The Platinum Rule: Your Communication Edge

Just as I finished a demo for a new software I was researching, my phone rang. And of course, it was a sales person from said software company.


Naturally, I was annoyed. I wasn’t ready to make a buying decision and I definitely didn’t want to deal with pushy sales tactics. But something remarkable happened during that call.


In the span of 5 minutes that sales person took me from grumpy, “I’m-not-giving-you one dime buddy” to practically throwing my credit card at him. Not only did I make a purchase right then and there, I purchased the biggest, most expensive package available.


You may be wondering, as I did, how the heck did he do that?


The answer is pure genius. He spoke my language. No gimmicks, no cheesy sales pitches-just words that hit the bullseye with me-fast, results, straightforward. No time wasted on small talk, just rapid-fire, power-packed communication, just the way I like it.


The whole call, including me parting ways with several thousand dollars, took less than 10 minutes.


That is the power the Platinum Rule of Communication, your secret weapon to getting what you want by giving others what they need in communication. Get ready put the Platinum Rule of Communication to work for you.


The Secret

As a leader, you know your team members aren’t all the same? You already do this dance of communication, adapting to each person’s needs and preferences. But let’s spell it out.


If you want people to listen, buy from you, or consider your ideas, you have to speak their language. That’s the Platinum Rule of Communication – communicating with others the way they want to be communicated with. But here’s the thing, understanding their style is just the beginning.


Why it Matters:

A big part of the gig as leader is the ability and willingness to communicate and communicate effectively.


What does it mean to communicate effectively? It means people know what the heck you’re talking about. It also means you have the ability to influence others to take certain actions. It means people actually care about what you have to say.


There’s more to it than that.


Great communicators enjoy more trusting, productive relationships. It’s easier to the work done when you can communicate well.  Fun fact: effective communication can lead to a 50% increase in employee engagement. And you probably know the data- engaged employees are more productive, creative, and committed to achieving results.


Step 1: Understand your style and needs

Understand your style and needs. Get self-aware, recognize your preferences and how you like to communicate.


Consider your favorite method of communication and why you prefer it. Do you like quick, direct messages or do you prefer more details and data? Do you enjoy chatting your co-workers up or do you prefer to get down to business right away? The answers to these questions will provide a lot of insight on your personal needs.


Step 2: Understand and Appreciate the Style and Needs of Others

How do you recognize someone else’s communication style and needs? Well, there’s a few simple things you can do.


First, pay attention to what your past experience tells you. We all give off clues in every meeting, phone call, text, zoom meeting, and email. Listen. Pay attention to those clues. You’re going to need them for the next step.


Next, have a conversation with those you work with about their communication preferences. These simple questions will help drive that discussion:


  • Do you like email, phone call or text best?
  • How much detail to you like?
  • Should we get right to business or can I ask you about your dog?


One more thing-this step isn’t just about recognizing someone else’s style-it’s also about appreciating it.


Different approaches are complementary, not competing. And without different communication styles, things would fall through cracks all over the place.


Now, on to the most important step…


Step 3: Adapt to meet the other person’s needs

At this point-you understand your style. You recognize and appreciate the styles and needs of the people you work with. Now, it’s time to put the Platinum Rule into action


  • For the people on your team who appreciate data, give them data and don’t get cranky when they ask you about the varsity of the information or if they ask you 100 other questions.
  • For the people who craft those long detailed messages explaining how they’ve reached a conclusion-thank them! Show appreciation for their work.
  • For those who like short, direct emails or texts-oblige them whenever possible. And don’t take it personally when they sent you messages with 10 words or less.
  • For team members who want to chat you up about your camping trip and their cat, engage, within reason of course. Ask them questions about their lives and experiences.


The truth is-I could write an entire book on things you can do to adapt. But I’ll sum in up for you here:


If you know the team’s communication needs and preferences-wherever possible, do you best to accommodate those needs. It can be as simple as a warm greeting in an email or asking a team member to poke holes in an idea.


Use the Platinum Rule! By doing this, not only will you influence others and achieve your goals, but you’ll also show them that you genuinely care about their needs. The best part? You’ll become an influential communicator and a leader your team will trust, respect, and talk to.