In my twenty-plus years of sales experience, I had to work with many different types of clients. And now as a trainer for internal communication with managers and their teams?! Even more so!
Some clients are very demanding and direct. Others are very sincere and want to be best friends. Some are very outgoing, paying little attention to detail. And others a bit quieter but not afraid to ask a bajillion questions.
Because of this, I would say I have learned to be like a chameleon.
No, my skin doesn’t change colors and I don’t catch my dinner with my tongue.
But I had to adjust to my clients.
If they talked fast, I talked fast.
If they talked slower, so did I.
I learned to adjust my communication skills to theirs. And for that bit on talking slower? I had to work really hard on that one!
I shifted just as a chameleon does to fit my surroundings.
Sometimes I didn’t have to ‘shift’ as much. If I was talking with someone who had a similar personality to mine, I had a much easier time as I was able to be my natural self.
However, since my personality is more bubby, goofy, outgoing, I had to really stretch myself to tone down my expressions.
Depending on who I was emailing, I often had to fight the urge to add all my smiley faces, exclamation marks, and hilariously funny stories. (Well, at least I thought that they were funny!) Instead, I would get right to the point and ensure I was replying accurately.
I shifted my communication style because I knew they might not feel like I could relate to them.
You see, as much as I love bright colors, just like the chameleon, I had to tone it down to warm colors when in different surroundings.
I encourage you to take time to recognize this when you are around others. Do you notice a difference in how each member of your team communicates and how they prefer to be communicated with?
Being a chameleon might feel weird and difficult at first. You might feel a bit of resistance because it might feel like being someone different from yourself. But we all have moments in life where we have to stretch ourselves. And sometimes those moments are when trying to effectively build a relationship and communicate with others.