Of the four Behavior Styles, Persuaders tend to be the most charismatic and expressive, often making their presence known very quickly. In fact, if you don’t notice them, they’ll likely give a nudge, and often using humor, to ensure you do.
Persuaders Are Energizing Optimists
They like to work with groups of people and are often competitive. Persuaders work fast and make quick decisions. The result is that their work sometimes lacks detail and accuracy, and therefore, a Persuader’s decisions may be perceived as impulsive.
Persuaders are supportive and empathetic. They want to be liked and can be confused when someone doesn’t seem to. From their perspective, what’s not to like about an upbeat, positive person who is friendly, fun-loving, and interested in you? Not only that, but of all the Behavior Styles, Persuaders are the ones who will most quickly trust you. Sometimes they use their verbal skills to seek out recognition. Since Persuaders need the opportunity to think out loud, to talk and express their opinions, they relish involving others in their projects and the decision-making process. They are warm and expressive in their recognition of others and enjoy getting the same for their accomplishments, partly because it creates an opportunity for visibility—which can be a primary motivating factor. They enjoy other people taking a personal interest in what they think and do.
Persuaders respond to incentives and considerations, but do not offer them incentives accompanied by a lot of facts or details. For Persuaders, details often confuse the issue or interfere with the process.
They have high consideration for the needs and feelings of others and are willing to do what it takes to get people energized. They are also more inclined to initiate tasks where they verbally interact with others. Persuaders are typically not uncomfortable in the spotlight—far from it—and will entertain in work and social situations.
Below are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind when working with a Persuader, to ensure a smooth and fruitful relationship develops.
Allow time for getting to know them on a personal level. They are relational beings to the core and they become endlessly frustrated if they feel isolated, personally rejected, or if there is a loss of love between people.
Establish a broad framework in which to structure and contain your discussion. Persuaders love freedom, and that includes the ability to work within wide but well-outlined boundaries.
Support their ability to take risks. Let their audacity be a strength.
Leave room for their ideas and goals. They are high energy. Gifted with the ability to rally others to their chosen enterprise, Persuaders can be great catalysts for action.
Be prepared to introduce ideas and opinions that inspire feelings. They will excite others, but first, they need to experience the enthusiasm themselves. Reach them with stories and humor.
Offer personal incentives and considerations in your dealings with them. They enjoy the challenge of competition and pursuit, and it’s best when is it unique to them.
Ask for their opinions and ideas concerning people. They have a lot of ideas and often consider how people feel, so ask for their input and let them know you appreciate their people savviness.
Provide references from people whom they consider to be important and influential. People matter to them, especially those they know and respect.
Leave time for socializing. Life should be fun. And why wouldn’t it be when you have a Persuader in your life?!?
Provide ideas for taking action; allow them room to convert energy into action. They can brainstorm with the best of them but their real edge resides in their ability as catalyzers.
[Read “How to Best Work with Analyzers”]
Expect them to be strictly focused on the task. Persuaders can get a bit distracted or lose interest when the conversation becomes detail-focused; the territory in which they thrive allows space for their rapid-fire, often upbeat communication style.
Jump right into the data or facts. Because of their highly relational nature, they do their best work when there is some interpersonal engagement to get things started—and from time to time as the conversation continues.
Narrow your topic too much at first or leave issues hanging. Since they are visionary and like to imagine possibilities, leave space to get their thoughts when topics are brought up. At the same time, they prefer a fast pace so don’t take too long to get to the point.
Stick too much to business. Don’t make conversations rigid and formal. Allow them a chance to banter and get to know you.
Become impatient with them. They’re likely to feel personally attacked and may lash out verbally or emotionally “dump” on you.
Get side-tracked when exploring options. It’s easy to get lost with them. Gently guide them back to the alternatives on the table.
Focus exclusively on task. Persuaders want to be appreciated and respected for their relational nature, so share your thoughts and emotions with them. This communicates trust and creates an open rapport they enjoy.
Limit their ability to participate. They want to be where the people are and tend to have a severe case of FOMO. They have a difficult time imagining a room of people enjoying themselves without missing them at least a little bit (and hopefully more!).
Rely on technical specifications to prove your point or get them to “buy-in.” Facts and figures don’t win them over as often as a compelling story or an alluring vision of what is possible, should things go according to your plan.
Persuaders are a joy to be around. If you allow them the space to energize others, you’ll find that their time spent in what seems just like socializing and entertaining can often be an essential source of inspiration for your team.
[More detailed Behavior Styles Quick Reference Cards are available here.]