You might be familiar with personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Belbin Test and the VARK Model, which allow you to take a questionnaire and get insight into your personality and learning style. If you get an entire team to take these tests, you can use this information to make decisions on how to communicate with them, and to understand their preferred learning techniques.
These tests are useful, but they are something you have to sit down and do, ask others to do and then analyse. Since a lot of business environments are fast-paced, particularly networking, it’s not practical to try to work out whether somebody is an ‘ENFP’ (according to the Myers-Briggs test) or is a visual or kinaesthetic learner (VARK) within moments of meeting them.
This week, I read ‘The Four Color Personalities For MLM’ by Tom ‘Big Al’ Schreiter, who makes the point that in MLM (multi-level marketing), it’s important to make quick decisions on how to communicate with people, and that we need a simplified and easy-to-remember model for weighing up people’s personalities.
Big Al suggests we break them down into just four everyday colours – yellow, blue, red and green. They can be summarised as follows:
– Yellow: caring, patient, supportive
– Blue: lively, energetic, spontaneous
– Red: competitive, ambitious, controlling
– Green: logical, cautious, precise
Big Al paints an exaggerated picture of all four of these personalities, none of which are too flattering. In his book, the yellow is a hippy who just wants everyone to get along, the blue is an adrenaline junkie who thinks at a million miles a minute and never shuts up, the red is little more than an obnoxious bully and the green is just an antisocial nerd. That means it can be hard to identify with any of them, but he repeatedly points out that these are caricatures, that there’s no “right” one to be and that any of them can make great leaders.
I certainly found myself linking these personalities with people I knew as I was reading about them, and also saw certain elements of people I work with in the descriptions. Many of us are not entirely one colour and might have a secondary colour, which Big Al suggests is no bad thing, as that suggests they are able to understand two “languages”.
It can also be difficult to assess which of these personality colours you are yourself. On reading it, I ruled out red as that’s not me at all, but I saw parts of myself in all the other three. I think I’ve concluded that my primary colour is yellow, with green as my secondary.
However, since the main point of Big Al’s book is to aid communication, it’s more important to come to a conclusion on other people’s personalities than your own, and to know what sort of language you need to use to connect with them. If you realise you’re talking to a yellow, words like ‘help’, ‘support’ and ‘care’ are likely to do this, whereas reds would be more likely to respond to the likes of ‘succeed’, ‘control’ and ‘win’.
We can also consider this when writing sales copy. You should have a target persona in mind when writing it, so what sort of personality are they? Maybe you’re selling adventures to a blue who would like to ‘experience’ and ‘enjoy’ them, or perhaps you’re looking to ‘reassure’ and ‘guarantee’ a green that your security system can protect their home.
Whether we’re looking to connect with business owners at networking events, or the ideal customer online, we need to be able to speak their language. If you need help producing content that reaches the people you’re looking for, speak to us at Engage Web today.