10 Ways To Communicate More Effectively With A Dominant Personality

In years of addressing inter-personal challenges a constantly recurring issue is the challenge of communicating effectively with dominant personalities. There is frustration, anger, submission, despair, avoidance and separation.

Spend a few minutes to read this fun-learn guide for greater peace of mind.

A quick reminder of the DISC framework below:

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When interacting with Dominant behavior you will enhance your chances of success if you observe the 10 guidelines outlined below.


I. The first thing to recognize is that your perception has a lot to do with the challenges you are encountering. Also, bear in mind that the only person that you can change is you. So the recommendation is that you should focus on modifying your response in order to get better results from your encounters with dominant personalities.

There is often a feeling of intimidation. Be aware this might be largely your perception.

II. Be quick. ‘Thinking on your feet’ will create a comfortable environment for the dominant personality. There is the added bonus that you may be considered smartbrave or both.... Qualities respected by dominant personalities.

III. Be specific. Beating around the bush is a definite no-no!!!

Bob is scheduled to re-pay Daisy money borrowed today. Bob approaches Daisyand comments on her dress. Discusses the weather and then on to the ball game.

Daisyis inattentive. Her only thought is show me the money!!! When Daisy learns that Bob has not brought the money, she lets him know that he has added the insult of wasting her time to the injury of not meeting the payment deadline.

IV. Speak in ‘bullet points’ and you are more likely to hold their attention. Patience is not one of the virtues that is embraced by dominant personalities.

V. Get to the point--bottom line.

David returns from the funeral and his wife asks “How was it?”  David thought that “Successful” was an appropriate reply. Get to the core and get there quickly.

VI. Do NOT keep them waiting for your responses.

Poor Suzie lost her job because her dominant boss thought that she was guilty of insubordination for failing to respond quickly enough to his questions.

Suzie was stunned by his accusations and needed time to process her response. Each time she got close to answering she was badgered and she finally retreated into silence.

VII. Phrase your comments in the context of meeting THEIR objectives.

You achieve a greater level of buy-in if you operate from a position of addressing their needs. Remember the w-i-i-i-f-m factor. What is in it for me?

VIII. Let them lead the dialogue.  

Finding out what their objectives are gives you an early indication of what they have in mind and gives you a head start in crafting your approach.

Asking questions as against making statements is wise. “What do you think should be done?”

IX. Keep your agenda in mind but be careful about being too rigid.

John had rehearsed his sales presentation until he virtually knew it backwards. He kept his appointment with Damian and started down the familiar path.

Damian pulled John’s exhibits from his hand and asked questions that were not related to the point that John was making. John thought the presentation was a disaster. He still cannot explain how it produced the biggest sale that he had ever made.

X. Do not get upset if you are interrupted.

You might be thinking that the conversation should be like using a 2-way radio where one party hands over to the other when they have completed their comment. “Over”

Instead you might be faced with slipping in your comments while your counterpart reloads. Also, cutting you off in mid-sentence is driven more by a strong urge to get a point across than any intention of disrespect.

You must hold your ground against this tide or get swept away.

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