Great communicators make more money, get more done, and have higher rates of satisfaction in their relationships. However, everyone has a natural communication style based on their innate gifts and personality.
One of my favorite personality assessments is the DiSC profile. I love DiSC because it focuses so much on how you communicate with others. I believe everyone can benefit from knowing their DiSC communication style, so here I’ll give an overview of the DiSC profile and how you can use it to communicate better.
An Overview of DiSC Communication Style
The philosophy behind the DiSC profile is similar to the Greek philosophy of the four humors. This philosophy, developed by the ancient physician Hippocrates, taught that there were essentially four kinds of personalities. Carl Jung, the father of modern psychology, also believed that four factors determine a person’s nature.
The DiSC profile teaches the same thing. The word DiSC is an acronym for the four basic personality types:
- D – Dominance (The Dominators)
- i – Influence (The Influencers)
- S – Steadiness (The Stabilizers)
- C – Conscientiousness (The Contemplators)
Dominance types are the most direct and results-driven. Influence types are the most extraverted and conversational. Steadiness types are the most agreeable and understanding, and Conscientious types are the most analytical and careful. Each personality type has its strengths, weaknesses, and preferences that will strongly determine the way you think and how you interact with other people.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Communication Style
Growth and immaturity for each type will look very different. It’s important that you identify which DiSC communication style fits you the most, because it will tell you a lot about how you’re coming across to other people and the mindset you’ll need to adopt to improve as a communicator.
At their best, Dominators are bold and decisive. They can take charge and inspire confidence in the people around them. Dominators are often very pragmatic and objective, and they appreciate concise communication. They’re the least likely to waste words, and they will speak their mind plainly.
However, D personalities are also the most likely to steamroll people. At worst, the DiSC communication style can come across as abrasive and disagreeable, and Dominators can come across as confrontational even when they aren’t trying to be. Furthermore, they can fall into an overly black-and-white mentality and try to be “right”.
D’s grow when they stop talking to win and start dialoguing to understand and empathize. When dominators stop assuming they know everything and become curious about other perspectives, they are very dynamic leaders. The key is that it has to be their real attitude. Dominators who don’t change their mindset will only come across as disingenuous.
- Listens first and speaks last
- No Assumptions
- Asks questions in order to learn
- Speaks first, talks over people
- Asks questions to make a point
Influencers are generally very positive and energetic people. If you’re an Influencer, you’re probably naturally persuasive and engaging. The issue with influencers is that they’re prone to talking too much. Not only do they tend to talk over people, but they also can ramble. Their energy can be too much for some people, and this is especially true for Contemplators.
Influencers grow as communicators simply by cutting their talking in half. When they do talk, they should slow their speech down to be as soothing and relaxing as possible. When Influencers add these traits to their DiSC communication style, their natural warmth and positivity takes on a broader appeal.
- Listens more than talks
- Talks slowly and in a soothing tone
- Unwavering eye contact
- Asks questions and then shuts up
- Wastes words
- Takes too long to make a point
- Distracted visually
- Talks too fast and too loudly
People with high steadiness bring the warmth of the Influencers with calmer presentation. They’re primarily concerned with other people’s comfort. Therefore, a Stabilizer’s DiSC communication style will focus on courtesy and establishing trust.
Where Stabilizers struggle is where Dominators excel – bluntness. Stabilizers can beat around the bush or simply refuse to speak their mind rather than risk offending anyone. This can be problematic for a couple of reasons. First, they can actually come across as disingenuous and untrustworthy, which is the exact opposite of what they want. Second, they can become resentful if they keep too much to themselves and fall into passive aggression.
When Stabilizers boldly tell the truth without fear of rejection or controversy, their communication skyrockets. Combined with their compassion and agreeableness, a transparent Stabilizer is a powerful messenger.
- Passive Aggressive
High C people are the most detail-oriented and analysis-driven. Like Dominators, they prize objectivity, but they are more meticulous and observant by nature. The prize logic and structure in equal measure, and they seek data to drive their decisions.
Contemplators are the most likely to get bogged down in the details. They can become so determined to get all the information that they forget why they need it and whether or not it’s relevant. Moreover, they can forget the fact that human beings (themselves included) are primarily emotional creatures seeking emotional connection. Because of this, they can come across as cold, inflexible, and critical.
The Contemplator’s DiSC communication style becomes most effective when they use information to supplement a message rather than make their entire message information. They become persuasive when they accept that not every conversation is about logic, but about connecting. By becoming just as curious about people as they are about things, Contemplators exude thoughtfulness and precision.