month we discussed what
Social Style is and indentified the four types. This month we’ll take
that new knowledge and learn how to apply it in real-world scenarios.
At first it will seem like a
chore to figure a person’s personality style. But you’ll improve
rapidly and in a short amount of time it will come automatically. Most
people I’ve taught SS can determine style within thirty seconds.
Start by thinking of people as
Below the Liners or Above the Liners, Left of the Liners or Right of
Characteristics of Left
of the Liners: (Analyticals and Amiables)
• They talk slowly
• They move at a slower pace
• Slower to make decisions
Right of the Liners: (Drivers and Expressives)
• They talk faster
• They’re faster paced in movements and mannerisms
• They make decisions more quickly
Above the Liners: (Analyticals and Drivers)
• They speak with little voice fluctuation
• They’re more formal—in speech, mannerisms, attitudes, and often dress
• No hugs, not “touchy” people
• They’re more about the work
Below the Liners: (Amiables and Expressives)
• They’re more expressive with their voices
• They talk with their hands
• They’re warmer—more willing to touch others and hugs are not a bad
• They generally dress casually
• They’re about relationships
Do you see how this works in
real life? You get on the phone with a person for the first time.
If they’re talking fast, you
immediately know they’re a right of the liner. Listen a few more
seconds to their tone of voice. If it’s up and down, bing! you’ve got
an Expressive on your hands.
If they talk more slowly, you
know they’re left of the line. If their tone is less expressive, then
you’re talking to an Analytical.
In person, it’s even easier
using the observation points I’ve noted above.
Selling to each Style
Once you’ve figured out an
editor or agent or reader’s style, let’s talk about how to sell them.
When selling to or
talking with an Analytical:
• Be systematic, thorough, deliberate, and precise (the hamburger did
not cost $5, but $5.03). They like the fifty-page proposal.
• Focus on the task. They like people as much as the other styles, but
this isn’t about friendship, it’s about the work. Analyticals can be
friendly, but it’s not about the relationship, it’s about the facts,
• Be prepared to answer many “how” questions. They love questions, so
you need to love having the right answers—and the data to back up what
you tell them.
• Provide analysis and facts. What do Analyticals love? Details. LOTS
of them. • They have a huge need to be right.
• Recognize and acknowledge the need to be accurate and logical. They
don’t want the vision (an expressive trait); they want reality.
• Don’t rush unnecessarily. Analyticals are “left of the liners,”
slower paced than Expressives and Drivers.
• Expect to repeat yourself. “Didn’t I already say it five times?!”
Yes, you did, but the Analytical wants make sure. • Allow time for
evaluation. Sometimes LOTS of time. (Like my brother-in-law taking
three years to determine the right type of family dog.)
• Use lots of evidence. Analyticals don’t buy on emotion but on the
mountain of evidence you provide them. To say, “My first book sold
twenty thousand copies” is not detailed enough. Break it down by
region, story, e-book, hard copy, etc.
selling to or talking with an Amiable:
• Be relaxed and agreeable. Remember, this is about relationship.
• Maintain the status quo. These are not rock-the-boat people. Don’t
introduce the first Zombie Evangelist Who Looks Like Elvis series.
Create a plan with written guidelines. Show them the plan. Let them
see you’ve thought things out, that they’ll be safe going with your
proposal. This is different from the Analytical who wants facts; for an
Amiable it’s about assurance.
• Be prepared to answer “Why” questions.
• Be predictable. See rocking the boat above.
• Use the word we. This is about a team, about
relationship, people in something together.
• Don’t push. Push too hard and they’ll bolt or shut down emotionally.
• Don’t rush. Slow your pace to match theirs.
• Be a good listener. It tells them you care about them = relationship.
When selling to or
talking with an Expressive:
• Think about relationship. Relationships are important to an
Expressive, for the sense of adventure and fun you can have together.
• Think moving and talking faster if you’re a left of the liner.
• Try to show how your ideas will improve his or her image. Expressives
want to be well thought of and admired.
• Be enthusiastic, open, and responsive. Expressive are, uh,
expressive, so be that way yourself when talking to them.
• Don’t bore them. Bog them down in a bunch of details and the deal is
done—not in a good way.
• Relate to the need to share information, stories, and experience.
Expressives are about story. You’ll sell an Expressive on the stories
from book signings, readers letters, how you’ll be doing a reading at
the top of the Empire State Building.
• Ask and answer “who” questions. Expressives are impressed by
• Minimize their involvement with details. Show how they don’t have to
worry about those sniggling little details.
When selling to or
talking with a Driver:
• Focus on the task. They want to get the deal done not be your buddy.
• Talk about expected results. Remember the main motivation of a
• Be businesslike and factual. Hug a Driver or start talking about your
kids (or theirs) and you will sour the relationship.
• Provide concise, precise, and organized information. This the Boy
Scout style. Be prepared!
• Discuss and answer “what” questions.
• Argue facts, not feelings.
• Don’t waste time. There’s a war out there to win! We don’t have time
• If you’re left of the liner (Analytical or Amiable), step up your
pace. Move faster. Talk faster. They’ll engage more fully within
• Don’t argue details.
• Provide options. A Driver wants to be in control, which means giving
them choices so THEY get to choose.
Be aware that the style diagonal
from you (refer to the table above) is known as your toxic style.
Drivers and Analyticals have a tough time accepting each other—as do
Expressives and Analyticals—because their style characteristics are
opposite, which can be combustive. If you have a family member with a
toxic style, try treating them with their style characteristics. It
will change your relationship for the better.
Finished! Well, not really. Now
you need to start looking at your friends and start practicing.
We’ve just scratched the surface
of studying social style, but if you apply what you’ve learned, you
will find yourself establishing better relationships with editors,
agents, and readers.
Gotta go, I just figured out why
the protagonist in my next novel is ticked off at his brother.