Ever feel like you and your significant other are speaking completely different languages? Like no matter what, you just don’t understand each other? A misunderstood conversation might end up with you arriving on Valentine’s Day and presenting them with a closet organizer instead of the personalized gift they actually wanted. Well, this same scenario happens in business too.
Getting one person (or an entire audience) to love you isn’t just about giving the right present, it’s about communicating to your audience in a personal way that will engage them. The key to building a positive relationship - friendship or business - is communicating in a way that is personally relevant to your desired audience, and the end goal should be to create thoughtful, meaningful engagement. How do you accomplish this? Simple. If you’re looking to create meaningful relationships (and avoid those nasty mixed signals), try some the advice below.
Listen First, Talk Later
Could you imagine going on a date with someone that you think you have a lot in common with only to realize, after a grueling 2-hour dinner, that your date cares more about him or herself than you and your interests? Lots of organizations make this rookie dating mistake when trying to attract their desired audience. The solution to this dating faux pas is simple. Stop talking about yourself and start listening to your audience.
At InspireHUB we teach that every decision, action and reaction people experience is based on their eight perceptual determinants: fears, attitudes, beliefs, values, interests, experience, worldview, state of health. Understanding a person’s perceptual determinants will help you communicate with them in a way that makes sense to them and resonates on a personal level. It’s far easier to market yourself to everyone the same way, using the same tactics. Getting to know your audience and understanding their perceptions and perspective may take a longer time and require more effort, but the results are exponentially more powerful.
Make It About Them (Personal Relevance)
After all the listening, the question asking and the knowledge gained, it’s time to use what you learned! Once you understand who you’re trying to attract, you should have a better idea of HOW to do it. For example, if you know that the person you hope to attract is afraid of heights, you won’t take them to a roller coaster on your first date. Same applies to business. If you want to attract your target audience and create sustainable engagement, you have to find out what your audience’s interests are and talk to them about that. It sounds logical, right?
Too many organizations overlook this concept of personal relevance - pleasing your audience and catering to their interests before yours. Sometimes an organization’s own fear of failing to engage their audience can lead them down a path of spam and self-promotion. However simple it sounds, communicating to your audience in a way that’s personally relevant to them is the most powerful solution. When in doubt, turn your focus back to your audience’s interests. Make it personally relevant!
Be You! And Be Clear About It
Authenticity and transparency is the only way to build a real and valuable relationship. Whether it’s a crush, a friend, a donor, sponsor or entire audience, you can’t expect them to trust you unless you’re loud and clear about who you are, what you stand for, and what you want. In business, we call this declaration a mission statement. Mission statements can be a powerful boon for your organization, but without proper consideration or implementation they can also be harmful (learn more: Mastering Mission Statements). For instance, imagine a person tells you that they love outdoor sports but decline every invitation to go outside and spend the majority of their time playing video games. Would you still believe that they love outdoor sports? What if an organization claims to care about the environment but practices unsafe manufacturing that causes mass environmental degradation. Would you still believe that they care for the environment? When you declare who you are, you have to be transparent about your intentions and follow through on your word so that your audience, donors and stakeholders trust you.
These three pieces of advice will help you master the language of love so you can build the kind of positive relationships that produce sustained engagement and advocates for your brand.