According to the DISC profiling system, there are four main communication styles. Once you are able to identify your own communication style you are much more likely to be able to recognise other people’s.
People like people like themselves so if you aren’t tailoring your communication style to your current/prospective clients’ styles, you probably aren’t getting the best out of your interactions with them. Being a communication chameleon doesn’t mean moving away from who you are or losing your sincerity. It just means that you are presenting information to your client in a style that suits them.
Typical careers: directors, sales people,
- Make decisions quickly
- High self confidence
- Wants an overview, not concerned with details
- Impatient, time is of high value
Communicate by giving the bottom line quickly. Don’t waffle or go into too much detail, be direct. Let them know what’s in it for them.
Typical careers: hairdressers, aerobic instructors
- People people
- Use gestures when speaking
- Friends with everyone, fun and entertaining.
- Talk about themselves a lot
- Are often poor time keepers
- Are enthusiastic and want to have fun
Be fun with these people! They can find details boring and don’t always listen well. Let them chat. These people will be your cheerleaders if they like you and what you offer.
Typical careers: teachers, nurses, holistic therapists
- This personality type likes to do things ‘together’.
- Caring and empathetic
- Don’t like change
- Helpful and cooperative
Be steady with these people when delivering information, too much will overwhelm them. ‘S’ types are resistant to change so introduce changes or new suggestions slowly so they still feel secure.
Compliance / Cautious
Typical careers: accountants, auditors
- Likes detail and accuracy
- Likes facts and information
- Has high standards
This personality type likes a lot of information and facts so don’t expect them to make a decision before they have been asked all their questions (don’t take their questions as doubting your product or service). ‘C’ types like systems and to plan ahead so allow them to book in advance and not be changed around.
You will tend to have a dominant communication style although you could become more one style than another in different circumstances depending on things like how confident you are in that situation.
None of the styles are ‘better’ than the others, we need different types of personalities for the world to work! However we can easily rub others up the wrong way if we don’t communicate in the way they prefer.
If you are a C type personality who loves detail, you risk irritating a D type because they feel you are wasting their time with a load of unnecessary information or making I types bored with detail they aren’t interested in taking in.
If you are an S type you may feel stressed or offended by D type personalities who want to move quickly when you prefer a steady approach.
Find Your Style
Google “DISC personality test” to find a plethora of websites offering tests for you to determine your personality/communication type. Note that it is not an exact science! Identifying with a particular style does not mean that you will always react in a way typical to that style. However if you understand how you tend to prefer to communicate and recognise others’ styles you are likely to increase your influence over others (in a positive way).