Leadership Strategies: Target Your Message to the Right Sense

5 senses


People were created with five senses, although a few may claim they have a sixth sense. If you’re blessed with this intuitive sixth, you may not need read any further since you’ve probably already put into practice the concept to follow. For those who rely mostly on their core five, you may achieve greater influence if you tailor and direct your message toward the sense your intended receiver relies on most.

Leadership is about influence, and in many cases, influencing means getting people to see your point of view, do specific things, change behaviors, and think in different ways. Communication can be in the form of written, dialogue, and immersion into a situation to gain firsthand information. What many leaders may not realize is that each person has a preferred method by which want to receive information, usually because they process it more effectively in that format.

Although these preferences are individualistic, in my experience there also appears to be preferences by generational cohorts. Millennials seem to prefer visual communication based on how they learned via video technology. GenX, who grew up using PowerPoint as a primary business tool, typically prefer written communication to read over and digest. The Baby Boomers and older prefer to talk in person, or if necessary, have a conversation over the phone. They remember the days when a 20-ft telephone cord helped them stay connected with friends and family dinners/conversations were mandatory seven nights a week.

Regardless whether people fit their generational cohort, they typically give clues in how they prefer to receive information based on the words they use to start their responds. When people responds with “see” and “looks” as in “I see why” or “It looks good,” most likely they prefer to receive information visually.  Even if they heard the information, they will tend to respond with “It looks good.”

People who prefer auditory will likely respond, “I hear you.” Then there are those who say, “I feel…” as they weigh how people will feel about the decision. More women than men typically say “I feel…” when expressing their opinion, with men preferring to opt for “I think…” or “I believe…” If you provide information in the format that the receiver prefers, you may be more influential in your message.  What’s your preferred sense?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She coaches individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

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