When is your communication complete? After it’s been sent or once it’s been received? Too often we assume the former when we’d all be better off in our personal and professional communications if we make sure it’s the latter.
Have you ever had the experience of explaining a complex topic or idea to someone only to have them misunderstand or not appreciate what you’re trying to say? Now maybe your presentation was a garbled mess or your idea was nonsensical right from the start, but there’s another possible reason your communication didn’t land the way you thought it would.
“If an argument falls on deaf ears, did it make a sound?”
Let’s say your boss is all about the numbers (in terms of the DISC behavior styles let’s say she’s a “high C”), and you bring her an idea for a new product. If you’re conscious of her style, you’ll lead with potential sales revenue, expected development costs, etc. and make your initial case based on the data. If you’re more of a “people person” (let’s say a DISC “high I”), you might be personally more motivated by the stories of how this new product could improve people’s lives. It would be a mistake in this situation, however, for you to lead with the people angle. It’s not that your boss doesn’t care about those people and that you should never talk about it, it’s just that her style resonates more strongly with data and evidence, and that’s how you should open the conversation.
As a former physics teacher, I think of communication as an activity that resembles the phenomenon of resonance. Check out the demo below. It’s one I performed dozens of times for my high school students.
If you understand the communication style of the person you’re trying to convince, encourage, coach, etc., you’ll do well when you tailor your communication to resonate with them. The DISC assessment is a great way to understand your personal communication and behavioral style. Armed with that information, you can begin to make some good guesses about the styles of others (if they haven’t completed their own DISC) and make your communication more effective by delivering it at a “pitch” they’re ready to hear.