Effective communication: Preparing for who’s out there.

An effective meeting, presentation or pitch starts with preparation. Today we need to talk about great ways to consider and engage your audience. But first, we need to understand that there are all different types of people out there. They think and consider things differently, they feel and are moved to action in different ways and they find different things important and show their values in a variety of ways.

When we consider how to make our interactions the most effective as we can, here’s a quick guide using the DiSC model. DiSC is a safe and non-judgemental model that describes how an individual prefers to behave and display their work priorities to satisfy their needs.

Check out our blog on “Effective Communication: What lies beneath?” for more information on the Whole Person Concept by Dr Ralph Colby to understand the underlying needs that drive us in our interactions.

In the DiSC model (Wiley Publishing), there are 4 key behavioural styles: 

  1. Dominance
  2. Influence
  3. Steadiness/Supportiveness
  4. Conscientiousness
  • People with a preference for Dominant behaviours will need control, results and speed. They fear loss of control and anything that is too vague. You must answer these questions: “What’s in it for me?” and “What do you need from me to get this done?” early on.
  • Influencers will need opportunity to achieve at speed in a vibrant and positive atmosphere. You will need to be warm, welcoming and have third party stories to share about the benefits of your ideas.
  • Those showing preference for Steadiness behaviours need harmony and to influence through consensus and prefer a relaxed pace to reflect before speaking and an inclusive environment. You will need to send out questions prior for them to prepare their response. They hate to disappoint with the wrong answer or actions.
  • People with Conscientiousness preferences need data, detail, FAQs and love taking time to get things right the first time which means asking all the questions to triple check everything is correct before proceeding. You will need to show a balanced amount of detail with some numbers or you could spend some time getting them across the data prior to the meeting to ensure you have considered everything, they are a great sounding board. 

Why is this important? Science tells us that your audience will be roughly divided into these 4 behavioural styles on average. This means only talking to the communication preferences of one type will disengage the others. For example, if you chose to present in a very formal, dot pointed and clinical way – you might spark the interest of the Direct and Conscientiousness people in the room but disengage the Influencers and Steadiness crowd. Having pockets of interest in your communication style is important to connect with everyone. 

Here’s a quick example when running a meeting to interact effectively with all styles:

  1. Send out the agenda for your meeting prior (usually 48 hrs) and detail any questions you would like people to contribute to or answer on the day.
  2. Create a distraction-free environment so all can focus on the message you are delivering.
  3. Open with thanking all for their involvement and give a brief overview of the agenda to be covered and any outcomes you were hoping to achieve.
  4. Identify key stakeholders in the room and how they have contributed so far or any data you have collected to give any findings some credibility.
  5. Once a section of the agenda is covered, ask if there are questions or thoughts to share before moving on. Be mindful not to be taken off track and limit any tangents. Speak to the idea at hand.
  6. Answer all questions as best you can, although when you don’t know – say you don’t and confirm when you will be able to get back with an answer.
  7. At the end of the meeting, collate the actions items and confirm “What? How much? By When?” elements of each action. Encourage feedback and questions that people might think about after the meeting too.
  8. Offer a warm farewell and, if time allows, stick around the meeting a bit afterwards to allow people to ask any questions or give feedback that they were not comfortable giving in front of the group.

For more information, coaching and training on how to maximise the effectiveness of the human interactions in your workplace through effective communication skills, call us on 8279 6955 or contact us on www.humaninteractions.com.au  

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