What role does personality play in the choice of communication?

People chatting at ERNI Romania offices.

By Adrian Giger (ERNI Switzerland)

In this article, I will explain how to use the DiSG model to identify the personality traits of your message receiver and how to adjust your communication to get their full attention.

When you explain a situation to someone working in an industrial factory or the medical industry, their information requirements will differ.

It also plays a significant role whether you are communicating with a fact-oriented person or an animated multi-talker who hardly lets you finish. However, we all know how important communication is in business and private life and how fast things can take a wrong turn when there is miscommunication. Therefore, being able to align your communication to the preferred style of your partner might not only help to decrease the amount of misunderstanding but also increase the engagement rate of the parties involved.

Therefore, I recommend learning to assess the other person’s communication style. This will help you to communicate more successfully. Try to find out whether your counterpart responds more to hard arguments and facts or whether emotional content has a better effect. Ask yourself whether you are more of a quiet listener or a critical know-it-all. Depending on whom you are communicating with, you can be fact-oriented, emotional, short and direct or use potent arguments. To better assess this, you can use the following DiSG model.

The four basic types, according to the DiSG model

In the DiSG model, human behaviour is divided into four basic patterns, which are assigned to the colours red, yellow, blue and green.

Source: Greator.com

Dealing with the four basic types of the DiSG model

Dealing with red types (dominant; a director)

If you are dealing with someone ambitious, powerful, determined, strong-willed, independent and goal-oriented:

  • Be clear, specific, brief and get straight to the point.
  • Stick to business.
  • Prepare yourself with well-organised (presentation) materials.

The following behaviours, on the other hand, create tension and dissatisfaction:

  • Talking about things that have nothing to do with the matter.
  • Being long-winded or making vague allusions.
  • Appearing disorganised.

Dealing with yellow types (proactive; an inspirer)

When you are dealing with someone enthusiastic, inspiring, friendly, open and communicative:

  • Create a warm and friendly environment.
  • Do not use too many details! Provide written material.
  • Ask emotive questions to find out about your counterpart’s attitudes.

The following behaviour, on the other hand, creates tension and dissatisfaction:

  • Being gruff and curt.
  • Excessively controlling the conversation.
  • Bringing too many data, facts, alternatives and abstractions into play.

Dealing with blue types (conscientious; an observer)

If you are dealing with a perfectionist – someone who is reliable, neat, conservative, meticulous and precise:

  • Prepare very well for your presentation.
  • Stay focused at all times.
  • Be accurate and realistic.

The following behaviour, on the other hand, creates tension and dissatisfaction:

  • Being reckless, casual, loud and acting without planning.
  • Exerting too much pressure or setting unrealistic time frames.
  • Being sloppy and disorganised.

Dealing with green types (conscientious; a supporter)

If you are dealing with someone patient, reserved, reliable, consistent, relaxed and humble:

  • Start the conversation with personal remarks to break the ice.
  • Present your case in a friendly, non-intimidating way.
  • Ask ‘how to’ questions to get the other person’s opinion.

The following behaviour, on the other hand, creates tension and dissatisfaction:

  • Getting down to business immediately.
  • Being domineering or demanding.
  • Expecting a quick decision or answer from the other person.

I have been using the findings of the four-colour model of DiSG analysis for a long time and trying to adapt my communication style to my counterpart. In the beginning, it isn’t easy to assess your conversation partner, but practice makes perfect. Of course, every person is an individual, and the classification into the four basic types does not fully reflect our complex personalities. Nevertheless, the DiSG analysis insights help you communicate with your conversation partner in a targeted and efficient way.

Try it out for yourself; I wish you much fun and success.


DiSG® – Das Persönlichkeitsmodell im Businessumfeld (disg-modell.de)

Domsel Consulting (domsel-consulting.de)

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