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Starting the New Year with a Bang – and a Fog Horn

02-29-2012

Exec-Comm kicked off 2012 with some big news – we’re transcontinental! On February 1st, we opened our San Francisco office. Of course, we’ve always served your needs on a national basis from our New York headquarters, but now we have resources specifically dedicated to serve you in the west.

Amid the excitement of our announcement we thought about different communication styles. How do they change by region? What differences do we see in the ways individuals communicate? And how do those differences impact you and your key business relationships?

Vive la difference!

In a country that spans a continent, it’s not surprising to see regional communication differences. They give you a sense of place. No single location is exactly the same as another, even in the homogenized information age. And we come to know regions by these nuances:

  • In the east, people tend to talk and move at a faster pace. There is a heightened intensity when you’re there.
  • The west projects a more relaxed, laid back image. Things are spread out. There is room to breathe.
  • When you’re in the south, you immediately notice the hospitality. Gracious manners seem part of the DNA.
  • The practicality of the midwest is reassuring. Things are done for a good, solid reason, and that reliability gives us confidence.

When you interact with an audience from another part of the country, take these differences into account. Think about the style of communication they are used to and how you can tailor your message to fit those expectations. That allows you to position your ideas in a way that make them more likely to be received positively.

You Say “Tuh-may-toh,” I Say “Tuh-mah-toh.”

While communication differs by region, individuals have personal communication styles too. It’s the way we prefer to share and receive information. And it influences how we deal with others at work in important ways. At Exec|Comm, we group these styles into four basic types:

  • Data-driven analyzers They research every purchase thoroughly, whether it’s the best pizza or the right house. They can never have too much information, no matter the subject.
  • Task-oriented achievers They are all about achievement, crossing things off the list, and getting the job done. A meeting isn’t worthwhile if they can’t point to something accomplished and the next thing to complete.
  • Visionaries They see a world of possibilities in any situation. They live for the opportunity to brainstorm, and they inspire us with their creativity.
  • Consensus builders They make sure everyone is heard and everyone has a stake in what’s happening. The solution matters more to them if there is equity in the process.

These archetypes allow you to quickly assess your own communication style, as well as the strengths and weaknesses that go with it. This fundamental understanding helps you be a more effective communicator because you are more focused on how you deliver your ideas to another person than on your own needs. We call that point of view being “others-focused.”

Why be others-focused?

Each person in an audience has a primary question: “What’s in it for me?” When you’re others-focused, you know how to answer that question because you know what they need and how to frame your message.  Providing information from the perspective of how it helps them gives you a better chance to achieve your goal.

To communicate more successfully, consider your stakeholder’s world – What’s their cultural frame of reference? How do they like to communicate? And what’s important to them?

This theme of being others-focused runs throughout Exec|Comm’s training and executive coaching. It allows us to deliver an uncompromising, premier level of service across the United States – and internationally. Because our clients are asking for the same thing yours are, whether it’s in the hustle of New York or the Zen of San Francisco.

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