Responding to the "I" Style - Influence

Posted by Bill Harshman on

Sometimes we are left speechless after interactions with others.  It might be the information being shared; however, it is often the tone of the message that puts us off.  Being familiar with the DISC styles will help you be able to respond and keep communication moving forward, whether in person, by phone, text, or email.  Understanding yourself better is the first step to becoming more effective when working with others.  For illustration’s sake, we will assume the specific style being discussed is that person’s PRIMARY (high) style.  Today’s blog is dedicated to the primary style of “I” or Influence.

DISC Communication    DISC Pace & Priority

Let’s go back and remember our TWO basic aspects of the DISC styles:  Pace & Priority.  The Influence (I) style has a faster PACE and tends to be outspoken and expressive.  Other descriptors might include demonstrative, intense, persuasive, collaborative, and sociable.  The I’s PRIORITY is people-oriented (versus task-oriented) and prefers interaction and engagement.

Let me share a simple exchange.  A high “I” has boarded an elevator with a few other riders and has pushed a floor button as the doors begin to close.  The “I” hears someone approaching, peeks out, puts their hand out, blocks the doors from closing and says, “No need to hurry.  We’ll wait for you.  We have plenty of room”, never soliciting the opinion of the others also on the elevator.  That’s the “I” being spontaneous, interactive, and outgoing.  Not rude mind you - - it’s just the “I” style. 

Similar scenario, however, this time the “I” is approaching the closing elevator.  As they approach with a quick walk, they say, “Room for one more?” with no reaction from whoever is inside the elevator with the doors now closed.  The “I” is puzzled for only a moment, and then pushes the button for the next elevator’s arrival, hoping that during their wait someone else will join them providing a chance to make another acquaintance or connection.  I’s can meet and talk with new people very easily.   

Don’t let the simplicity of this scenario fool you.  The same awareness applies to other types of communication (phone, face-to-face, text, or email).

The following are examples of “I” communication and the appropriate response:

  • I: Leaves not-so-brief phone messages, never just “Call me”.  Will likely provide you more detail (sometimes non-work related) than needed.  Informal message, speaks rapidly, enthusiastically, and optimistically.  Response:  Be supportive of their ideas and opinions and avoid single-word replies 
  • I: Handshake might be animated with body movement; much eye contact, seeking engagement.  Response:  Mirror the expressiveness and enthusiasm
  • I: Emails (and texts) may seem overly wordy and energetic, with italics, different colored font, bolding, and even emoticons.  Response:  Include acknowledgments and be sociable, friendly, and outgoing

Regardless of the communication type, it’s important to understand that I’s prefer people involvement, interaction, participation, and playfulness.  You will serve I’s best by being friendly without too much task orientation, while minimizing lofty, endless conversations.

As ALWAYS, the key to effectiveness through DISC is understanding your and others’ styles and then using that knowledge for improved interactions.


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