NAIFA P+P Educational Session: What Are You Saying? The Ins and Outs of Effective Communication

Cheryl Canzanella, LUTCF, presented the educational session “What Are You Saying? The Ins and Outs of Effective Communication” sponsored by Women in Financial Services at NAIFA’s Performance + Purpose conference.

She used the “Four Temperaments Test,” available at, to explain the attributes of four basic human temperaments and provide guidance to understanding attendees’ own true traits and identifying strengths and weaknesses. She also covered how understanding the temperaments of other can help advisors build successful teams and connect with clients and prospects.

Temperament is an in-born, natural predisposition. It differs from personality, which is developed over time and is your personal identity.

Advisors who understand their own temperaments and recognize their clients’ temperaments can use that knowledge to communicate more effectively.

“Advisors have an opportunity to be a chameleon in front of clients,” Canzanella said. If they can “understand where clients are coming from,” they are able to adjust their communications styles to give clients what they need and make connections based on the clients’ temperaments.

Understanding people’s temperaments also helps an advisor build a team that works well together, highlighting their own strengths and bringing in others with different strengths.

“Know your audience,” Canzanella said. Some temperaments are more or less verbal, analytical, detail-oriented, etc. Some are slow to make decisions, while others are more decisive. Some are very focused, while others have a more rambling approach. Some don’t react well to hearing the word “no.”

Recognizing a client or prospect’s temperament allows an advisor to adjust their approach to suit their audience’s temperament. Does the client want to know how to build a clock or just what time it is? Misreading a prospect’s temperament can leave the person confused, unimpressed, or annoyed and end up blowing the sale.