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DiSC Scenario Follow-Up

I have been receiving a slue of emails at my in response to my 10/20/2014 “Connecting with DiSC Scenario” blog.   Most of my responders were young professionals.  I read each email thoroughly and discovered a common theme of people wanting to know how they could adopt the Marston’s DiSC model into their every day life.

First, you need to understand where YOUR personalities lies within the DiSC model.  Are you a result-driven, bottom line High D, perhaps with a low i side to your personality that is good at persuading others and enjoys building relationships.  Maybe you’re a High S who places emphasis on cooperation and dependability with a low C side that is slightly obsessed with accuracy and enjoys getting down to the nitty-gritty details of a project or game plan.  Whoever you are, thoroughly understanding those dimensions within your self are critical to the continuous learning process of how to effectively connect with others.

The second step would be to observe your current circle of friends or co-workers and identify where 4 or 5 of them exist within the quadrants of Dr. Marston’s DiSC model.  Once you identified these roles spend some time examining the daily interactions between these 4 or 5 chosen individuals.  Are they able to effectively communicate with one another?  Are they connecting in a positive and productive manner?

Next, how does your personality style fit among these 4 or 5 chosen individuals?  Is the message you’re attempting to send a clearly received message to your audience ?  Or is there confusion or perhaps errors in how these messages are received?  This is commonly referred to as “noise.”  If so, how could you revise your message in a way that it is communicated from their point of view?

Speaking from the listener’s point of view is the most important yet most commonly neglected component in effective communication.  This helps to reduce and hopefully eliminate the “noise” confusion between the sender and the receiver.  Mastering this skill will help you to connect better with most everyone you encounter.


Connecting with DiSC Scenario

Instead of regurgitating a breakdown of each of the 4 DiSC personalities, I thought there would be more practical value in bringing these personalities to life through storytelling.

Picture the following scenario: a departure gate at a smaller non-international airport and the flight to NYC /JFK airport is 1 hour delayed due to a maintenance issue with your plane. (For the purpose of elucidating DiSC’s four main personality types we will only acknowledge 4 individuals at the scene):

Individual # 1 is Denny.  This flight is Denny’s connecting flight into Berlin, Germany for a long-awaited 2 week adventure vacation touring Germany which will end with Oktoberfest in Munich.

Individual # 2 is Isabella.  Isabella is the airport service employee stationed at the gate and responsible for getting all travelers onto this plane to New York.

Individual # 3 is Steve.  Steve is on his way to NYC for a short trip to see a childhood friend who is losing her battle with cancer.

Individual #4 is Caroline.  Caroline is traveling to NYC to conduct an important training seminar for her company.

Denny is our D personality in the DiSC model. As a D, his personality is confident and blunt, he wants bottom-line results and to the point information, he primarily sees the big picture.

Isabella is our I personality. I’s are outgoing, people-oriented, they love having fun and creating and exciting and positive environment.

Sam is our S. S’s are reserved, calm and cooperative but also people-oriented and exhibit behaviors ore being supportive and fostering a steady environment.

Caroline is our C. C’s pride themselves with accuracy, they are afraid of being wrong, objective reasoning and comprehending details are a strength. They enjoy their independence.

Now … back to our scenario.  After the first hour goes by, Denny is really starting to get extremely nervous. He knows he has a 2 hour delay in NYC before he needs to catch his flight to Berlin. If this flight he’s currently waiting for is delayed more than another half hour he risks missing his connecting flight to Berlin depending on how close he is to his departure gate once they land at JFK in NYC. Isabella the airport employee can see that Denny is getting impatient. Isabella is certified in DiSC and uses this knowledge when she approaches him to size up the scene. As she talks to Denny she is picking up signals of his D personality. By nature, Isabella is a positive person and usually likes to keep things upbeat. However, she knows if she responds to Denny’s concerns in this manner her personality style is only going to upset the situation more. Denny, being a D, needs to know what the bottom line is on a realistic time for this “maintenance issue” to be resolved. He wants the big picture explained so Isabella is able to tell him where his flight will be landing at JFK and that it’s a quick walk to his connecting gate, which fortunately is in the same concourse in which he will land. By Isabella appealing to Denny’s D personality, she is able to ease his anxiety.

A few seats away, Caroline is beginning to get upset.  She is not a fan of travelling because she seems to always encounter flight delays on business travel. This causes her to have to rush to wherever her company needs her to be once she arrives at her destination. Sitting next to her is Sam. Sam is not worried about a 1 hour delay at this point. He realizes once he gets to NYC he will only have 2 day to visit with his friend who has cancer, however, he also understands he’s at the mercy of the airline and there’s really nothing he can do to speed up the process of boarding this flight to NYC. Sam turns to Caroline, who although she’s keeping her opinion to herself, it’s quite obvious that she is upset. Although Sam is not certified or has ever heard of DiSC, it’s in his S-nature to remain calm and take measure to diffuse any situations that are at risk of becoming incensed.  Sam leans over to Caroline and asks: “Is NYC your final destination?”

Carolline is not really in the mood to talk to anyone but she chooses to be polite and respond by explaining that she’s traveling there on business.  Sam then asks if this will be Caroline’s first time in NYC and Caroline nods and says “yes.”

Sam is unaware that his S nature of remaining calm and interest in meeting new people is actually helping to distract Caroline from her nervous frustration.  Sam is also unaware that his excitement to provide Caroline with sight-seeing and restaurant suggestions is actually helping the situation even more.  Especially since Sam is willing to provide the subway and walking directions to each of these places (remember, Caroline is a C and likes details).

Twenty minutes later the plane’s maintenance issues are resolved and Isabella declares the great news over the intercom.

The world is a beehive of different personalities, but Marston’s DiSC model simplifies them into 4 general categories.  Understanding where your personality exists along with how you respond when encountering personalities different from your own will allow you to connect better with the human race.

Publishing, Uncategorized

The First Step in Connecting with Others

I believe the first step in becoming a master at connecting with others is having a clear and deep understanding of yourself.   Today’s world makes it difficult for people to have self-confidence.  This is particularly true for teenagers who are more sensitive than most adults.  Sources of low self-confidence stem from many directions such as how you were raised as a child, classmates in school, social media, advertising, television, movies, magazines, etc.  We tend to place a great deal of pressure on ourselves to live up to what we perceive or others tell us is a desirable self-standard. Self-awareness can be achieved through a variety of activities such as spending time alone meditating or taking a walk allowing your mind to process a day or previous week’s activities. Consciously reflecting on you unconscious principles (your specific attributes) allowing no one else but you to form an opinion is a good practice to develop as a way to gain better self-awareness.
Gaining this awareness is not an overnight process. It can take years, even decades but the more you do it is rewarding and will be recognized by others as you connect with them. Tip: There may be moments when you get stuck and are unable to help yourself form an opinion or are not satisfied with the opinion you’ve helped yourself to form. In that case carefully select someone (not necessarily someone you’re close with) to engage into this discussion to help you out of your rut. Make sense? Hope this helps!


Connecting with the Rude & Anti-Social

I’d like to follow up on my 9/13 blog entitled: “Tips On Connecting with People Outside of Your Comfort Zone” and share some tips on connecting with a style of individuals that I refer to as “the toughies” – people who are rude and anti-social.

My career places in me front of clients and strangers all day long.  Once in a while, there’s a client or stranger who’s a real tough nut to crack (“toughies“) in terms of connecting.  Recently, a gentleman came into my store with his wife and a grim look on his face.  He had an issue and needed it fixed right away.  He was not interested in having any sort of conversation beyond getting his need satisfied.  Still, my goal was to break this thick wall of ice between us.  In order to do so, I had to look beyond his rude and unsocial personality to find the potential to make a positive and impressionable connection.

Long story short, we ended up having a series of laughs and a warm handshake and a smile when it was all said and done and get this – before leaving my office he requested one of my business cards himself.  It was such a positive experience that I wanted to share a couple of tips with you all as to what I did to help make this happen.

The trick is to focus 100% on the person.  This means don’t ask a question unless it 100% directly relates to the person standing in front of you.  Remember, people love hearing their name and they love talking about themselves, their accomplishments and their interests.  This gives you the opportunity to leverage favorable attention (see previous blogs) by utilizing their answers to pay them a compliment.   Here are some examples of questions that are solely directed at learning about a specific person:  “You look familiar.”   “I don’t think we’ve met before, have we?”   “If you don’t mind me asking, are you originally from (City Name)?”  Although it would be acceptable to ask:  “Do you live close to here?”  Depending on their age: “What do you do for a living?”  “Are you retired?”  “Where did you retire from?”  “Are you a student?”  “Where did you graduate from?”  “What do you do for a living?”

NOTE 1:  Make Eye Contact when asking them a question.

NOTE 2:  In the event that this rude person’s spouse is there with them, your questions should focus on both of them.

NOTE 3:  DON’T ask indirectly related questions:  “Do you have children?”  This is actually a mistake because although a parent’s offspring is important to them, it’s indirectly related to them as an individual.  Another example is the common ‘get to know you question’ of:  “So tell me about yourself?”  That is just too broad and will upset these people who aren’t in the mood to chat.  Make sense?

Like with any conversation, ask one question and then wait for a response.  Even if your rude or anti-social individual responds with “I don’t have time for chit-chat” don’t let that discourage your endeavor to make a connection.  Proceed by acknowledging their desire to stay focused on their issue or need or whatever the situation and then, as you continue to work on solving their problem, ALSO continue to find ways to connect (polite persistent) but be careful not to barrage them with more than a few attempts.  Please make sure you preface each attempt to connect by re-acknowledging their objection to connect with something like: “I know you’re in a hurry and I’m doing everything I can to help make that happen, however, I’m curious about something if you don’t mind my asking …”

In the long run, it’s critical that this rude or anti-social person(s) walks away with the general impression that you are trying to get to know them.  They need to feel that you really care about getting to know them.  Eventually, they may feel like a jerk for being so rude to you and that feeling could work in your favor the next time you encounter them.  Overall, you never want these individuals to walk away feeling like they’ve controlled the conversation because they’ll own that expectation of control the next time you encounter them.

I hope some of these tips help so when you do encounter a rude person you’re back pocket’s equipped with a few tools to help break the ice and make a positive and impressionable connection.


Inspired by Experts

Have you ever been inspired by a legitimate know-it-all?  I’m not talking about those people who make stuff up to impress anyone who will listen but rather a true expert in a particular (or multiple) fields.  The first person who comes to mind, for me, is Dr. Maura Isles from TNT’s Hit TV Series “Rizzoli & Isles.”  Although her character is an extreme case of genius, it’s one of the reasons why I tune in to every episode.  Dr. Isles inspires me to want to learn more seeing how people trust the knowledge she shares and seek her out when they need answers.

Throughout my life, I’ve encountered less extraordinary examples of one or another category experts yet nonetheless inspiriting.  I’m easily sucked into their vast knowledge and confident way of speaking.  These folks are commonly known as SME‘s or Subject Matter Experts and they truly have a gift of inspiring others.

People seek one thing when it comes to information: Accuracy.  Unless you’re in search of opinion, the accuracy of what someone is telling you is critical to them returning to you for additional information.

In previous blogs I have talked about connecting.  If you are good at connecting then a smart way to retain your listeners, readers, fans, customers, clients, etc you should expand your factual knowledge about the subjects on which they rely on your for information.  How?  Research.  Read historical and up-to-date information on the subject.  Ask questions of other SME’s.  The wider you can expand your knowledge, the more frequently people will come to seeking information.  If the information you share is always wrong, they will never come to you again.  (Note: for business and marketing information I’m a big fan of the Harvard Business Review).

One of the best ways to inspire someone is by teaching them something, of value, that they didn’t already know.  Then, every time they use that new information they will think of you.  Not only that, they will share that information with others, hopefully, mentioning your name and/or business name along with it.