“What you are shouts at me so loudly that I can’t hear a word you say.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is of course nonsense to assume that someone is perfectly slotted into just one personality description. There is a legion of personality aspects within us and it can be bewildering when confronted by someone new unless we structure our thinking, especially in high stress situations such as important first meetings with a decision maker.
I have found the DISC personality profile a useful and simple guide to reading people, especially when making quick judgments as to how to market myself in face-to-face meetings. It is important to be able to decide what aspect of myself will be most comfortable and familiar to their thinking in order to gain the all-important PLU (People Like Us) recognition which leads to increased likelihood of a sale. Research and experience indicates that the more PLU you can become, the more you indicate you are a member of the other’s tribe – and therefore: –
- Someone to have confidence in
These are the first steps to gain someone’s confidence in order to win the sale. And when you have only a first impression to govern how someone sees you, then it’s as well to be armed with knowledge as to how they operate.
Of course you’ll instinctively be making a judgment of your own unconsciously. And if you are good at reading people in this way, DISC analysis may be redundant. However if you need some help in recognising who is in front of you, you may need to ask yourself these questions: –
- Are they extraverted or introverted?
- Do they seem more people oriented or more task focused?
These are good indicators as to which quadrant they tend, on the face of it, to fall into. And yes, their behaviour may be adapted to present a work persona and their natural personality may shine through later. However, you can only go on what presents itself in front of you.
Extraverted or introverted – well how do you check these out? Focus on how they greeted you – was it outgoing or quiet and understated? Note whether they give you eye contact. If yes, they are more outgoing or just more people oriented. You might find sales directors to be extraverts who enjoy impact, flair and are great talkers whereas working with engineers, you’ll find them to be more likely to be quiet introverts who enjoy structure, systems and detail. In your preparation, imagine who you will be talking to and see whether they fit what you imagined them to be. The job may give you the clue.
After the greeting, do they immediately start to talk about the job? This may be your signal they are impatient to get on with the task. Or maybe they start by asking you how your journey was or whether you would like refreshment. These people will be more likely to be people orientated.
So if you think back to the last time you were meeting with a decision maker, how did they behave from the very start of the meeting?