What does your communication style say about you? 

Communication is the fabric of our daily lives.

It’s how we interact.

It’s how we share our stories.

It’s how we live.

Whether verbal, written or silent, communication plays a vital role in how we process our environment.

With so much of our time centered on communication, it’s important to understand how to communicate effectively.

That understanding comes in large part from knowing your own communication style and what is says about you.

Are you guided by emotion or driven by facts? Are you the life of the party or do you tend to shy away from social situations?

Do you prefer to follow a detailed agenda or would you rather spend the first hour of a business meeting rehashing the latest episodes of “This is Us” and “Dancing with the Stars”?

The answers to questions like these help determine your communication style.

Once you know what your communication style is, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you’ll be a potential fit for a specific job or career path. You’ll also have a better understanding of family, friends and colleague’s communication styles, and you can adapt your communication style to meet theirs.

Although adaption doesn’t mean you are short changing yourself. You’re simply adapting your style to make sure your communication is effective.

So how do you go about determining your communication style?

First, you need to determine what drives your behavior. In order to be successful, people need to fully recognize their strengths and weaknesses so they understand how to thrive in their environment.

Once you’ve figured out how your mind works, you can begin to ask yourself why do you act or feel a certain way in a given situation and how best to respond to others in those situations.

That’s where the DISC assessment comes into play. The DISC assessment provides a comprehensive overview of how someone thinks, acts and interacts based on four different behavioral styles.

  1. Dominant (D) — Direct, task-oriented, outgoing, determined, fast-paced, likes to win
  1. Influencing (I) — Direct, people-oriented, spontaneous, motivators, imaginative, likes the big picture
  1. Steadiness (S) — Indirect, people-oriented, non-emotional, supportive, good listeners, stick to what they know best
  1. Compliance (C) — Indirect, task-oriented, logical, quality controllers, objective, consistent, likes to be right

As a whole, the population is made up of a certain percentage of each style with 18 percent being Dominant, 29 percent Influencing, 45 percent Steadiness and 8 percent Compliance.

DISC assessments aren’t personality assessments. Rather they are behavioral assessments designed to help gauge current and future behavior.

“This is the ultimate in diversity,” says Jim Bos, co-owner of MBJ Group, a talent management company that routinely uses the DISC assessment to help clients determine their individual communication style. “It has nothing to do with color, race, eye color or hair color. It’s how you behaviorally function,” he says. “It’s a neutral diversity process or perspective.”

When using the DISC assessment, you’re trying to determine an individual’s natural style of function and adaptive style of function.

Natural style of function is where an individual tends to be the most comfortable. Although sometimes people will say or do things to cause an individual to adapt his or her style to fit a particular circumstance and/or environment, which can in turn create discomfort.

“For some people, they are very much aware of how they function; and other people don’t have a clue,” Jim says. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to find out where an individual is most comfortable or why he or she is adapting dramatically and causing himself or herself issues.”