DISC Theory

The Four Behavioural Factors

People behave and communicate in consistently observable patterns. The evidence of this universal behavioural language is in every interaction we have. The ability to recognise these patterns allows us to adjust our communication and improve how we relate to one another.

The behaviour patterns are divided into four core styles, forming the acronym DISC:


D – Dominance – how we solve problems and respond to challenges

I – Influence – how we relate to others and communicate our viewpoint

S – Steadiness – how we handle change or the pace of environment

C – Compliance – how we respond to rules and procedures set by others



Each of us possesses all of the four characteristics to one degree or another.

By using DISC, the universal language of behaviour, we can quantify information on how we perceive ourselves, and how others may perceive us.

This information is displayed graphically, either as bar or line graphs, or plotted on the Success Insights wheel. In either case, the assessment identifies both an individual’s natural, instinctive behaviour, as well as the behaviour they choose to adopt in any particular situation or circumstance. We call these two behaviours the Natural and Adapted styles.

The High D

High D behaviour is best described as direct, daring, results oriented, competitive and bold. These are people who like to be in the centre of the action and in control.

When relating to this style in business use words like now, unique, advantage, immediate, results, win, ownership and action. These words will challenge and encourage them to keep communicating with you.

Your body language is equally important with D style people. Keep a respectful distance and maintain direct eye contact while leaning forward attentively. Tone of voice should be strong and confident.

High D Interaction Tips

  • Come well prepared with all relevant materials in order.
  • Stay focused on the presentation — be very businesslike.
  • Be sure your presentation is clear, to the point and concise.
  • Provide several choices so they can make their own decision, don’t steer them.
  • Provide a win/win situation with both options as winners—then let them choose.

It is important to provide the High D with options to feel and have the power of choosing. Challenge them to buy. Allow the High D the opportunity to express their opinions and ask questions so they can tell you about themselves.

The High I

The High I profile is persuasive, trusting, charming, sociable, optimistic and enthusiastic.

High I’s are extremely verbal. They want to talk through everything and prefer building a relationship prior to getting down to business. The opening moments with I’s are especially crucial and should be spent building rapport. Once a connection is established, it should be easy to proceed with the relationship and/or sale.

High I’s speak swiftly and use exaggerated hand and body gestures. Try using words like exciting, new, extraordinary and advanced. Ask them, “How does this feel?” Your tone of voice and body language should show you’re enthusiastic and friendly.

High I Interaction Tips

  • Allow time to build a fun relationship first.
  • Start slow and frequently ask their opinion.
  • Offer ideas for several different courses of action.
  • Never talk down to them and don’t be overly task-oriented.

The High I is looking for the unique, new and fancy idea or product. Cover the high points and skip the details. Allow opportunity for the High I to talk through the decisions and then, using their own words, help them summarise and reach a decision point.

The High S

The High S can be described as sincere, patient, logical, steady, relaxed and good listener.

Differing from the directness of the High D’s and I’s, the High S is considerably more hesitant. You must make the first move and initiate the relationship. Working with this type means building trust over time. Expect the relationship building process to take longer. The High S is attracted to products that suggest security and enduring quality.

When talking with the High S your tone of voice should be steady and reassuring. Make them feel warm and comfortable. Use words like quality, guarantee, trust and assurance. During a sale it might be wise to walk away and let a husband and wife spend a few minutes alone discussing. Providing time for the High S to process and think things over will keep them calm and on your side. Don’t rush them.

High S Interaction Tips

  • Begin by building a warm, relational atmosphere.
  • Engage them by asking questions.
  • Present your case logically and gently.
  • Don’t rush the decision process and hold to your word.

Give the High S time to think and give them facts to help with their decision. Don’t move too quickly. Make an effort to listen with genuine interest and respond to questions in full detail. The High S will want to review background information so be prepared with all relevant data.

The High C

High Cs are perfectionists, precise, organised and diplomatic.

The High C thrives on facts, figures and data. They are energised by information, analysis, research, and compliance with rules and quality standards. Your speech needs to be slow and deliberate. Words they like to hear include reliability, guarantee, proven, established facts and ‘no-risk.’ Keep an appropriate distance and maintain direct eye contact. The High C individual responds to products that are time tested and reliable.

High C Interaction Tips

  • Be prepared and professional.
  • Don't use feelings and opinions as decision-making criteria.
  • Establish credibility by considering multiple perspectives.
  • Introduce incentives to trigger a decision.
  • Don't waste time with small talk.

Give the High C proof and background information. They appreciate charts and test results. This type may seem suspicious but they are simply examining both you and the product. Check to make sure your appearance, office, car or other meeting place are all tidy and in order.