be difficult, it would be impossible.

Social Style is much simpler, it only deals with your behaviours – The part of your personality that can be objectively observed.

Personality comes from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means ‘mask’. This is appropriate since personality comprises both visible and hidden qualities. Using a simple analogy, personality can be compared to a pie. The inside of the pie is out of view and contains a mix of ingredients that gives the pie a unique flavour. Behaviour is like the crust, the outer ‘layer’ that everyone can see and describe in much the same way.

Like the crust of the ‘personality pie’ Social Style behaviours are particular patterns of action that people can observe and agree upon for describing a person’s behaviour. Let’s go a bit further.

Observable behaviours are what you say (verbal) and what you do (non-verbal) with no judgements by the observer as to why. Observable behaviours are interactions between two people whose behaviours can be observed and verified by others.

Being able to anticipate a behaviour pattern enables you to build relationships more effectively by playing to the strengths of that pattern and avoiding the weaknesses. When we consider the different Social Style we look at two strong dimensions of human behaviour called Assertiveness and Responsiveness.

Within Social Style, Assertiveness is a measure of the degree to which you see yourself tending towards asking or telling when you interact with others. Responsiveness is a measure of the degree to which you see yourself tending to control (keeping your feelings to yourself) or emote i.e. an outward display of your emotions or feelings towards others.

When we plot assertiveness and responsiveness on a single chart as displayed here, there are four different styles:

  • Analytical
  • Driving
  • Expressive
  • Amiable

Understand that there are no right or wrong styles – your style is just what it is. The key to leveraging the awareness of your own style and the person you are interacting with is how you adapt to each of the four dominant styles – how versatile you are.

Knowing the dominant style of the person you are interacting with is only one element. A further consideration is the need and orientation of each of the styles, so that language and non-verbal behaviour is aligned to their needs.

Understand also the limitations of each style, known as their growth actions. These can limit how each style asserts themselves or responds.

Forewarned is forearmed when it comes to preparation for any meeting, and this model is a huge help to those that want to take time to prepare well for key interactions in the sales cycle. More information can be found here

Or call me…

The Sales Coach

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