There’s an old Indian saying that says you cannot understand a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. It would serve us well to remember that when we are communicating with others. Take your cues from the other person, and communication will improve. The most effective way to interact with someone is to figure out how they want to be communicated to, not how you want to communicate to them.  Adapting your style is the mark of a superior communicator.

That sounds good, but how do we achieve it? The key is learning to understand a person’s behavioral style. It is a proven fact that people hear more of the content when it is delivered in a way that they want to receive it. A person’s behavioral style determines how they like to receive content and communicate.

It follows that one of the most important skills of effective leaders and sales people is that they adapt their style to that of the person they are trying to influence. For some people, this is an innate skill and happens automatically and for others, they have to learn it. Here’s the good news: the more you practice identifying someone else’s style, the better you get at doing it. Everyone’s behavioral style is created by the time you are seven years old so the sooner you learn your style and the style of others close to you the better.

Would you like to communicate more effectively with your supervisor, your customers, your colleagues, your kids and your spouse?

Start by being more observant of others and their style. Are they outgoing? Reserved? Detailed Oriented?   What is their pace? Their body language? What does their office look like? You can download the “How to Recognize Behavioral Styles” Tool Kit at

For example, let’s say you are communicating with a person who is dominant, which means he or she is ambitious, forceful, decisive, strong-willed, independent and goal-oriented.  The best way you can interact with that person is to be brief, be bright and be gone! Don’t talk about things that are not relevant to the topic at hand. Stick to business. Be organized and don’t leave any loopholes or cloudy issues. This is an important style to know how to effectively communicate with because it is often found in entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders.

On the other hand, how would you vary your delivery if you were talking with a person who is more patient, predictable, reliable, steady, relaxed and modest? You must be non-threatening, and begin with a personal comment to break the ice. Begin by asking “how?” questions to draw out his or her opinion, and make it a comfortable situation. Here is a place where you don’t want to appear domineering or demanding. You must take a little more time to get to know each other, and not rush headlong into business.

As you approach meetings and social functions, think of the people you are going to see and develop a mini communication plan in advance of the interaction. Try to determine the other person’s behavioral style and how you can adjust to them in your interactions. Thinking through your approach in advance will increase your success and ultimately build stronger and lasting relationships.

You will find that you have to be flexible and vary your communication style based on the person with whom you are interacting. It is well worth your effort when you take steps to recognize the other person’s style.

Individuals and organizations that have a higher understanding of behavioral science end up with more effective communication. That leads to higher employee satisfaction, retention, productivity and profitability. Communicating with style can be the first step in improving the relationships of those with whom you live and work.

You can increase the sales of your company by training your sales team on how to recognize the buyer’s behavioral style so your sales team member can adapt their style for a more successful sale process.   Behavioral science understanding dramatically improves the performance of the sales team.

As you move forward, experience greater success in your professional and personal life through more effective communication by understanding the style of who you are communicating with. Ensure the brilliance of your content is not lost in its delivery.  Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!