Success in our business relationships is determined to a great extent by how well we communicate…Our ability to effectively engage, influence and motivate people is a critical skill.
“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” – Brian Tracy
You have probably noticed that it is very easy to get along with certain people. You almost instantly and effortlessly understand the other person and the communication just flows. It is a lot more than just a mutual understanding of what is being said…it is as if the person sees you and the rest of the world in very similar terms.
However, a lot of people-interactions take more effort and they do not flow as easily. You cannot quite understand where the other person is coming from, what they really want, and what their intentions are. You may also have an uncomfortable feeling that the other person is experiencing the same thing. You are likely to feel disappointed, frustrated and even tired. It takes energy, effort and concentration to communicate.
Introducing the DISC model of human behaviour
The DISC model is based on the concept that there are four individual factors relating to human behaviour:
The horizontal axis measures the relationship between Reserved-pace (Introversion) and Active-pace (Extroversion).
The vertical axis measures the relationship between Task-orientation (Thinking) and People-orientation (Feeling).
If someone is task-oriented and active-paced, we call them a D-style (Dominance).
If someone is people-oriented and active-paced, we call them an I-style (Influence).
If someone is people-oriented and reserved-paced, we call them an S-style (Steadiness).
If someone is task-oriented and reserved-paced, we call them a C-style (Compliance).
Remember, we each have all of these behavioural styles in us to varying degrees. One happens to be our most comfortable style, another least comfortable, with the other two falling somewhere in between.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH A D-STYLE
The D-style is the most aggressive and assertive of the four styles. D-styles tend to be quite competitive and results-oriented. As a result, you may identify D-styles as being quite aggressive, blunt and even rude. Under pressure they can appear to have a lack of concern for others. They do not want to lose control. D-styles want to be in charge and have the power.
Top tips for communicating with a D-style:
- Be direct
- Give immediate feedback
- Concentrate on the subject
- Act quickly
- Provide alternatives
- Provide too much information
- Talk too much
- Lose focus
- Take issues personally
- Slow down
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH AN I-STYLE
I-styles are outgoing, social, and talkative, and like to be the centre of attention. They like to interact with others and meet new people. They do not like to focus on details, or spend a lot of time by themselves. Others tend to perceive I-styles as very friendly, enthusiastic and animated.
Top tips for communicating with an I-style:
- Maintain a positive atmosphere
- Take time to chat
- Be more enthusiastic
- Focus on people aspects
- Focus on the ‘big picture’
- Talk about too many details
- Fail to socialise
- Bring up negative issues
- Be too practical
- Set too many restrictions
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH AN S-STYLE
S-styles are steady, calm and laid back. While they do like interaction with other people, they are more reserved and less animated than I-styles. S-styles prefer things to remain the same because changes and surprises threaten their sense of security. Family and friends tend to be very important to S-styles. They often defend their own group or team almost emotionally; fairness and justice are very important to S-styles.
Top tips for communicating with an S-style:
- Proceed in a logical order
- Ask questions to find out the true needs
- Provide support
- Give precedents to reduce uncertainty
- Remember fairness
- Make unexpected changes
- Forget to provide enough information
- Move too fast
- Be impatient
- Be unreliable
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH A C-STYLE
C-styles are the most analytical of the four behavioural styles. C-styles can be very detail oriented, focusing on facts, information and proofs. They are comfortable working alone and are the most reserved of the four styles. C-styles are logical and methodical in their approach.
Top tips for communicating with a C-style:
- Listen carefully
- Answer questions calmly and carefully
- Be thorough and include all details
- Slow down
- Focus on the key issues
- Move too fast
- Spend too much time on small talk
- Expect decisions right away
- Lose patience in providing the correct information
Are you ready to give it a go?
You can adjust your communication style when speaking with someone on the phone or face-to-face and even when writing an email…Give it a go and start working on this critical business skill.