This is part three of a four-part series on developing your conversational skills. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out parts one and two.

Have you ever noticed how your communication style contrasts between your friends and family? You likely adapt your vocabulary, intonation, and topic choice out of respect for your relationship, like a conversational chameleon. You can take this one step further by being similarly adaptive towards the personalities of those around you, using a framework such as DISC theory. This behavioral assessment tool organizes personalities into four categories based on a person’s predominant traits. These are generalized profiles; however, they can help you infer the communication needs and priorities of others, leading to better conversations.

Dominant (D) Personality

Those with a high-D personality can seem like drill sergeants due to their decisive, task-oriented style. D-types tend to gravitate towards management, entrepreneurship, and business. They tend to be motivated by competition and success, but others may interpret their get-to-the-point attitude as being blunt or demanding. D’s can often be guarded when it comes to personal subjects. The most important thing to understand when talking to a D-type is to keep your conversation focused on a subject—don’t beat around the bush. They don’t usually need to be warmed up with idle small talk before moving into more serious discussion, so being direct and emphasizing solutions over problems can win you bonus points. Similarly, if you’re a D-type, you’ll want to take the edge off your personality and focus on being more patient and empathetic when interacting with others.

Influential (I) Personality

You can usually spot those with high-I personalities as they enjoy being the center of attention. You’ll often find I-types in sales, management, public relations, the arts, and roles that emphasize soft skills. They place high value on social recognition and status, collaboration, and their ability to influence and persuade others. An I-type’s unrivaled energy can be magnetically charming to many but irritating to some, such as those with a lot of C in their personality. If you find yourself chatting with an I-type, keep the conversation optimistic and don’t get bogged down with the finer details. Ask questions, give them space to talk, and try not to interrupt. If you’re an I-type, you’ll want to ensure you’re not dominating the conversation, chattering, or letting your mind wander while the other person speaks.

Steady (S) Personality

The high-S person is the epitomical team player and peacemaker. They prioritize stability, consistency, and cooperation, and are motivated by opportunities to help others. Professionally, S-types are geared towards teaching, social work, psychology, and other similar fields. While S-types are patient and stable, those qualities contribute to indecision. When conversing with an S-type, be amicable and avoid confrontation. This is especially important if you’re a D-type, as these high-contrasting personality types are prone to tension. S-types can be guarded with their personal matters, but open to learning more about you. If you sense this reservation, try talking about yourself candidly and emphasize your interest in their advice. If you’re an S-type, you’ll want to work on being more assertive and not overly agreeable, as these are behaviors that can affect your success in a conversation.

Conscientious (C) Personality

People with high-C personalities are tacticians. They tend to be very analytical and procedural; motivated by opportunities to acquire knowledge and produce quality work. Many C-types work in jobs related to finance, medicine, and computer science. You can win favor with a C-type through conversations in which you both can exchange information, challenge assumptions, and dive deep into the details. Focus on facts and downplay emotional language. C-types can fear criticism and being wrong, so strive for diplomacy if you find yourself in a situation in which you must correct them. If you’re a high-C, you may need to exert yourself to socialize, as this personality often comes with a lone-wolf mentality.

Having a basic understanding of personality types can help you be mindful towards the preferences of others. Being socially malleable is an excellent skill to develop for building relationships. To learn more about DISC, EXIT Associates can attend the MIND-SET Training with Angel Tucker, who specializes in personality profiling. She is a certified human behavior consultant, expert personality profiler, and best-selling author. For more information, you can visit Angel’s website or EXIT Realty’s training page.

Click here to read part four of this series, which focuses on actionable techniques to help you sustain an engaging conversation.


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