The enthusiastic, persuasive, emotional, talkative, self promoting, fast talking, hand wavers – have you got one in mind? Maybe you’re one of them? The Robin Williams or Steve Irwin of the room. Highly optimistic, possess a high need to interact and be involved, be liked and most obviously emotional.
These personality types – better known as the “Influencers” or “Inspirers” – are 28% of the Western population. This article looks at how the rest of us can communicate with them or if you are one – how you can play to your strengths.
Those that don’t like to be sold to will spot them straight away. Some possible limitations of the high influencer are they may:
- over sell
- act impulsively
- trust people indiscriminately
- be inattentive to detail
- difficult controlling time
- overestimate their ability to motivate others
- under instruct and over delegate
- tend to listen selectively
- overuse hand motions and facial expressions when talking
- rely too heavily on verbal activity
However, these guys are great fun! They offer optimism and enthusiasm. Creative problem solvers, they love motivating others and have an uplifting sense of humour. They are team players, negotiate conflict well and articulate themselves clearly.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of them. Give them:
- assignments with a high degree of people contact
- freedom from control and detail
- multi-changing work tasks
- democratic supervision by a supervisor they can associate with
- tasks involving establishing a network of contacts
To communicate with the high influencer you need to let them talk – don’t muffle them instead; allow time for relating and socialising. Talk about people and their goals. Most importantly – PUT THINGS IN WRITING! They will want testimonials from people they see as important and don’t talk down to them. Don’t take too much time on business issues, get to action items quickly and always ask for their opinion instead of being impersonal and task-oriented.
As a manager you will need to keep these in mind:
- assist in setting realistic goals
- work on time-management
- develop a friendship and make time for interaction daily
- open door policy
- station them in a people area
- allow them freedom of movement without control
- set clear objectives
- look for opportunities for them to utilise their verbal skills.
The high influencer loves innovative and aesthetically pleasing products. They clearly love to be liked – and usually are! It is all about fun and the experience. They read a lot of fiction and self improvement books. Their office usually appears disorganised and boasts impressive memorabilia of special experiences. They may not be aware of the rules and break them unintentionally. Most interestingly, although they talk a lot but their listening skills aren’t great. To many of us they may even come across as clumsy!
So how do we engage these people? How do we get them excited about a product? Easy!
- spare the details, just hit the high points
- give plenty of follow up
- show them how innovative something is
- allow time for socialising
- tell stories
- when closing the conversation, give them a choice: “You liked both plans, which is your favourite?”
Best of luck!