Change Your Communication With These 8 Keywords

Next time you have a conversation with a friend try communicating using these 8 behaviors as your tool. When you find yourself having a hard time connecting with someone, lean into these 8 behaviors. The insights that this approach to communication brings is nothing short of amazing. But before we look at these powerful words, let’s do a brief review of what we know about Disc.

In the previous articles on Disc, we discover there are four different “styles” people use to communicate. Each of us displays all four styles in varying degrees of intensity. As a recap, the four styles are Dominance, Influence, Steady, and Conscientious. Each of these styles brings specific behavioral attributes to the table. 

Today, I want to give you a gift. The gift of changing the way you have your day to day conversations. The gift of better communication and connection.

Real Connection and Communication Starts With Observation

James Thurber, an American cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, and playwright has a powerful quote about communication. James Thurber died in 1961, yet this quote may be even more fitting today. He says, “precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair-trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”

So if we agree with Mr. Thurber, it would do us well to take care when we communicate. And if real connection and communication begin with observation, where do we start? We start be looking for these 8 behaviors so we can adapt and mirror the person. Serving as the catalyst for greater connection and communication.

As you look at each of the next four sections, begin by thinking about a recent difficult conversation you had with someone. See if you can discover how each of you communicated and if maybe one of you missed the mark.

Openness vs. Guarded

Change how you observe by first looking how open or guarded the person is. An open person will display a significant amount of emotions and feelings. While a guarded person will display calmness, control, and analysis. Neither approach is better or worse, it is a matter of preference. With this as your starting point, next, ask yourself how direct they are in their communication.

Direct vs. Indirect

Now that you’ve observed how open someone is, you can look for how direct they are. What you’re looking for is how much control or force a person attempts to exercise over situations or others’ thoughts and emotions. Versus how submissive, compliant, and indecisive they are. From here we are already in a much better place for connecting and communicating, but we can take it to the next level with two more ideas. Pace and priority.

Fast vs. Slow

So far we have the concepts of openness and directness. With fast versus slow, we are talking about pace. In a nutshell, this is a person’s natural rate of speed. When you look for pace or speed, you are looking for the rate of tasks being accomplished, the rate of speech and gestures, and even pace of walking. Look for patterns in their communication to help you determine where they are on the fast to slow spectrum.

Relationship Oriented vs. Task Oriented

In this last comparison, we are determining what a person sees as most important toward accomplishing a goal. Look for a preference for relationship versus tasks. In other words, does the individual accomplish most of their work in a collaborative or people friendly way? This would look like enlisting the help of others whenever possible. Or do they lean more toward accomplishing goals through their own abilities and tools available to them?

How To Discover The 8 Behaviors

When you meet someone new or are connecting with an old friend, you can always improve your communication. Start by asking this series of questions.

  • When communicating with this person do they present themselves in a guarded or an open way?
  • Is the person you are connecting with direct or indirect in their body language and other communications?
  • In general, is their communication and pace fast or slow?
  • Last, when you observe the way this person approaches projects and work are they more task oriented or people oriented?

Once you’ve answered the above four questions. You can place them on the graph below and get a good picture of what their type is and therefore, what their general behaviors will look like. Look for the table in the 4 Styles article.

The beauty of this tool is how simple it is to use. Once you discover the answers to the questions above, you can then connect at a deeper and better level. You do this by mirroring the person’s directness, openness, pace, and priority. This is done to the best of your ability in the most genuine way possible. When you do this, people will experience a connection with you that they rarely do with others.

As a recap, the 8 behaviors you are looking to observe are openness or guarded, directness or indirectness, fast communication or slower communication, and task orientation or people orientation.

Give It A Try

Think about that recent conversation again. Run through the 8 behaviors again and go through the four questions. Do you know where the person lands on the quadrants above? What about your style, where do you land? If you’re curious, I’m an I-Style with some D-Style as well.

After you practice this by reflecting on conversations, give it a shot during a live conversation. See if you can begin to mirror their pace or directness. Maybe you could mirror the person’s openness. After you give it a try, share your experiences in the comments below.