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Communicating Your Story to the Four Personality Types

March 9, 2021 Joe Mechlinski

Two women talking

When a psychiatrist at an acclaimed institution begins a relationship with a new patient, the standard intake session will require some sort of personality test. 

After all, it’s imperative they know as much about who they’re dealing with so that they can determine the best way to make progress with the prognosis.

A business that provides more commercial products and services should act no differently when building their relationships with their prospects. Although lucky for us, our professions allow a little more flexibility and fun in our assessment of personality types.

When SHIFT is asked to facilitate a training program, we make sure that a session on personality types is presented early on in the agenda. For if you don’t know the nature of your client, how can you even begin to create a worthwhile experience for them? How will you ignite their desire to share in your story?

Now even though Myers-Briggs has proven to be effective, the idea of implementing such a test on your prospects during your first lunch meeting is ridiculous enough to necessitate we undergo a series of testing for even suggesting it. Hence why SHIFT decided to take all of the psychological expertise that we had studied and cut it down to four personality snapshots that would be easy to use in everyday client interactions. We also wanted them to be memorable and since every human at his or her core is an animal with instincts exploring oceans of possibilities, SHIFT ever appropriately went fishing for convenient labels. The four categories we created are as follows:

SHARK – The hard-driving, in-your-face, results-oriented people. What primarily motivates them is money, recognition, and significance.

OCTOPUS – The organizational, data-driven people. They are primarily motivated by facts and information.

WHALE – The more charitable, let’s-do-what’s-best-for-the-greater-good type people. They are primarily motivated by helping others and making a difference.

DOLPHIN – The playful people who always want to have fun and want others to share in it. They are primarily motivated by enjoying the ride all along the way.

Woman excitedly waving at her laptop

Specifically speaking to the story – or your business’ mission, foundation, and essence – how do you start telling it to each different personality type to peak their interest and hold their attention like the “best seller” we all aim to be?

Try this – find a copy of your story right now and grab a highlighter. Read over it once for a brief refresher.

Done? Okay, first highlight the most climatic component. Did the founders of you company overcome a major hurdle? Did they discover something truly unique? Did a piece of world history enter into the plot at any point?

Now you’ve got your bait for any shark seated across from you.

Second, highlight the crispest fact. Was there a statistic that stood out? Was an exact number of important information put forth in the print? Was there even just a certain year that puts your company on a timeline?

Now you’ve got a lead into the legs of the octopus.

Third, highlight heartwarming part. Where’s the line about the greater contribution to the community? Was there a sentence about charitable causes that your company supports? Perhaps something about volunteering or making a difference in more than just profits?

Now you’ve got a wave for the whales to ride on.

Finally, highlight the humor. What’s the joke or the irony that was written to entertain? What’s the line that has a personality of its own to capture the unique energy and voice of your organization? Which group of words makes you smile?

Now you’ve got a fish to throw to the dolphins.

Two women talking in front of a table with a laptop

To effectively serve as the communication bridge between what needs to be said by your company and what wants to be heard by your prospect or client, you must be confident about what you’re speaking about – or the story – and who you’re speaking to – or the prospect's/client's personality type. Using SHIFT’s condensed categorizing system of sea creatures, you’re all set to go swimming!

Joe Mechlinski is the CEO of SHIFT and has partnered with countless leaders to effectively improve their team’s performance, their clients’ experience, and their company’s profits.

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