Do you find it hard to connect with people you’ve just met? See if any (or all!) of these 4 scenarios sound familiar:
- Maybe you’re being asked very direct questions you believe ride the line of being too personal for a first meeting.
- Or how about if your conversation partner just keeps talking and never seems to take a breath and give you space to contribute.
- Or maybe the questions you ask just seem to fall flat and the other person seems to withdraw.
- Or maybe someone is asking very complex questions and you can’t process them quickly enough to form a coherent response.
Ever been there? The above examples should actually have different letters assigned to them. They refer to the communication preferences of one of the 4 primary DISC styles. Can you figure out which person is Decisive, Interactive, Stabilizing, and Cautious?
Some DISC reports use different terminology to describe each column. You may have heard these terms used: Dominant, Influencing, Submissive, Compliant. That was the language used back in the 1920’s when the DISC model was created. Times have changed and we prefer to apply words that don’t feel quite so negative.
Let’s look at the basic characteristics of each style and see if we can assign the correct DISC style to the scenario.
Decisive (Dominant) Style Characteristics
A person with their DISC preference primarily in the D category can be described as demanding, driving, and forceful. They may come across as authoritative and appear confident, and if you give them an opening, they’ll take charge of the conversation. They prefer a quick pace and you can hear that in their speech pattern if you listen. High D individuals tend to be results-driven and may exhibit impatience with excessive details or lengthy discussions.
When first meeting a higher D watch out for those direct questions delivered at a quick pace. No question is too personal since a high D wants to get to the heart of an issue FAST.
That said, in the list above we can change the A to a D.
How To Communicate With A High D
Since a high D prefers a quick pace, be prepared to answer their quite direct questions with short to-the-point answers. And you’d better be prepared to tack a question for them on the heels of your reply. If you don’t, they’ll surely be ready to ask another question of you. They are not shy about taking control and dominating the chat.
Interactive (Influencing) Style Characteristics
Those with a high I on the DISC scale come off as gregarious, persuasive, and inspiring. They enjoy sharing stories, anecdotes, and personal experiences to captivate their audience. Their communication style tends to be enthusiastic, expressive, and filled with gestures and body language to convey their message effectively. Higher I’s love to share their own ideas, but might need to work on listening as passionately as they share.
If you’re interacting with a high I for the first time, look for expressive body language and passionate verbal delivery.
Think we’ve described B in the above list? Let’s change that to an I.
How To Communicate With A High I
When in a conversation with a high I plan some extra time for talking, relating, and socializing. They have a trusting nature and will open up to strangers very quickly. They’re not afraid to share intimate details early on in a relationship so be prepared for them to get personal. In order to develop a connection with them try to get comfortable opening up and sharing a bit about yourself.
Stabilizing (Submissive) Style Characteristics
People who have high scores in the S column of the DISC report can best be described as steady, reliable, and patient. They prefer a warm and friendly style of communication and value the time to create a relationship with someone new. They prefer a calm and relaxed tone and avoiding confrontational or aggressive communication styles is important to them. Push too hard too quickly and there’s a potential that they’ll clam up, shut down, or withdraw. They often communicate their ideas subtly, choosing to listen and understand before expressing their own views.
Does it sound like you may have pushed a high S too quickly in Scenario C above?
How To Communicate With A High S
Maintaining a warm and friendly tone and questioning technique is important if you want to keep a higher S individual from shutting down. Avoid being rude, abrupt, or too fast-paced in your delivery. Soften your approach and provide some time to break the ice. Be cooperative and collaborative and you’ll create the foundation of a strong relationship which is all-important to your higher S friends.
Cautious (Compliant) Style Characteristics
3 words to describe someone higher on the DISC’s C are cautious, perfectionistic, and systematic. Since they have a logical approach to life, be prepared for factual, to-the-point questions from them. They crave details and want to gather as much information as they possibly can so they can form and communicate a precise opinion. They tend to be attentive listeners, appreciating the opportunity to process information before formulating a response.
Complex questions are a high C’s speciality, so we should turn the D above into a C.
How To Communicate With a High C
Someone with a higher C believes logic is the correct, possibly the only, path toward understanding. In light of this it’s important you are willing and able to support your opinions with facts. Slow your pace to allow them time to process before they are expected to respond. Be well-prepared, precise, and patient, giving them space to digest and analyze information.
Now that you know a little more about how people’s DISC styles can impact how they communicate, let’s review our 4 scenarios and match them with their appropriate DISC category:
- D: Maybe you’re being asked very direct questions you find ride the line of being too personal for a first meeting.
- I: Or how about if your conversation partner just keeps talking and never seems to take a breath and give you space to contribute.
- S: Or maybe the questions you ask just seem to fall flat and the other person seems to withdraw.
- C: Or maybe someone is asking very complex questions and you can’t process them quickly enough to form a coherent response.
Use the tips above to help you develop a deeper connection on their terms, not just your own.