Discover the type of communicator you are, how this influences your marketing and what you can do about it.
When it comes to communication, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. This article is to help you communicate with your audience in a way that’s natural and enjoyable for you AND converts more people into paying clients.
Through my business, I’ve met many professionals who have the natural talent of speaking on stage and in front of the camera without a script; the words appear to flow seamlessly as they completely engage their audience with valuable insights from their experience, wisdom and personal or professional journey. I’m not one of those people!
When I practised as a lawyer, the vast majority of my communication was through writing—letters of advice, lengthy affidavits, correspondence with other firms. I didn’t need to represent my client in court very often because we engaged barristers to do that (which suited me just fine). I was much more comfortable behind the computer typing away. This was the one place where my language flowed effortlessly, evocatively, influentially. The place where my words had impact.
Since moving into the entrepreneurial space, I’ve observed how easily some people shine doing what they love while others seem to stall, unable to shift out of first gear. Often when people resist marketing their business, it’s because they’re not sure what they should say or how they should say it. If you want to be really proud of the message you’re putting out there, first get clear on your brand then do what you love.
Our styles of communicating are influenced by the way our brain processes data. For example, if you’re more analytical, your brain prefers factual data and informational knowledge whereas people who are more intuitive engage in the flow of the big picture without getting bogged down in the detail. People who are function-oriented enjoy working with lists, processes and detailed plans while others place greater value in emotional connection and deep personal relationships. Most people exhibit a combination of these styles and because of how their brain works, their predominant style or styles will usually influence the way they communicate knowledge.
We also all have a particular learning style. The Memletic diagram below groups the main learning styles people experience. Again, a combination of these styles suits most people and explains why learning can be enhanced through incorporating more than one style. Because each style uses different parts of the brain, weaker styles can be also strengthened thanks to the neuroplasticity of our brains.
- Visual learners prefer to use images, pictures and colours to learn from and communicate with others.
- Aural learners are creative and like to work with sound and music.
- Logical learners are pragmatic; they enjoy rational and mathematical reasoning.
- Verbal learners love to read and write and respond well to the written or spoken word.
- Kinesthetic learners are sensitive to touch and enjoy using their body to process stimulation (ie. dance, fitness, gardening or working outside).
- The social and solitary categories refer to a person’s preference to learn in groups or self-study.
Learn more about these styles at Learning Styles Online.
What this means for you
I often remind myself “just because you can do everything, doesn’t mean you should“. With an awareness of communication and learning styles, you can let go of the ‘shoulds’, invite some zhush into your business life and embrace your natural talents to focus on the elements of your job you love. The number of tools and advances in software let you make the most of simple strategies to engage a broader audience.
Video is rapidly gaining momentum because it appeals to most learning styles. I have a love/hate relationship with video. I love it because it shows the personality of the person behind the business and helps develop that ‘know, like and trust’ factor. However, relying on video alone risks losing a potential market. There are so many distractions out there, some people simply aren’t interested in sitting and watching a video if they don’t know what the content will be. I am one of those people! My learning strengths are verbal, logical and visual. My interest in a video is gauged firstly by knowing, liking and trusting the presenter; secondly whether someone I know, like and trust has recommended it to me; and failing either of those, whether the video has captions so I can see what it’s about without the need to listen to it. If it’s a ‘no’ to all of the above, I’m less likely to engage.
Podcasts are another fantastic option. They have appeal for aural, verbal, logical and kinaesthetic learners because people can listen to them on-the-go. My favourite podcast is Ali Brown’s Glambition Radio. She has conversations with amazing businesswomen around the world and even though they’re technically ‘interviews’, it feels like her audience is privy to her fireside chats. This is a woman who’s doing podcasts well. In my opinion, REALLY well. Any time I’m going to be in the car for a long time, Glambition Radio is my go-to.
Blogs appeal mostly to visual, verbal and logical learners. While written posts do restrict your market to those who enjoy reading, they’re a fantastic option because you can continue to create fresh content, link to external research, other websites and resources to provide easy access for your readers and expand the scope of your article. Be sure to include headings and bullet points to break up dense text. This allows skimmers to get to what’s most meaningful to them. I read an article recently about research which showed the vast majority of posts are shared and distributed without being fully read. They’re also great for reciprocal relationship building as you can feature guest posts and expand your audience reach. Some people even use advertisements for additional income, not that I’m an advocate for this. In my opinion, it reduces the legitimacy of your message.
What you can do
For online business marketing, aim to structure your communications to engage as many of the learning styles as appropriate. Focus on your own unique communication style and then optimise it using the suggestions below.
Transcripts: For people who have that natural ability to communicate articulately in person, you may prefer to work with video (or audio if you’re camera shy) and have your recording transcribed by a digital typist. Once it’s been edited to ensure the wording is correct, post it beneath your video. This allows people to see what your video is about before they watch and is an all-round more enjoyable experience. The use of video or voice recording software on your phone can motivate you to create great posts, marketing strategies and even book content on the run.
Live events: I also recommend to my clients that they record their live events. Many people who have the gift of articulate speech miss capturing the value of the information they generously share because it flows so naturally. Without a recording, the moment is often lost. By recording or videoing your live events, the transcription can then be converted into valuable digital assets including webinars, ebooks and future content.
Webinars: If you’re not so comfortable in front of people or the camera or you want to make sure you’re organised and have everything covered within a certain timeframe, you may feel more confident working from a script. Scripts are great for both video and webinars. This allows you to optimise the use of videos on your blog (which by the way Google loves for SEO) and creates a product to promote on social media, increasing your value and visibility.
Blogs: In your blog posts, use licensed or creative commons images and diagrams (where relevant) throughout the words. The use of emotive images with people or animals has been shown to increase engagement, while images within the article breaks up text density to provide a more enjoyable user experience. And as I mentioned above, the appropriate use of headings and bullet points can enhance the visual appearance of your post while allowing for people to skim and connect with the information that’s important to them.
Every video, webinar, online publication, ecourse and digital product you create is a valuable asset for your business.
External resources to help you
Luckily, there are a lot of digital tools and support people who can help you. If you don’t have a VA, copywriter or editor on your team and can’t yet afford to get one, check out some of these handy resources:
Rev uses technology and hand-picked freelancers to deliver services such as transcription, captions, subtitles and even translations to/from English at a super competitive price. You can also use the caption option in YouTube or head to fiverr for some fast help.
Dragon Speaking is voice recognition software than can transcribe for you. It’s not always intuitive so be prepared to make corrections.
You may choose to transcribe short videos yourself using the free transcription software, such as Express Scribe. This software allows you to use the function keys to stop and start the audio.
Podbean is a low-priced option that allows you to create your own professional podcasts with everything you need to upload, publish, manage and promote your podcasts on a relatively easy interface.