Communicating to Influence Using DISC – Part 1

This article, and the four that follow, will talk about improving communication in the workplace by knowing your DISC behavioural styles. In this discussion, we will explain what DISC is and its importance for influential communication.

In a perfect world, every co-worker, boss and staff member knows exactly how to communicate effectively to achieve the greatest result. However, in the real world everyone speaks a different language and sends ambiguous messages.

To improve communication efficiency in the workplace, many companies use DISC personality profiles. These profiles provide insights into an individual’s behavioural styles and how to best communicate with others of different styles.

communicating to influence

What is DISC?

DISC was first established by psychologist Dr. William M. Marsten in the 1900s, and since then has undergone a maturation process by different experts. DISC itself is an acronym of four different major behavioural styles – Drive, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance, which are further explained below:

  • Drive – measures how a person solves problems and responds to challenges
  • Influence – measures how a person attempts to influence or persuade others
  • Steadiness – measures the pace at which a person responds to change
  • Compliance – measures how a person responds to the rules and regulations of others

Generally speaking,  DISC is a system used to explain behaviour and personality in a way that opens the door to effective communication. While DISC style identifies the interaction of four factors, this is by no means a way to label people, as human interaction is far more complex. That said, DISC measures the needs-driven motivation portion of our personality.

Further classification also divides DISC into active and passive styles and  whether they are task or people-oriented.

Active Styles: D and I

Passive Styles: S and C

Task oriented: D and C

People oriented: I and S

Thus, the D and S are ‘opposites’, while the C and I are ‘opposites’.

Knowing your DISC behavioural styles: Why is it important?

If a person communicates to you according to your behavioural preferences, you are more likely to be open and respond positively. This also shows that the other party understands and respects you.

The same goes for the other way round. If you communicate to others according to their behavioural preferences, their guard will be lowered and they will be more attentive and open to your criticism, advice or ideas.

While the extensive DISC test needs purchasing, there are some good free DISC tests on the web which will provide an overview of your behavioural style. We recommend doing the test from this site.

Over the next four posts, we will talk about the characteristics and tips for communicating with Ds, Is, Ss, and Cs.

This article is modified from the Institute of Management training module: Communicating to Influence. For more information about the course, please visit our website and follow our Twitter