Take the time to identify and adapt your style to others

Wonder Woman, Lie Detectors and More!

William Moulton Marsten, a psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard is a fascinating figure.

Some know him as the creator of Wonder Woman.

Some know him as the inventor of the polygraph, commonly known as a lie detector test.

Still others know him as the person who put forth the behavioral model now known as the DiSC model.

Last week, we spoke about the importance of adjusting your language to improve your communication with others.  But in order to adjust your language, you must first know your preferred style and then learn to identify the preferred style of others.

One model of classifying behavior is known as the DiSC model.  Dr. Marsten originally proposed the behavioral concepts that underlie the model in his 1928 book, Emotions of Normal People.  It has been revised many times over the years by others.  The most popular form is “Everything DiSC” which is owned by John Wiley & Sons.

The model focuses on four behavioral traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.

Here’s a simple test to demonstrate the fundamentals:

  • Are you generally fast-paced and action oriented (1) or slow and deliberate (2)?
  • Are you generally skeptical (3) or trusting (5)?

Add the numbers after your answers:

  • A total of 4 means Dominance
  • A total of 6 means Influence
  • A total of 7 means Steadiness
  • A total of 5 means Conscientiousness

Let’s put this into everyday terms.  If you are stuck in a long line at the DMV, do you:

  • Feel frustrated and look for shortcut to get done quicker (Dominance)
  • Chat with the other people near you (Influence)
  • Patiently wait your turn (Steadiness)
  • Look for a more efficient way to run the location (Conscientiousness)

There are more comprehensive systems such as Everything DiSC that use a comprehensive approach to help determine your style in a much more nuanced way.  But this gets us started.

Think about someone you know.  This is could be client, spouse, or friend.  Which category best describes that person?  How does your style mesh with theirs?

For example, if you are naturally deliberate, how does that come across to someone much more fast-paced?  More importantly, do you speed up and eliminate some of the details or do you push through to make sure your point is made?

By taking the time to identify and adapt your style to others, you’ll find that your conversations with clients and prospective clients are more meaningful and more effective.  And your clients and prospective clients will feel that you truly understand them.

PS: If you want to learn more about understanding your own style, send me an email with the subject line “DiSC.”

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