Who’s Setting the Pace?

communication communication skills in the workplace disc effective communication effective communication skills human behavior leadership leadership culture model of human behavior why is effective communication important May 11, 2021
Communication Skills in the Workplace

I closed the last post with a promise to share the two most powerful things I’ve learned over the past five years as I’ve studied the DISC Model of Human Behavior. It just so happens that these two are also incredibly simple to understand and just as easy to apply! Just think about how much more we could all get accomplished if everything worked that way!

Let’s start by digging into the one that we can almost always SEE within the first few seconds we’re around someone, even if we’ve never interacted with them before.

We’re all wired a certain way right out of the factory. In most cases, we can begin to tell whether a child is more Outgoing or more Reserved by the time they’re two or three years old. There are certainly some times where this isn’t just glaringly obvious and there will be some situations that cause each of us to respond differently than we normally would. But in the vast majority of the scenarios we each face on a daily basis, we’ll be able to quickly determine what we’re dealing with, especially when we’re comparing what we see with the other person with ourselves…

Please understand here though, this isn’t a matter of Introvert/Extrovert. This is all about the pace in which we act on things. When Cindy and I teach this in group settings, we share an example of cars; the more Outgoing folks tend to resemble a 60’s muscle car with revved up engine while the more Reserved folks are more similar to a high-end Lexus or even an electric Tesla where we can barely tell if they’re actually running…

Regardless of where we may consider ourselves to fall within that spectrum, we should still be able to get a quick read on where the person we’re interacting with is in comparison to us. I’ve heard sales consultants suggest that it’s important to stay in control of a conversation by being the one who asks all the questions. Whatever… If we really want to develop effective communication skills in the workplace, we’d do far better practice The Platinum Rule I often reference than to attempt to maintain control!

When it comes to pace, we’re much more likely to communicate effectively when we slow down or speed up our approach to match the individual we’re interacting with. When I share a new idea with Cindy, because I typically approach everything at 100mph with my hair on fire, things go so much smoother when I slow down and give her time to process the information rather than dumping everything on her at once and hoping she keeps up. When she brings something to me, she has started giving me the big picture right away, and fast, then adding the details as I ask for them. She knows I’ll get bored and move on to something else otherwise.

This simple practice of setting the pace of our own approach based on what we’re seeing from the person we’re communicating with can make a significant impact on how effective we are in getting our message through! And while this can make a huge difference, messing it up every now and then isn’t all that big a deal. If I neglect to slow down so Cindy has time to process everything I rattle off, it may suck a lot of energy out of her but it will rarely offend her. However, applying what I share in the next post can actually help us each avoid between 80 & 90% of the major disagreements that are often the toughest to ever overcome!