Match Your Energy
No, this is not about getting a better deal on your household bills (although if you want to do that then check out www.uswitch.com!). This is about the power of matching your personal energy to that of your audience. The old adage 'people like people like themselves' is very true. If you want to be engaging, then this is an often overlooked but vital step. Read on to find out more....
A short example
The other day, I had the pleasure of observing a colleague deliver a training presentation to a group of Care Home Managers. Like me, he has a fairly energised natural style. I was therefore interested (and impressed) to see him bring that energy right down when talking to this particular group. He had clearly realised beforehand that being his usual energised self might put these guys off. The reason, they were quite literally a very caring bunch, most of them ex-nurses. Their whole working lives had been based around giving care, and bringing a soothing presence to people who were perhaps not in the best of health. It was no surprise then, to see this group immediately warm to my colleague when he was talking to them in the way they tended to communicate themselves. He still had energy, but he turned it into a calm energy that really resonated with them. If this had been a sales presentation, I'm sure he would have made the sale!
So how do we do it?
Firstly, it's about taking the time to think about your audience. I've spoken about this in previous blogs, and it's worth thinking about again. The type of questions I would be thinking about in this instance, are:
- Who are they?
- What are they like?
- What's important to them / what do they value?
- What would they dislike?
Of course, much of this will often be guesswork, but an educated guess is much better than no guess at all. For instance, imagine you had to talk to a group of Investment Bankers. I'm sure your answers to the questions above would be very different to those given for a group of Retail Managers, or Accountants. By the way, before I get any angry comments from people, I'm not suggesting that ALL Investment Bankers/Retail Managers/Accountants are the same. However, in my experience people with certain personality traits do tend to be attracted to certain professions, so taking an average (when it comes to presenting to a group) is still very worthwhile.
The next step
Once you have your answers, the next step is to think carefully about what kind of energy would this group respond best to. As I just mentioned, we are working on educated guesswork and averages, but it should still give us an advantage.
So, using the above examples:
- Investment Bankers - High presence, succinct, direct.
- Retail Managers - Grounded, fast paced/high energy, empathetic.
- Accountants - Credible, medium energy, thoughtful.
Your answers may of course be different than mine, but in my experience, this tends to be what I find works well.
Putting it all together
What this doesn't mean is that you have to be someone you're not. In fact, doing that would be a big mistake. People can spot inauthenticity very easily (much more easily than they can spell it!), so you always want to be you. However, what you should do is bring your natural energy towards that of the group you're talking to. I'm naturally high energy, so when I speak to an Investment Banking group I just work hard to bring that energy down and try and channel it into being high presence. I'm still me, I'm just a controlled me. Think of it like the first time you met your boyfriend/girlfriend's parents when you were in your teens. You were still you, but probably a slightly 'edited' you!
The return you get for your efforts is significant. If you've pitched it right, then the group you're talking to will warm to you from the start. Not only will this put you at ease, but you will find that reaching your purpose (whether that's to engage/influence/sell/motivate/educate etc.) will be a hell of a lot easier too. Give it a go, and let me know how you get on - after all, what have you got to lose?!
Until next time
All the best