Leverage Communication Variety to Increase Your Personal Influence
Let’s explore two major ways for you to strengthen your personal influence.
First, variety in your communication style and second, variety in your knowledge and content.
Variety in Communication Style
Variety in your communication style means the ability to communicate in different ways.
It means you can speak sometimes with a casual tone, and sometimes with a formal tone.
Sometimes you make jokes. Sometimes you’re serious.
Why is variety important?
Because the kind of person who behaves the same way in every situation, is extremely boring.
People will not be very interested to speak to that person.
Or, maybe they’re interested at the very beginning, but over time they get tired of them.
As a result, that person doesn’t have much personal influence.
Examples of Boring Communication
One example would be the jokester.
The jokester is somebody who makes everything into a joke.
This quality might be charming, funny and hilarious at first. But it very, very quickly becomes tedious and exhausting because the jokester is a one-trick pony.
A few jokes, and a little bit of humor, is always great. But too much is too much.
Another example is the “dominant” person or what we might call the alpha.
The dominant person has to be right in every situation. They have to dominate every situation and every decision.
Again, there’s pros and cons to this.
Dominance can be attractive and effective in a situation where people are looking for leadership. Maybe people are looking for someone to cut through BS and just make a decision and stick to it.
But being too controlling and too dominant, too frequently, will burn people out.
Remember the importance of the overall office culture you are operating in. What is appropriate or celebrated in one setting, may be odd or awkward in another.
Avoid Having a Limited Communication Style
You can probably think of many other examples: a person who’s always flirtatious; someone who is always very formal, or very informal; someone who is always agreeable, or always disagreeable.
What is common to all these types is that they have one narrow communication style and that hurts their personal influence.
It does make them effective in a very specific, narrow context.
But in the vast majority of situations, people are not going to respond positively.
So when you have variety in your communication style, it makes you more compelling and more interesting to more people.
People will find you fascinating.
And you also have the element of surprise.
If people don’t quite know what to expect whenever they interact with you, that plays in your favor. There’s a little bit of mystery to your persona.
Variety in Knowledge or Content
The second major type of variety is in knowledge or content.
You want to be able to carry on a conversation with people from a wide variety of backgrounds on all different types of topics.
How do you do that? Increase your knowledge.
Continuously research and learn about different subjects: science, literature, history, psychology, physics, chemistry, new technology, economics, world geopolitics.
Watch high-minded documentaries as well as reality TV.
Watch niche games and sports that no one’s ever heard of, as well as mainstream big league sports.
The more variety you have in your knowledge, the more content you’ll have to call on in conversations.
But don’t just stop there.
Participate in a wide variety of activities and events. See what’s going on in your local area. Have different kinds of experiences.
The more experiences you can accumulate, the more interesting you become. You will be able to tell interesting stories and anecdotes to people in the course of conversations and presentations.
Your personal influence will improve significantly.
The Power of Variety
The more variety you can have in your communication style and in your knowledge and content, the more people you’ll be able to relate to.
You’ll become more interesting, and your conversations will be robust and engaging.
You will also have a greater understanding of the world in general and what makes people tick.
And the more you understand people, the more influential you’ll become.
Finally, you will be more confident and comfortable in any situation.
Whether presenting in front of previously intimidating senior leadership, speaking to a random stranger on the street, or meeting someone at a networking event or a conference, you’ll be able to conduct yourself in a confident and comfortable way.
That confidence in and of itself also adds to your personal influence.
Variety in communication, and variety in knowledge, are two key ways to make yourself more influential.
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