Different Strokes for Different Folks

You need to adapt and perhaps the biggest factor determining your approach is the person that you are trying to influence. From our Insight course, some of the ways in which people are different and what this means for you when trying to influence them.

[This video is included earlier in the program.]



People are different! The DISC personality model provides a useful structure for understanding the preferences and drivers of other people. The video introduces the model and then explains how to adapt your approach with different personality types. Keep in mind though, the model is only a starting point – human beings are complex creatures! Here is a summary of influencing approaches for different DISC styles.

High-D – Directive / Dominant

  • recognize their successes
  • be succinct and concise – headlines!the
  • keep social chit-chat to a minimum
  • stress logic, facts and particularly, proven case studies
  • get to the point quickly and keep to it!
  • focus on WHAT is being proposed: outcomes and results

High-I – Interacting 

  • establish a connection and create a friendly atmosphere
  • where possible give praise and compliments
  • ask for ideas and opinions
  • talk about what is happening generally
  • make it personal
  • focus on WHO will be involved: people and relationships

High-S – Steady / Steadfast

  • present your case in calm and friendly way
  • minimize risks
  • talk about process
  • give guarantees
  • remind them of what stays the same
  • focus on HOW things will be done: process increases harmony

High-C – Conscientious

  • be logical and present facts
  • appeal to their expertise
  • be precise and don’t make exaggerated claims
  • provide a structure at the beginning
  • allow time for thought and reflection
  • focus on WHY your approach is the best: it must make sense.

DISC also provides an insight into you. Your DISC profile means that you will have certain communication preferences and there is a likelihood that you will want to communicate in the way that you would like others to communicate with you. But, as should be clear, you need to adapt to their preferences. If you are a High-C, then you need to recognize that for High-Is, social chit-chat at the beginning of a conversation is important, so be prepared to wait before you present your proposal.

This video is from our People Edge course.


Values are instinctive and emotional. It will clearly help your cause if you can show that what you propose is consistent with the values of the other person. Shalom Schwarz identified 10 distinct values that have validity across all cultures. How important are these to the the other person:

  • Power – attainment of social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources.
  • Achievement – success through competence, skill or knowledge
  • Hedonism – pleasure or sensual gratification
  • Stimulation – thrills – excitement, novelty, and challenge in life
  • Self-direction – independent thought and action, freedom to be creative
  • Universalism – understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection of the welfare of all people
  • Benevolence – preserve and enhance the welfare of family and friends
  • Tradition – respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that one’s culture or religion imposes on the individual
  • Conformity – restraint of action, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social norms
  • Security – safety, harmony, and stability of self, society or relationships


The human brain is hard-wired to be emotional first and rational second. I have already mentioned the SCARF model and will develop it further shortly:

  • their Status – how they are perceived by others
  • Certainty – reducing risk
  • Autonomy – being in control of what happens
  • Relatedness – how connected they are with other people
  • Fairness – doing the right thing