Communicate better (with DISC)!

communiceer beter (met Disc)!
8 min read

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In my last article, I wrote that I had quite a hard time with clients who were imposing or condescending.

Do you also have trouble to communicate with people who are dominant?

Everyone has their own communication style or -preference. In this article, I’ll show you how to identify a communication style of someone and how to respond best to it. For this, I use the DISC model.

According to the DISC model, there are 4 main styles of communication and behavior. Everyone has a natural preference to communicate and to behave. There are people who are more extrovert and there are those who are more introvert. Next, you have people who are task-oriented and others who are more people oriented.

The DISC model is based on behavioral research of ‘ healthy people ‘ and described in the book ‘Emotions of Normal People ‘ by W.M. Marston (1928).

You can use the DISC Communication model:

  • for better collaboration within a team;
  • for more effective leadership;
  • in sales;
  • job interviews;
  • at home with your partner;
  • at home with your children.

You can use it as a tool to develop yourself (or the team), for self-reflection (Also read:The benefits of Self-Reflection) in order to be more effective, more energetic and happier. (Also read: 100 ways to experience more joy & happiness).

Within the DISC model you have 4 basic communication- or behavior styles:


Dominant (D) Dominant(D)

These persons are task-oriented and show extrovert, outgoing behavior. They thrive on reaching goals, they want challenges and they like to win. An example of a person with Dominant behavior is the current president of America.

How do you deal with Dominant (D) persons?

Well, that depends on your own behavioral style, but normally, these people like to keep conversations to the point and clear. Small talk is not going to work.. They are way too impatient for that. You give these people the lead and tell them how they can achieve their goals better and faster. At the end of the conversation, you ask if he/she has heard everything (also read: 6+1 strategies to convince others).


Invloed (I) Influencer (I)

These outgoing (extrovert) people show people-oriented behavior. They have a need to motivate and convince others. They would like to be heard during a meeting. Examples of well-known influencers or inspirators “I” are the former President of America, Will Smith or Oprah Winfrey.

How to deal with someone with an influence (I) behavior style?

Well, these people are afraid to be turned down and get the blame if something goes wrong. They may not do so well in routine work or business tasks where feelings must be set aside. You can motivate these people by clearly expressing appreciation (‘ well done! ‘, ‘ thank you ‘ and ‘ great! ‘). They like to exchange ideas and stories enthusiastically. Also, they like to know how they are doing, so make sure for to give (verbal) feedback soon on an ongoing task or project.


Stabiel (S) Steadiness (S)

These persons need stability and harmony. They love to support others and take care of good relationships. They are people-oriented and introvert. Examples of well-known people who have a steady or supportive behavior style (I) are: Gandhi, mother Theresa or Michael J. Fox.

How to deal with someone with an Stable (S) behavior style?

The stable (S) person may not perform well in unclear situations without a goal. In addition, they like to avoid conflicts, aggression and ever-changing tasks. They are motivated when they get clear instructions on where to go and who is responsible for what. They love a friendly working atmosphere and an environment where loyalty is valued. Offer these persons (regularly) informal conversations in which they can express their reservations, feelings or conflicts with others.


Consciëntieus (C) Conscientious (C)

These persons have the need to do everything correctly, according to the rules and procedures. They pay attention to accuracy and the work must be consistent. They exhibit task-oriented introvert behaviour. Examples of well-known Conscientious, Competent persons are Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Kevin Costner.

How to deal with someone with an Conscientious (C) behavior style?

The people who preferably exhibit Conscientious (C) behavior do not like to receive (unjustified) criticism on their own performance and low quality standards. They avoid being sociable and don’t like to talk about private matters. So, stay formal in new situations, stick to the facts and avoid personal questions. You can motivate these people by giving them projects in which expert knowledge is required and in which clear procedures or guidelines have to be followed. They also like to be rewarded for accuracy and quality but keep it business like and leave emotions behind.

Do you recognize yourself or others in multiple behavior styles? That is possible! It is quite possible that you have a secondary behavior style that is naturally present or learned over time. The odds are great that a behavior style fits well within your core qualities (Also read: Discover the power of your character strengths).

How do you recognize a behavior or communication style?

That depends on how a person responds to you and to your questions. So listen to what he/she says and notice the pace. Someone who is extrovert, will be faster and talk louder than someone who is introvert. An introvert person will rather wait and talk monotonous.

If someone shows extrovert behavior you can recognize a Dominant (D) person if he/she focuses on goals and results. He/she will also ask many “What” questions. A person with an influence (I) behavior style can be recognized by being open and by sharing his or her feelings soon with you. In These conversations the emphasis is on “Who” questions.

You can recognize the introvert Steadiness (S) behavior by an open and unconstrained attitude. You will often hear “How” questions where stability and cooperation are important. The persons showing thoughtful and cautious (C) behavior are rather closed, formal and stick to the facts. They will not tell you about their exciting holiday experiences quickly but they will ask a lot of “Why” questions.

One starting question you can ask to find out what the communication style is of someone is:

Hey, [Freek], Do you have a minute for me? “

What communication style does somebody have (free test)?

Maybe you don’t know it yet and that’s why you can do this short free test to get insight into the natural communication style from someone in your team or in your immediate surroundings. Try to complete the test as honestly as possible (not socially desirable) and invite your team to do this test as well, so that you get to know each other’s behavioral style so that you can communicate more effectively with each other.

Do the FREE test here!

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How do you communicate best with others? Let me know in the comment box below. I look forward to read from you!

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