The Importance of Making Communication Personal

by Vasco Patrício

All products and services featured on this site are independently selected by our authors and editors. If you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

I once worked with a CEO that, regardless of what he did, was unable to elicit compliance from his team. Logically, he said all the right things and had the right goals in mind, but in practice, he just couldn't get people do align with his decisions.

He suffered from a problem that a lot of executives do nowadays: he didn't tailor his communication to the people he worked with. He blindly delivered the message in the same format for everybody, not making an effort to appeal a specific person's language, needs, points of interest. And then, surprise surprise, he couldn't get compliance.

Language Mirroring

There are many aspects to making communication personal. But one of the key ones comes down to language mirroring. Just taking note of some key phrases and words that the person uses and repeat them back to them, this has an immense effect on the empathy that you create.

If the person usually sums up things by saying “The key point is”, then start doing it with them. Instead, if they say “This all comes down to”, then repeat that back to them. Of course, it's not scalable to memorise the language patterns of everyone. You might speak to a dozen people on a regular basis So, just get on a conversation, see what kind of language they use, and mirror it back.

Analogies and Metaphors

Another important topic is to look for analogies and metaphors. If they are a parent, talk about raising this project like you would raise your kid. With care, the right mix of discipline and freedom. So it can grow into something amazing you're proud of. If someone is a sports fan, use sports analogies. Same for gaming, politics, any other interest. Know what their language patterns are, and use them to make the message easier to digest.

I once worked with a CEO that used this to drive home an important deal. He was convincing the other side of the table about the benefits of the product. They weren't very receptive. But he knew the CIO on the other side was a big football fan. So he started using football analogies about his team. About the role of this product. To help them score goals and win the championship. The CIO immediately opened up. And his team slowly warmed up as well. He brought the deal home.

You might say you are out of time or that you don't have the patience to understand people. Fair points. Just take some time to detect their general language patterns and likes, and use them to make your message more persuasive. It works.

About the Author 

Vasco Patrício

High-performance coach for top CEOs, hedge fund managers and politicians. Known as the Executive Kingmaker, I'm an MIT-backed 4x entrepreneur and startup investor turned performance coach. I work mostly with increasing influence and power, helping retain top talent and tuning psychological performance so you make money and achieve your legacy.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

I saw a post the other day from a small business owner who was annoyed about the cost of getting a website

Read More
Stop Thinking About Hours When it Comes to Money

I got an email this morning from Flippa, a popular online business selling platform, regarding a business for sale. As a business

Read More
Why Your Popular Website Isn’t Making Money

Use the links below to navigate our picks for the best personal development books for each of the following topics. FinancesBusiness Relationships

Read More
Best Personal Development Books: 20 Books to Skyrocket Your Success

Have you ever gotten so comfortable with something that you stopped practicing the basics?  What happened?  My guess is that you ran

Read More
With comfort comes complacency, and with complacency comes problems

As an executive and business owner, I have to chuckle sometimes when I see books like “The 4-Hour Workweek.” Work-life balance is

Read More
Work-Life Balance May Not Mean What You Think

I chuckled the other day as my wife Pamela said, “Can we shut down the ads until I get a few more

Read More
Why You Should Slow Down Your Business Growth

We often believe that the key to success is making some massive change in our lives. It is possible to take significant

Read More
To Succeed, Do Something Small Today, and Tomorrow, and the Day After That

Part of being a coach is continually working to improve our own skills. Some time ago, I was invited to try out

Read More
Becoming an Achology Certified NLP Practitioner

Most small business owners consider hiring a coach at some point in their journey. According to a former bank director and small

Read More
What to Look For When Hiring a Small Business Coach

Over the weekend, I had a little extra time on my hands, so I turned to a money-making trick I found a

Read More
How I Made $600 in 10 Minutes

Don graciously invited me to guest post on his blog. We have promoted one another for years. We co-create because you and

Read More
Why Compete When You Can Co-Create?

Lately, life has been chaotic.  Board meetings at night, long work days, 5 kids that need to be everywhere at the same

Read More


Get new articles and course discounts from leading providers every Friday in your inbox with your free subscription!