A common misconception is that you are supposed to adapt or fake your personality or communication style during Executive Presentations so that it matches that of your customer. Trying to fake your way through anything never works and is inevitably found out. This is not only insulting to the other person, it is also easily seen through.

It is equivalent to your child coming to you after completing a screaming fit and smiling sweetly while saying, “Gee Daddy, you’re so handsome; I was just wondering…” How many of you would fall for that? Or would you be looking at your child thinking, “How stupid do I look? I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.” That is exactly what your clients are thinking when you sit across from them and try to schmooze with them in a communication style that’s completely unlike you. Believe me, the real you does shine through.

So the goal is not to change your style based on the customer, but instead to understand where your customer is coming from so that you can present what your customer needs to hear. Remember, it’s not about what you need to say, it is about what they need to hear.

This means you need to truly listen to what your clients are saying in order to know if they are asking you about how your product, service, or information will fit in their organization. Will it help them get more recognition in the marketplace or in their organization? Will it help them to dominate the marketplace in terms of power or position? Will it help them restore order in their organization? Will it help them increase accuracy in what they say and do? You will get the answers to this and other questions at our upcoming Presentation Skills Seminars.

In the first fifteen minutes of a meeting, your clients will let you know what their communication style is and what they are looking for as their buying signal with you. All you have to do is listen to what they say.

So don’t try to fake it with your customer. Instead, listen carefully to identify their biggest concerns, and focus on those concerns. Add value to the person sitting across from you. Don’t walk in thinking that you are there to sell them. That will lead you to doing a song and dance instead of bringing your character and integrity to the table.

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