Don’t Just Talk. Communicate!


Dr. Dennis O’Grady has a message for marketers and other business people: “You may be talking your way out of successful customer relationships without realizing it.” As a Dayton-based clinical psychologist who specializes in interpersonal communications, Dr. O’Grady has distilled years of research into a communication system he explains in his book, “Talk To Me” (available in local bookstores and on

According to Dr. O’Grady, “Just as people are born either left-handed or right-handed, they are born as one of two types of communicators. I’ve designated these as Empathizer-Types (E-Types) or Instigator-Types (I-Types). One type isn’t better or worse than the other, and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. The trick is to know which type you are, learn the characteristics of both types and be able to use this knowledge to communicate more effectively.”

So what does all of this have to do with marketing communications? Plenty. As savvy marketing people have moved from focusing on individual transactions to developing deeper customer relationships, it’s more important than ever that we understand each other explicitly. Have you ever lost a customer and didn’t know why? It could be that you were simply not communicating effectively. You may have unknowingly hurt the customer’s feelings. Or perhaps they felt that you didn’t pay enough attention to what they were telling you.

That’s where the TALK2ME system comes in. By learning which type of communicator you are and understanding the traits of your opposite type, you’ll have the communication skills you need to talk with your customers instead of talking to them. As a result, you can create more profitable relationships.

Through the metaphor of communications as a superhighway, Dr. O’Grady’s system enables readers to learn and use the strengths of both E- and I-Types to avoid communication “accidents” that prevent us from achieving our goals.

“On this highway,” Dr. O’Grady tells us, “E-Types drive ocean blue-colored cars because their emotions run as deep as the ocean, and they put the ‘motion’ in the word ‘emotion.’ I-Types drive burnt orange cars because they burn as bright as the sun and love to instigate and lead change. E-Types complain that I-Types don’t listen to them, and I-Types complain that E-Types don’t drive past their moods fast enough.”

Which type of communicator do you think you are? According to the book, you are likely an Empathizer Type if:

  • – By nature, you are a sensitive person.
  • – You are an empathetic leader.
  • – You are a good follower and a team player.
  • – You struggle with your feelings getting hurt too easily and for too long.
  • – You are a great listener because you listen open-mindedly with three ears.

You are likely an Instigator Type if:

  • – By nature, you are a less sensitive person.
  • – You are a strategic leader.
  • – You are a good problem-solver and debater.
  • – You struggle with biting your tongue or sticking your foot in your mouth, wishing you could take back your words.
  • – You have guts galore and courage to lead the way ahead through the unknown.
  • – You listen selectively with a goal in mind, and you expect people to push back and spark a conversation.

You can find out for certain which type communicator you are by visiting and clicking on “What’s your type?” Your answers to a dozen short questions will tell you. I answered these questions and quickly found my communications type is…well, I’ll let you guess.

By the way, the lessons learned through Dr. O’Grady’s system not only help you to be a better marketer, they can also make communicating with your business associates and those closest to you in your personal life much more effective. Which may be an even better reason to check it out.

Norman J. Vallone is a marketing strategist who helps businesses achieve their goals by advising, training and empowering them to strategically market their products and services.

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