How to Spot Someone’s DISC Personality Type in Under 60 Seconds

You’re in a sales setting, and you want to present yourself in a way that will appeal to your buyer. You’re in a negotiation and you want to know how to understand the motivations of the other party. You’re on a first date and you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past all over again. So how do you spot someone’s DISC personality type quickly and effectively?

There are a number of ways to do this.  This article is going to explore whether the person is proactive or reactive.  Another way is to determine whether the person is verbal or nonverbal, and exactly what kind of verbal or nonverbal they are.  Check out that in our follow-up article.

Here is a major clue to how the DISC personality types relate to proactivity versus reactivity:

  1. Assess whether they are proactive or reactive
  2. Dominant – proactive
  3. Inspiring – proactive
  4. Supportive – reactive
  5. Conscientious – reactive

Assess whether they are proactive or reactive

This is another major clue to discovering personality type.  A proactive person is not better than a reactive person.  Neither approach is bad, they’re just different.  A door-crashing salesperson is proactive; they want to go out and shape the world in their own image.  An accountant tends to be reactive.  They want the work to be brought to them so that they can do a complete and thorough job getting it done.

Both personality types are important.  Both are needed on the team

In this article, I’ll help you explore how to spot this in each of the four personality types.

The Dominant DISC personality type – proactive

The Dominant person wants to shape the world into their own image.  You will see several clues that will help you determine whether they are proactive or reactive very quickly.

Body language: The Dominant person is going to be assertive in their body language.  They will maintain direct eye contact with you.  They may physically lean forward. They will stake out their territory and make their presence known.

Time focus: The Dominant person will be talking about the present and the future.  They won’t talk much about the past, because they aren’t focused on it.  They are primarily interested in what the future holds, and how you can help them reach their future-oriented goals.

Vocal presence: The Dominant person will speak in a more assertive way.  Their voice will be louder.  They will talk about themselves, and about the goals of the organization.  Their discussions will be goal-oriented.  They will talk more about tasks than about people.

The Inspiring DISC personality type – verbal

The Inspiring person is also proactive.  They want to shape the world through their exciting ideas and through their persuasive verbal skills.  They are forward thinking, and love talking about inspiring ideas.

Body language: The Inspiring person is going to be very engaged in the conversation.  They will lean forward, smile and nod, interject with their own ideas, and use gestures.  The Inspiring personality type is not at all reserved in their body language and are fairly easy to spot.

Time focus: The Inspiring person is focused on the future.  They will talk about tomorrow, not about today, and especially not about yesterday.  Their questions will center on how the future will be impacted by the exciting new ideas you are discussing together.

Vocal presence: The Inspiring person is easily identified by how they use their voice.  They will talk a lot about themselves, using the words ‘I’ and ‘me.’  Their voice will go up and down.  They will laugh easily and talk about ideas that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.  They will bring up things they’ve read, interesting videos that they have watched, and other ideas they’ve encountered along the way.

 

The Supportive DISC personality type – reactive

The Supportive person is reactive.  They prefer to do practical jobs that contribute toward running the organization today.  They like hands-on work, and enjoy the satisfaction of a job complete and well done.

Body language: The Supportive person is going to be more reserved in their body language.  They will sit comfortably, and won’t move a lot during the conversation.  They won’t take up a lot of space.  They won’t use gestures, but will sit quietly and listen more than talk.

Time focus: The Supportive person will be focused mostly on today.  They may talk about the past as well, but aren’t interested in dwelling on the distant future.  They are practical people who care about practical duties in the present.

Vocal presence: The Supportive person will talk about the present and the past.  When they speak, it will be with a calm or quiet voice.  They are not going to be loud, and they aren’t going to ask uncomfortable questions.  They may sit quietly when you wish they would speak.  If you don’t know them, they may be harder to engage in conversation, because there has been no trust established, and for them, everything is based on trust.

 

The Conscientious DISC personality type – reactive

Like the Supportive the Conscientious person tends to be reactive.  They are focused on today and yesterday, and are worried about the future.  They prefer tackling a job and doing a complete and thorough job of it.  They would rather not have to invent the job.  That’s why they are attracted to professions requiring a good command of detail, and an insistence on high quality standards.

Body language: The Conscientious person will appear more reserved.  They will not use gestures.  They may appear to be distant or detached.  They may not make sustained eye contact.

Time focus: The Conscientious person will ask questions about the present and the past.  The questions they ask about the future will be about their worries about how things may not go precisely as planned.

Vocal presence: The Conscientious person will have a steady voice that does not modulate up and down.  They will talk a lot, and their talking will be task-related.  They won’t want to discuss sports games or jokes, but will want to get down to the business at hand.

Don’t take their detachment or their skepticism personally.  This is how they’re wired, and these actions don’t mean they aren’t interested in what you have to say.

In summary:

There is more to a person than whether they are proactive or reactive.  But, this is an important clue to discovering their personality type.

Here is how the DISC personality types related to pro activity versus reactivity:

  1. Dominant – proactive
  2. Inspiring – proactive
  3. Supportive – reactive
  4. Conscientious – reactive

Additional resources

Thanks for reading this article on more ways to spot someone’s DISC personality type in under 60 seconds.  Below are additional resources from Getting People Right, the global provider of online human resources and leadership tools:

 

Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at professionalleadershipinstitute.com

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” book.

 

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