Sales people need to know their audience, as well as managers who need to announce organizational changes at a town hall meeting.
So what does it mean to know your audience?
When most of us answer that question, we describe a need to understand the attendees’ background, experience, expectations, issues, and challenges. However, people rarely include knowing the personalities of the audience members. This is a great omission that can make the difference between a good speech and a great one or between an interesting presenter and an engaging and memorable speaker.
This is where the DISC styles come into play. Many people apply their understanding of the DISC styles to improve communication on a one-on-one basis, but don’t apply their DISC wisdom to groups. The same benefits of reading the style of the person you are talking to (i.e. knowing your audience) can be derived in groups as well.
For example, if you are speaking to a group of engineers, it’s a good bet that there are a lot of Conscientious, accurate, analytical people in that group. If you are speaking with a group of sales people, you are likely to have a lot of Interactive, enthusiastic, social people in attendance. If you are bursting with energy and excitement with the engineers, they’ll just look at you like you’re crazy. And if you provide a tremendous amount of detail to the sales folks, they’ll just tune you out.
OK, I can hear what you’re thinking, “But what if the group has a people with all different backgrounds and behavioral styles?”
The key in this situation, which obviously is more typical than a group of just one style, is to hit all of the styles. Conveniently, all you have to do is just think, DISC. Begin with the Dominant results-oriented people. Give them the bottom-line or else you’ll lose them. Talk to them in bullets and explain the results and the impact. Next up, you better bring some energy and enthusiasm for the Interactive people. Get them excited and you get their buy-in. Now it’s time to turn on the sincerity and create connection with those with the Supportive style. Share a personal story and relate the topic to the attendees on a personal level. Convey that you understand and empathize with what they are going through. Finally, it’s time to share the details and process for the Conscientious people who crave them. Provide handouts provide even more information and they will be much obliged.
When you know your audience and honor their styles by speaking to them in a way that they like to be spoken to, they will hear and appreciate your message.