Monday, June 16, 2008

Number of Small Business Loans Increases

A major concern for most people when starting a business is financing. Many of us ask ourselves, where am I going to get the money to get my business up and running? As you do your research, you will learn that there are many options – borrow money from friends and family, seek outside investors, use your savings, fund it while still keeping a full time job or get a small business loan. We all weigh our individual financial goals and come up with the option that affords us the capital to get started quickly yet doesn’t put us into too much debt that we can’t breathe due to the financial.

A recent Washington Post article explored the later. It reported that “the number of small business loans under $1 million increased by 15% from June 2006 to June 2007”. Additionally, according to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, the loans with a value of $100,000 to $1 million increased by almost 32%.”

Why are small business loans increasing in popularity? We will explore that in our next post.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Understanding Communication Styles

Recently I attended a workshop by Jonath & DiMeo Incorporated. Its objective was to foster effective working relationships. One of the key drivers of relationships is communication style. Understanding our own communication style and the style of those whom we work will help communicate more successfully.

In this training they highlighted four communication styles: Expressive, Amiable, Analytical and Driver. We explored each in detail, but here are the traits and perceived strengths and liabilities in a nutshell.

Expressive Style: primary motivation is affiliation

  • Comfortable with close personal space
  • Prefers lots of eye contact
  • Gesture actively
  • Speak in a conversational manner
  • Use a lot of tentative language
  • Are talkative about personal things
  • Organize their message using recency

Perceived Strengths and Liabilities:

They are perceived to be likable. They’re quick to establish rapport and to make other feel included and comfortable. They are respectful of all members of a group or team and what to ensure that everyone is heard. On the downside, in their desire to affiliate they may be perceived as being disorganized by those who want to get straight to the task at hand.

Amicable Style: primary motivation is acceptance

  • Are comfortable with large personal space
  • Make little eye contact
  • Make few gestures
  • Speak slowly and softly
  • Use a lot of tentative language and fillers
  • Think before they act
  • Are interested in the fact and/or ideas behind the work
  • Organize their message using recency

Perceived Strengths and Liabilities:

Amicables are perceived to be thoughtful, reflective and non-threatening and good listeners. In groups, when called on they contribute real value. However, they tend not to assert in group setting or bring ideas to the table.

Analytical Style: primary motivation is achievement of task

  • Comfortable in large space
  • Focus their eye contact on the task
  • Make few gestures
  • Speak loudly and quickly
  • Use precise language
  • Organize their message using primacy – main point supported by details

Perceived Strengths and Liabilities:

Analyticals are perceived to be very organized, logical and careful. To be careful, they put up a few more testing barriers, asking the “what’s that based on?” questions. Analyticals may be perceived as closed and aloof.

Driver style: primary motivation control

  • Are comfortable with large personal space to size up the situation
  • Make frequent and intense eye contact
  • Make large illustrative gestures
  • Speak quickly and loudly
  • Use prescriptive language : “you should”, “we have to”
  • Make quick decisions based on little information
  • Organize their message using primacy

Perceived Strengths and Liabilities:

Divers are perceived to be dynamic and decisive. On the downside, they are perceived as aggressive and impatient for action.

What style best describes you and the people you work with? Your clients? Your employees? I was dominantly express, but then scored equal across the board in the other three. No doubt you can see a little of yourself in each of these. But how do you think other people see you.

The moral of the story was that you have to understand other people’s style of communication in order to have a better way of reaching them. For example, if your dominant style is expressive and you need to effectively communicate with someone’s whose style is a driver, there are certain characteristics of your communication style that you need to change so as to adapt to the other person’s style. For instance, you may be less talkative and chatty and get down to the points at hand – almost in a bulleted form.

Understanding communication style is something that we all can use in all aspects of our lives – both personal and business.