Chameleon Communication is, arguably, the most important skill for building a successful career, positively influencing your community, and even achieving rewarding personal relationships. To learn this skill, we must first understand there is no one reality. There are only 7.5 billion different perceptions of reality held by the people we are attempting to influence. Therefore, to be as successful as possible, we must constantly adapt our communication style, words, and non-verbal tendencies to align with each individual as closely as possible.
In our companies, we conduct Chameleon Communication training programs for new advisors and service specialists, and then repeatedly provide Chameleon Refreshers during company meetings and annual retreats. We understand that without first mastering effective communication, we cannot help our clients reach their goals, and we won't realize our own organizational goals.
For example, when sitting down with Grandma Kennedy for financial planning assistance, we speak more deliberately, enunciate clearly, and use terms such as "safety and security." We sit next to each other at a small round table - never across from each other. We take off our suit jacket, drink coffee, and periodically break to discuss the grandkids. Most importantly, we patiently listen without interrupting or attempting to finish her sentences.
Later, when CEO Jack stops in for his appointment, we give him a very solid handshake, look him in the eye just a split-second longer than normal, keep our suit jacket on, and sit at the same round table - just not as close. We speak louder and quicker, use terms such as "growth and return," and if afterhours even offer Jack two fingers of single malt scotch. Most importantly, we attempt to interpret through his ego and defense mechanisms in order to truly understand his goals and fears.
Marketing studies for service organizations claim that 87% of a customer's decision to do business with you is based on how you look and how you speak. Only 13% of your success in landing that big client is based on what you actually say! Think about it. Do we ever really understand what the lawyer, landscaper, or plumber is telling us about how they're going to do their job?
At our company retreats, I have passed out pictures of employees from Goldman Sachs' Annual Report. We've studied CNBC to dissect how they spoke and what specific terminology they would repeat most often. Then, when current clients and new potential investors attended our evening seminars, or visited our offices, their experience emulated the look and feel of what they believed represented investment success. Our language and appearance (the 87%) connected with them at a subconscious-neural level and told them that they were dealing with the right company. If you make a strong commitment to educate yourself on how to effectively communicate and influence, along with a never-ending drive to be the smartest technical expert in your industry, your success will know no bounds.
Now, C-Players will call this manipulation, and when you demonstrate your drive to constantly better yourself, they will call you narcissistic. This only highlights their lack of education. Remember that he who helps the most people, wins. If you believe you are doing good in the world, it is your moral responsibility to then influence as many people as possible. Or, as Coach Belichick would better state it, "Do your job!"
In our consulting and coaching firms, we believe that each company or individual who becomes our new client will then achieve more economic success, better quality of life, a better retirement, their children will attend better schools, and their communities will profit from their success. This alignment in our mission gives us congruency and boundless energy to attract substantially more clients than our competitors. You are not manipulating people. You are giving them the best possible opportunity to understand how you can help them. If they cannot hear you, they cannot receive the help. Ignore the C-Players. Do not entertain their gossip. Your place is not among them.
Whether in consulting services, plumbing, landscaping, running Big Brothers Big Sisters, or simply attempting to influence your teenagers to complete their homework, Chameleon Communication will enable you to lead and serve more effectively. I urge you to allocate a great deal of attention and energy into mastering this skill, and I wish you the best of luck influencing the world this week. "Do your job!"
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein.