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Listening tips by DiSC style

6 min read

Each one of us brings a unique style to the way we listen and absorb information, influenced by our individual personalities. The different DiSC styles have different listening strengths, as well as areas for improvement. Here are some ideas for becoming a more adept and adaptable listener in personal and professional contexts

The D style and listening

Listening strengths of D-style people

  • Action-oriented: D-style individuals are quick to identify action items and solutions. Their active listening can lead to swift problem-solving and decision-making, making them effective in situations that require immediate responses.
  • Assertiveness: D-style people are not afraid to ask direct and clarifying questions. This assertive listening style can be beneficial in situations where clarity is paramount, as they are unafraid to address ambiguity or seek more information.
  • Resilience to critique: People with D styles are often open to constructive feedback and can actively listen to critique without becoming defensive. They see feedback as a means to improve and are willing to consider alternative viewpoints.

Listening tips for D-style people

If you have a D style, here are some things to consider when listening, especially if the speaker has a different style than yours:

  • Practice patience: D-style individuals tend to be action-oriented and may be impatient with lengthy explanations or detailed discussions. To become a better listener, practice patience by allowing others to express themselves fully before responding. Give them the space to share their thoughts and perspectives, even if it takes more time than you’d prefer.
  • Ask clarifying questions: Instead of assuming you understand everything, ask clarifying questions to gain a deeper understanding of the speaker’s message. This can help you avoid misinterpretations and ensure that you’ve correctly grasped their point of view.
  • Empathize and acknowledge feelings: While D-style individuals may prioritize facts and results, there are times when you need to acknowledge the emotional aspects of a conversation. Show empathy by recognizing and validating the speaker’s feelings and experiences.

If the speaker has a D style

  • Embrace directness: People with D styles value direct communication. If you have a different style, you may want to adjust to their style by not judging their bluntness and by keeping your clarifying questions direct and concise.
  • Think action: These individuals appreciate discussions that lead to clear actions. Encourage problem-solving and decision-making during the conversation.
  • Let them take the lead: D-style people like to feel in control. Let them express their ideas and give them space to take the lead in the conversation.

People with DiSC D styles are action-oriented listeners. They could improve their listening skills by practicing patience.

The i style and listening

Listening strengths of i-style people

  • Relational focus: i-style individuals prioritize building relationships and connections. Their focus on relationships can lead to strong interpersonal bonds and collaborations.
  • Encouragement: They have a knack for using encouraging and positive language when listening. Their upbeat responses can motivate and inspire others, making them great motivators and team players.
  • Openness to ideas: i-style people are typically open to new ideas and concepts. They are receptive to diverse perspectives and are willing to explore different viewpoints during conversations.

Listening tips for i-style people

If you have an i style, consider these tips, especially if the speaker has a different style:

  • Manage your impulsivity: i-style people may be quick to respond or interrupt. Practice self-control by giving the speaker the time and space to express themselves fully before offering your input.
  • Avoid dominating the conversation: People with i styles are often animated and expressive, but it’s important to balance this with active listening. Be mindful not to dominate the conversation, allowing others to share their thoughts and experiences.
  • Stay present and focused: Practice being fully present in the conversation. Minimize distractions and resist the urge to multitask.

If the speaker has an i style

  • Be energetic and enthusiastic: i-style individuals thrive on social interaction and energy. Display enthusiasm and active engagement in the conversation.
  • Open up: Sharing personal experiences—while still keeping the focus on them—can resonate well with i-style people and make the conversation more relatable.
  • Acknowledge their emotions: People with i styles appreciate empathy and recognition of their emotions. Show that you understand their feelings and concerns.

People with DiSC i styles are relational listeners. They could improve their listening skills by practicing self-control.

The S style and listening

Listening strengths of S-style people

  • Patience: S-style people have a natural ability to be patient and avoid interrupting the speaker. They allow others to express themselves fully without feeling rushed, creating a comfortable environment for open communication.
  • Non-judgment: S-style listeners are non-judgmental and are less likely to form hasty judgments or criticisms during conversations. This allows the speaker to express themselves freely.
  • Calm support: Listeners with S styles are often a steadying presence, displaying a calm demeanor and genuine support for the speaker.

Listening tips for S-style people

If you have an S style, take your listening skills to the next level with these tips, especially when conversing with people of different styles.

  • Watch for passivity: Many people with S styles have a reserved demeanor. They may also be reluctant to express their opinions or ask direct questions. Be sure you’re an active participant in the conversation, and not just absorbing information passively.
  • Think beyond the status quo: S-style listeners may resist change or new ideas, preferring the stability of what they know. This resistance can limit their openness to innovative or unconventional concepts.
  • Say “no” when needed: S-style individuals are naturally accommodating and don’t like disappointing others. People can take advantage of this tendency by using S-style folks to unload on. Allow yourself to opt out of conversations to avoid overcommitment or stress. Assert your personal boundaries.

If the speaker has an S style

  • Provide a calm and supportive atmosphere: S-style individuals prefer a peaceful and harmonious environment. Ensure the conversation is conducted in a safe and non-threatening manner.
  • Be patient and give time to reflect: Allow these individuals time to process their thoughts and feelings. Avoid rushing the conversation, and use open-ended questions to encourage reflection. Let the silence breathe; don’t rush to fill it if they leave some space while gathering their thoughts.
  • Offer assurances: S-style people appreciate reassurance and positive feedback. Let them know you value their input and that their concerns are valid.

People with DiSC S styles are patient listeners. They could improve their listening skills by making sure patience doesn’t become passivity.

The C style and listening

Listening strengths of C-style people

  • Critical thinking: C-style listeners are adept at critical thinking and evaluating information objectively. They listen with a discerning and logical mindset, which can be valuable in problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Patience: C-style individuals are patient listeners, willing to invest the time necessary to gather and process information thoroughly. Their patience can be essential in contexts requiring careful consideration.
  • Clarification: They are comfortable asking clarifying questions to ensure that they fully understand the speaker’s message. This approach can lead to precise and clear communication.

Listening tips for C-style people

If you have a C style, consider these tips, especially if the person speaking has a different style than you do:

  • Avoid premature judgments: Be aware of your inclination to form judgments quickly. Instead, listen without forming judgments until you have gathered sufficient information. This can lead to a more complete understanding.
  • Practice empathetic listening: Work on developing empathy for the speaker’s perspective and emotions. Put yourself in their shoes to understand their viewpoint and experiences better.
  • Suspend the need for immediate solutions: Your analytical nature may drive you to seek solutions or answers quickly. However, in some conversations, it’s essential to listen without immediately proposing solutions. Sometimes, the speaker may need to express their thoughts and feelings without interruption.

If the speaker has a C style

  • Tap into your analytical side: C-style individuals are detail-oriented and analytical. Even if you tend to be more emotional, follow their lead if they’d rather process events in a more data-forward than feelings-forward way.
  • Provide time for evaluation: Allow C-style people to evaluate and analyze information. If you suggest a new perspective, don’t expect them to weigh in on it before they have time to consider it thoroughly.
  • Don’t go overboard with emotion: Everyone is different, of course, but C-style individuals can be uncomfortable with large emotional displays. Read their tone and try to match yours to theirs. This can help them focus on the issue being discussed.

People with DiSC C styles are discerning listeners. They could improve their listening skills by practicing empathy.

Active listening in a conversation between two people

It’s important to remember that people are unique and may exhibit a combination of DiSC styles to varying degrees. Flexibility in your listening approach is key to effective communication. Adapt your listening style to the preferences of the individual you are conversing with, and be open to adjusting your approach as needed to build rapport and facilitate productive conversations.


Avery Harris-Gray

SC style, NY based. Writing about Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors since 2020. Leadership style: humble. EQ mindset: composed. I always have snacks to share.

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