The Language Of Choice

One of the best teaching tools I’ve ever encountered helped me recognize that people behave in languages of communication far more elusive than what I was taught in English class.  Being born in South Korea, I know only 4 Korean words; yet as I learned to understand behavior, it’s not the words that really communicate the message anyway.

Oh sure, two completely different languages can be a huge barrier to effective communication; but let’s be honest, most people who speak the same cultural language still experience huge barriers in their communication.  We tend to speak and act on the basis of our way of communicating, rather than considering that others are attempting the same thing – but communicating in their way.  And if we don’t learn their ways, we’ll miss them all day long. 

Communication inefficiencies cost businesses billions each year, and cost families and marriages in far more ways than money can measure. 

Stephen Covey nailed it in his bestselling book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit five says to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.  That is the foundation of great communication – getting our heart and head in the right perspective for effective communication – by seeking what the other person wants:  understanding.  Once we have that selfless mindset, we can use the tool of learning that has helped me so much in the past 25 years.

That tool is Everything DiSC, and it helps to define the behavior styles of people by breaking them down into 8 blended styles of communication.  Those styles vary from blends of 4 keys points of behavior and various levels of inclination in each style.  To keep it simple, the four styles include:

1.      The D – Dominant (fast-paced & outspoken/questioning & skeptical)

2.      The I – Influence (fast-paced & outspoken/accepting & warm)

3.      The S – Steadiness (accepting & warm/cautious & reflective)

4.      The C – Conscientious (questioning & skeptical/cautious & reflective). 

Different words will resonate with each style.  Can you classify which of the following words describes which style, or more important define your spouse’s style, your co-worker’s style, your client’s style, or your child’s style? – Challenge, Drive, Action, Encouragement, Collaboration, Support, Reliability and Objectivity.  What drives their behavior? Knowing can be a difference maker.

I encourage you to learn more, understand more, and apply more in this area of communication.  Many of you reading this have heard of DiSC or MBTI, or many other methods of behavior assessments, yet the vast majority spent a few minutes reading their personal results and then did what most of us do with new learning.  We put it in a drawer, or file, never to be visited again.  Knowledge unapplied.

Take it two steps further this time: Get the knowledge, yes; but then, take it out and apply it, then keep applying it – consistently.  Over time it will be a learned behavior, and, with the proper mindset of seeking first to understand, you’ll be invaluable in your relationships – at work and at home. 

That’s something worth becoming.