3 Keys To Changing How You Communicate

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” 

– George Bernard Shaw

Recently I went to lunch with some friends and we were talking about what we watch on YouTube. I got a great lesson in communication. After discussing SNL and The Voice, I mentioned I like to watch videos on UFOs. After the laughter died down a bit I said, “no really I do, I’m not a tinfoil hat wearer yet. But it’s all interesting.”

Everyone has their own interests, quirks, and struggles. This makes people fun to be around and challenging to communicate with. Especially if they are the tinfoil hat wearer type.

Your communication challenge may not be talking to the UFOlogist, but it could be your weird neighbor. Or it could come in the form of a challenging boss or possibly your spouse. If you can’t think of anyone, maybe you’re the one that is difficult to communicate with. No matter who you find it difficult to communicate with, discovering your Disc Style and that of others will change the way you communicate.

Use A Disc Assessment To Change How You Communicate

After giving Disc Debriefs to staff at my workplace, I’ve heard some great feedback. These comments highlight how effective using Disc can be.

“So that’s why he’s always optimistic.”

“No wonder she cares about the details so much.”

“People always come to me for advice, now I know why!”

“Okay, I get it, I have to be more direct with him.”

I love these aha moments during Disc Assessment debriefs. After completing over 100 debriefs, I can say from personal experience, the tool is extremely accurate. But so what? How can it help you? There are three key ways a Disc Assessment will change the way you communicate.

Key 1: Start By Learning About Yourself

Changing and improving the way you communicate begins with understanding yourself. Disc gives you a clear picture of your behavior or style. It helps you to understand four key pieces of your personality. Which are:

  • How you respond to problems.
  • How you interact with people.
  • How you react to change.
  • How you make decisions.

Great communicators know they must have a deep understanding of themselves to truly communicate well. These simple insights will help you to do just that. But there are two more key ways a Disc Assessment can help you become a great communicator. The next is understanding others and why they behave the way they do.

Key 2: Understand Other People’s Communication Styles

Changing and improving the way you communicate requires a deeper understanding of others. This became painfully obvious during a debrief I was doing. Since this stuff is so fascinating to me and I am primarily an influencing style I tend to get very excited and talk quickly about Disc. Interestingly, as you’ll see below, not everyone communicates with this quick and direct of style.

So when one of the employees let me know I was speaking too fast and they needed to process the info a little longer, I had a live example of the need to understand others to improve my communication!

Here’s how Disc breaks down people’s “Styles” of communication and their behavior.

  • Dominance – this is the direct and results-oriented person. They are fast paced and direct but can get frustrated by indirect or slower paced people.
  • Influence – this is the persuasive, story-telling, people-person. They are also energetic and optimistic but details and follow-through are not their strongest trait.
  • Steady – this is the safety conscious, collaborating, and accommodating person. They are helpers and great listeners too making them slower and less direct.
  • Conscientious – this is the fact-finding, policy making, and procedure following person. They are meticulous and great with details but slower and less direct.

This is where Disc becomes very practical as a tool for better communication. You begin to see that not only do you fit a style above, everyone can be plugged into these styles in some way or another.

Where does your best friend fit? How about your boss?

Key 3: Great Communication Requires Adaption

I don’t know about you, but it blew my mind to realize everyone is one of the 4 styles or a simple combo of them. This helped me to see how my communication was missing the mark. When I bore an influencer with a bunch of fact-finding details, I’m not communicating with them. But I would be if I communicated this way with a conscientious style. This is where Disc becomes the superhero of communication.

Dr. Tony Alessandra coined a phrase that has helped me understand the value of Disc. “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Dr. Alessandra calls this the Platinum Rule. A little bit different than the Golden Rule, but it makes a lot of sense for this context and helps drive home the importance of adapting.

Understanding the importance of adapting and learning how to adapt is the third key to improving your communication. Disc teaches you to look for eight things when you adapt to someone.

  • Look to see if the person is direct or indirect in their body language and other communications.
  • Look for the speed in which the person presents themselves and communicates. In general, is their communication and pace fast or slow?
  • When observing this person do they present themselves in a guarded way or an open way?
  • Look to see if they approach projects and work from a more task oriented or people oriented perspective.

When you have the answers to these questions you can quickly determine how to adapt to the person. Adapt by simply mirroring their style. If they are direct, be direct. If they are slow in their communication and style, reflect this back in your communication. For the guarded or open person and for the task oriented or people oriented person, mirroring works as well.

The 3 Ways To Improve Your Communication

Disc helps you to improve communication by starting with understanding yourself. The second, giving you insight into how the basics of people’s styles all remain the same. Lastly, Disc helps you to take your understanding of yourself and others and then adapt your behaviors to connect well with others.

Next week we’ll dive deeper into Disc. We’ll learn how to quickly spot other people’s styles and then adjust our behavior to better connect and communicate.

Interested in taking a Disc Assessment? Learn more here.