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The best negotiators always start negotiation by negotiating with themselves. This means understanding whether the self-talk in your mind develops your confidence and your sense of self-worth or undermines you. It also means getting to know your own communication and behavioral style, which has a lot to do with how you think and react under pressure. One of the communication tools that will help you better understand yourself and how others communicate with you is called DISC.

If you haven’t heard of DISC, it’s time to become familiar with it. If you have heard it, it’s time for a deeper dive. This will be painless, I promise.

Start by mentally filling in the blanks below, associating each sentence with people you know.

Profile #1

“I’m a self-starter and a born risk-taker. I love solving problems. People say I have a healthy ego. I am direct in my dealings with you. I live to make decisions. My secret fear is that someone will take advantage of me.”

A colleague who fits this description is __________________________.

A prospect or client who fits this description is __________________________.

Profile #2

“I’m extremely enthusiastic, talkative, and persuasive. I draw energy from groups and thrive in social situations. I motivate others to achieve at a high level. I am usually optimistic. People sometimes say I’m too emotional. At my best, I’m downright inspirational. My secret fear is rejection.”

A colleague who fits this description is __________________________.

A prospect or client who fits this description is __________________________.

Profile #3

“I’m a great listener, loyal to the end, and eager to understand you. Some people call me the ultimate team player. Relationships mean a lot to me, and I don’t like to let an ally down. I’m a peacekeeper. I’m reliable and dependable. My biggest fear is a loss of security.”

A colleague who fits this description is __________________________.

A prospect or client who fits this description is __________________________.

Profile #4

“I have high standards. I work systematically. I’m precise. I find out the facts. I’m cautious, careful, and conscientious. I’m rigorously analytical. It’s extremely important to me to be accurate and well-organized. My secret fear is being forced to choose between quality and relationships because I will lean toward quality.”

A colleague who fits this description is __________________________.

A prospect or client who fits this description is __________________________.

And now for the big question. How would you complete this sentence:

“The profile that most closely describes me is…”

Which is it? #1, #2, #3, or #4?

 

 

 People you aligned with Profile #1 are likely Dominants.

 People you aligned with Profile #2 are likely Influencers.

 People you aligned with Profile #3 are likely Steady Relators.

 People you aligned with Profile #4 are likely Compliants.

Which style did you identify as your own? If you’re like most of the people we work with, one profile jumped out at you as instinctive, as natural, as “normal.” In reality, there is no normal, but there are means of communicating, behaving, and interacting that feel intuitive to us. Which of the four styles felt most intuitive to you?

As you read through these descriptions of the four DISC behavioral styles, confirm whether your initial guess about your own style matches up with the summaries.

A Dominant is:

  • Aggressive.
  • Blunt.
  • Bottom-line oriented.
  • Results oriented.
  • Impatient.
  • Easily irritated.
  • Demanding.
  • Competitive.
  • Fond of change.
  • Goal oriented.

An Influencer is:

  • Talkative.
  • Animated.
  • Easily excited.
  • Open and friendly.
  • Unorganized.
  • Known for a short attention span.
  • Constantly jumping from subject to subject.
  • A collaborative decision maker.
  • Positive.

A Steady Relator is:

  • Easygoing.
  • Calm.
  • A careful listener.
  • Thoughtful.
  • Someone who needs time to process information.
  • Someone who asks questions.
  • Opinionated, but does not express opinions openly.
  • Resistant to change.
  • Resistant to risk.
  • Attracted to mutually fair solutions.

A Compliant is:

  • Facts-oriented. 
  • An analyzer.
  • Fond of rules.
  • Responsive to instruction. 
  • Quiet.
  • Someone who asks many questions.
  • Reserved and timid.
  • A researcher.
  • An examiner of specifics.
  • Resistant to personal criticism.

So—which one of the four styles feels most like you? Have you got a clear sense of that now?

Each of the four behavioral styles is like a language unto itself. The more languages you speak and the more fluently you speak them, the more effective your interactions with others will be and the more success you will have as a negotiator.

Think of it this way: Most people only speak one DISC language—their own. They tell themselves that they simply “don’t connect” or “can’t connect” with certain types of people. When people buy into that kind of negative self-talk, they are likely to interact imperfectly and inefficiently with roughly 75% of the population.

How much more could they accomplish – in their negotiations and in all the other areas of their life – if they spoke all four of the DISC languages?

Check out this podcast to learn more about the DISC framework.   

 

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