Mastering communication success

Effectively adjusting communication styles can determine sales and leadership success

Whether conscious of it or not, we all have certain identifiable behavioral traits and corresponding communication styles that we use when dealing with people. What you must recognize is that most people you work with have a different behavior/communication style than yours. Therefore, it’s incumbent on you, the communicator, to recognize other people’s personality styles and adjust yours accordingly to effectively connect with them. 

Master salespeople and great managers have learned to mirror and compliment the people to whom they communicate simply by fine tuning their approach and style.

They shift their focus away from themselves and direct their full attention on the other person. Some people are naturally good at this but most of us must learn how to first recognize personality types, and then use a system; a formula or set of guidelines for how to adjust our own communication style for mutual understanding and more productive dialog. 

The science of determining specific communication styles among different people has been in practice a long time. A simple model known as the DiSC profile, developed by William Marston, a Harvard Ph.D., has been in use since the 1930s. 

Simply stated, DiSC is a personal assessment tool used to improve communication and teamwork. It helps users identify primary personality traits and provides guidelines on how to manage and sell to different kinds of people based on those traits. Using a tool like DiSC can make you a better communicator.

These tools are designed to help you avoid communication missteps by tuning in to the other person’s frequency, if you will. Most of the people you encounter will not necessarily like your style, so it’s incumbent upon you to adjust your signals to resonate with the other person.

Using DiSC, you will move from your own natural communication style into an adaptive style that complements or harmonizes with the other person. Following are overviews of the four primary DISC personality types along with tips on how best to communicate with each:

D (Dominant): These people are very competitive and strong-willed. They tend to be direct and decisive. They may come across as demanding and impatient but appreciate logic, honest effort and results-oriented approaches. A few communication tips: Be brief and direct; use logic and avoid emotion; stick to business and keep the focus on task; focus on key points but avoid lots of data; be results-oriented.

I (Influencer): Generally identified as being very sociable and somewhat emotional, Influencers are enthusiastic and energetic in their conversation and often good at persuasion. They enjoy spontaneity and may at times seem impulsive and talkative. A few communication tips: Allow time to socialize; keep a friendly atmosphere; let them speak; emphasize importance of people’s feelings and opinions; avoid somber, serious or grave tones; keep things light and focus on the positive; give recognition

S (Steady): A calm, patient and steady person who tends to listen carefully and relate amiably to others. Being modest and laid back, Steady people want time to consider things before making decisions. They are sincere in their opinions and tend to be trustworthy. A few communication tips: Take your time and allow for discussion; draw out their thoughts and opinions; be patient and build trust; use logic and reason; furnish needed information for decision making; involve them in strategy and planning; go step by step.

C (Conscientious, Cautious and Compliant): This group tends to be very analytical and appreciates logical, systematic approaches to addressing issues. They avoid showing emotion and give attention to the details, preferring formal, disciplined work processes. A few communication tips: Use data and facts to back up claims; consider all sides of the issues; focus on facts, not people; avoid chattiness and stay on task; explain your ideas carefully; focus on proven solutions instead of new innovations.

To further your understanding, it’s important to notice that “high D” and “high C” people tend to be more task- and goal-oriented while “high I” and “high S” individuals are more feelings-and people-oriented. 

Some folks may have concerns about adjusting their communication style for different people; they don’t want to lose their personal uniqueness. The idea is not to forego your authenticity or try to be someone you’re not, but rather to show respect to others by using a communication style that works for them. It’s really all about treating others the way they want to be treated. 

Kevin Hallenbeck, principal of Sandler Training- Manchester, Can be reached at 603-232-1520 or at

Categories: Business Advice