Your guide to communication and the DISC model

In order to progress in your career and reach all your professional goals and aspirations, it’s important to develop your communication skills in order to be able to influence others effectively. 

In this helpful guide, we’ll be taking you through our top tips on how to communicate more effectively in order to influence others covering the following topics:

  • How to adapt your behaviour to improve communication without losing your authenticity using the DISC Model
  • Managing different styles regarding decisions, support, trust, and motivation
  • How to use your knowledge of DISC to help influence your professional conversations (especially those that might be difficult to have)

Let’s start! 

How to adapt your communication style

It’s important to adapt your communication style when talking to different members of your business. When adapting your style to a different person or a group of people, there are a few behavioural characteristics that are important to bear in mind: 

  1. The variety of cultures that an individual may belong to
  2. The different ways in which the individual receives and digests information: e.g. visual, auditory, kinesthetic
  3. The body language the individual uses
  4. The type of jargon and words that the individual is using
  5. The tone of voice of the individual 

All of these things will play a part in how you communicate and how the individual in question receives your information or request.

Being able to communicate and influence well comes in handy for many things, whether you’re interviewing for a new role, asking for a promotion or a payrise, or trying to get senior buy-in for a big project or campaign you want to get off the ground.

Using the DISC model in communication 

DISC is an acronym for the four personality styles that make up the DISC model of behaviour as we know them today: Driver (D), Influencer (I), Supporter (S), and Controller (C). The DISC model is a powerful and simple tool for understanding people, and provides a common language that we can use to discuss what behaviours we share with others and what we do differently. 

DISC can help us all:

  • Learn about others
  • Learn about ourselves
  • Learn how to build more effective relationships

DISC looks at two variables within the personality axis: task-oriented vs people-oriented, and outgoing vs reserved. Each of these styles has different strengths and weaknesses that will change the way you need to communicate with an individual.

It’s important to note, there is no correct style, or a one size fits all style. Many people are a mixture of several different styles, or their style might change over time. Some of the common strengths and weaknesses of DISC can be seen below:

DISC Model

How to influence others with the DISC model

The word influence means “to affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves, or thinks”. In regards to the DISC model, the individual style of the person you are speaking with will change how you need to communicate with them.

If you can determine which category someone falls under, you can adapt the way you interact with them to increase your chances of bringing them around to your way of thinking.

In order to influence a driver, you need to:

  • Be clear, specific and to the point
  • Be prepared, logical and organised
  • Be short and concise
  • Present the big picture
  • Be straightforward
  • Provide alternatives and choices

To influence an influencer, you need to:

  • Relate and socialise
  • Plan for interaction
  • Be optimistic, provide testimonials
  • Ask about their opinion
  • Underline collaboration

To influence a supporter, you need to:

  • Give time to prepare
  • Don’t rush, break the ice
  • Show interest in them as people
  • Speak calmly
  • Ask specific questions
  • Get clarity in their objectives
  • Underline the long-term

To influence a controller, you need to:

  • Send and present an agenda upfront
  • Be straightforward and direct
  • Go into detail
  • Provide information and solid facts
  • Build credibility by weighing up pros and cons
  • Reason objectively
  • Get buy-in

Why are communication styles so important?

Understanding your own communication style and the style of those you work with can make a huge impact to your day-to-day and knowing how to influence those around us. Is the person more reserved or outgoing? How does the person you’re working with digest information best? Are they detail-orientated or big picture thinkers? Increasing our awareness around these observable behaviours and adapting our style accordingly, whilst still staying authentic to ourselves is a key skill to have. It can help influence others with ease, and enables us to be more efficient, avoid conflict, and build better relationships at work.

- Doeschka De Jong, Talent Development Partner, PageGroup

What’s next?

Developing key communication soft skills and adapting that skill in order to influence others as well as learning how to give constructive feedback are all important parts of your overall career development.

Whether you want to go for an internal promotion or start looking for a new and exciting role elsewhere, demonstrating that you have developed or are developing in these key areas will help you to stand out to top employers and establish yourself as the best candidate for the job.

If you need expert insights into the job market, or want some help figuring out your next career move, get in touch with our recruitment consultants today by submitting your CV below.

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