How do you handle communication?

Interview by Jen Phillips April

Jen Philips April: Hello. This is Jen Phillips April with Right Words Marketing. Today I’m with Kathy Marcino of DISC Consulting. Kathy, you have a background in sales training. Is that correct?

Kathy Marcino: Yes, I do.

Jen Philips April: Great. Tell us a little bit about … I know you’re really promoting DISC … I guess I don’t know if even I want to call it a personality test, it’s an assessment of how you communicate with others. Why don’t you just briefly explain what that is?

Kathy Marcino: Okay, a lot of people get hung up on the word “test”.

Jen Philips April: Yeah, it’s a bad term.

Kathy Marcino: Everything says, “Oh no, what if I say the wrong thing or type in the wrong answer and everybody thinks I’m an idiot?” Everybody gets crazy about that. It’s not a test, the technical term is an assessment, but what we’re measuring is what motivates you. Essentially, what makes you tick!

Jen Phillips April: Cool,  tell me more!

Kathy Marcino: At your core, what drives you? We all have intrinsic behaviors that drive us and every one of us is unique, so really what that measures is how are you going to handle conflict, how do you communicate? How do you make decisions? It’s not a test on strengths or it’s not a test on performance, it’s just really giving you some self-awareness about your own behaviors and then the goal is to recognize those in others and adapt your behaviors.

Jen Phillips April: Great, and I know a lot of people are aware of the Myers Briggs assessment.

Kathy Marcino: Yes.

Jen Phillips April: Can you compare this at all to that?

Kathy Marcino: You can. They both look at personality styles. I’ve taken both tests, I think they’re both very valuable. Personally, I like DISC when applying it to workplace relationships. I think it’s easily relatable, I think it’s easy to adapt and remember. Goes a little deeper than introvert versus extrovert, which is, I think, what people remember from Myers Briggs, you’re either one or the other. This, I think, helps you think, “Oh okay, I need to communicate this way to be more effective”.

I look at it as, especially in sales where I use it the most, your relationship with your manager, your relationship with your colleague, your relationship with a customer. I think DISC has a lot to offer.

Jen Phillips April: Great, just for the purpose of people who are listening to this and watching this at a later time, DISC is spelled D-I-S-C.

Kathy Marcino: Correct, yes.

Jen Phillips April: Each of those letters stands for something within this and I know you’ll explain a little bit-

Kathy Marcino: Yes

Jen Phillips April: Let’s talk about the communication piece and how understanding your DISC assessment, where you fall into that category, which of those categories you most fall into, how does that affect your communication style?

Kathy Marcino: Well, the idea is … okay, we all know how to communicate. That’s a given. Are we communicating affectively? The idea is you want to speak the same language as the person that you’re speaking with, whether it be a manager, a colleague or a customer. You want to make sure that you have that common language because you want them to be able to hear you. We joke about saying the same thing to multiple people and getting different responses and you wonder why that happens – it’s really because they heard you differently based on their personality style.

DISC provides that common language, if you will, so that you know how you communicate and then how others want to be communicated with. That’s where it is incredibly valuable when recognizing others’ styles before you try to communicate with them, whether it be non-verbally or crafting a marketing campaign, or you’re writing a blog, or you’re going to a network event. It’s all about how you present yourself and how people perceive you, really.

Jen Phillips April: Right, and knowing who your audience is such a key part of that.

Kathy Marcino: Yeah. That’s the number one rule in sales, right? Know your audience!!

Jen Phillips April: Exactly, because then you can speak to their concerns, you can speak to their objections, it’s much more affective.

Kathy Marcino: Right.

Jen Phillips April: Right, so you had asked me … well, we had had this conversation about is your message being received in the right way, so if everyone … let’s say you work in a team environment and everyone on your team takes this assessment, then you understand much better how to communicate with different personalities. Is that correct?

Kathy Marcino: Exactly. That’s the ideal situation. You want to be able to understand what makes that other person tick, especially in a team environment. You’re all assigned a project, there’s going to be someone that’s naturally going to take a leadership role. There’s going to be somebody that naturally waits for everybody else to make the decision and then they’re just going to go along with it. There’s going to be somebody that probably just holds back and doesn’t say much. What happens if you don’t know that person’s style, then that’s going to get you in trouble because assumptions get made.

Once you understand that, you say, “Oh, I get it now, it makes sense. They are more reserved, therefore they take a little longer to process this information”. They’re not being dismissive or they’re not being cool or cocky or think they’re better than everybody else in the meeting, they’re really being quiet because they’re processing the information, they’re going to take a little longer to make this decision. Nine times out of ten, at the end of the meeting or the project, they’re the one that has the right answer because they’ve taken the time to process it.

A team environment, being able to sit down and take the assessment and see each other’s style, you have those … what I love are those “a-ha” moments where everybody said, “I get it, that makes sense” and you can stop banging your head against the wall wondering why somebody is reacting or behaving the way they are.

Jen Phillips April: Right, which really brings you to your message. If you’re crafting, whether it’s an e-mail campaign or even just a one-on-one e-mail to someone, knowing the language to use and how to phrase things is really going to impact how your message is received and whether or not it’s acted upon.

Kathy Marcino: Right. Everybody’s going to communicate differently and everybody’s going to hear differently, so let’s just get into it, then. Let’s talk about the four styles. We’ve got, as you said, D, I, S and C. The D stands for dominant, the dominant personality type. Well….. there’s probably somebody that you know in your life or in your workplace or in the White House, perhaps, that is very direct and blunt and to the point. It’s their way or the highway, that is a dominant personality.

They are going to come across as very confident, very sure of themselves and very in your face. If you’re selling to a dominant personality, you want to say, “Okay, I know now they’re a dominant personality, I am not going to probably spend a lot of time on all the features and benefits, I’m going to be quick, to the point and highlight the facts because that’s how they make a decision and that’s how they want to be communicated with”. That is the dominant personality.

The inspiring personality. This is where our celebrities fall into play, they’re the stars, they’re the ones that love to talk about themselves and love to look at themselves. They’re the ones that you’re going to meet at a network event where they’re going to shake your hand and they’re looking over your shoulder because they don’t want to miss who’s behind you. That’s an inspiring style. Great in a sales environment, great to get in the door of a customer, not necessarily the perfect one to follow through.

When they communicate, they might be all over the place. They’re going to tell you everything. When you communicate with them, you may have to reign them in a little bit because they’re going to be asking you about this, asking you about this, that shiny object syndrome. That’s how they want to be communicated with. They also like to be recognized, so if you have an I customer, maybe you want to start out with a compliment. Then, you’ll have their attention.

Jen Phillips April: Okay.

Kathy Marcino: The S styles is the supportive style and what we refer to as pretty much the sweetest people on the planet. They are just that, supportive. They are your ultimate team player, so much so that they’re always going to put your needs ahead of theirs, the team’s needs ahead of theirs. They’re going to communicate a little slowly, a little more quietly, they’re going to be … they’re much more reserved than the dominant and the inspiring. They will ask more questions than, say, the dominant personality who’s just going to state more than they ask.

The S is the opposite. They’re going to ask a lot of questions, so in communicating with them, you want to be speaking at a slower pace and you want to give them that sense of safety and that sense of security that, yes, they really could benefit from your product but they’re not going to see a lot of changes, they’re not going to have to come out of their comfort zone too much. That’s your supportive style. You’ll find a lot of supportive styles in administrative type roles, nurses, counselors.

Jen Phillips April: Okay.

Kathy Marcino: The last style’s, the C, our cautious style. They are just that. They’re cautious, they’re contemplative, they’re the thinkers. They are facts and figures all the way, very detail-oriented, not a lot of emotion.

Jen Phillips April: I know some people like that.

Kathy Marcino: You know some people like that, yeah, as do I. You will find them a lot in IT, for sure, surgeons, physicians, pilots. You want them to be, you want them to pay that attention to detail, you don’t want a high I being a heart surgeon, is easily distracted by something else. All the lights and beepers going off. Exactly, it’s like, “What am I … oh right, it’s the heart”. You want to communicate with the C in more non-verbal communication, which is the state that they prefer. They would prefer an e-mail rather than having a conversation.

Meeting a C personality, you’re going to pretty much spot them right away. Very deadpan, not a lot of emotion, not a lot of hand gestures or really too much of body language that you’ll be able to pick out, very reserved. Communicating with them in terms of a marketing campaign or a sales call, they pretty much have done the research already. They’re the person that’s either called you because you’re already the best deal, providing the best quality for the best price, so they’re going to be facts, figures.

If you have any statistics about your product or service, throw those their way. That’s how they like to be communicated. It sounds like a lot, but once you understand it, it becomes second nature when you start to meet people. Then you start to craft your message and you find that you get that connection a lot faster than you would if you didn’t know what made them tick and you spent all your time trying to think about what’s the best way, especially if you’re talking with a C and you’re a high I and they’re not responding.

Now the I’s getting more nervous, so now there’s nervous chatter.

Jen Phillips April: Okay.

Kathy Marcino: The C person just wants this person to stop talking and walk away. A good salesperson, knowing a C, knows when to walk away and it sounds contradictory but a good salesperson knows when to stop selling.

Jen Phillips April: Right.

Kathy Marcino: I think that’s when you make the connection and that person will say, “You know what? They get me, I feel understood and I’m going to call them again”.

Jen Phillips April: Right, because everyone wants to feel understood.

Kathy Marcino: Yeah.

Jen Phillips April: Yeah, so how can you take this and apply it to, say, the solopreneur or a very small, maybe a team of two or three people?

Kathy Marcino: The same way you would with a larger. It starts with you. You’re starting with … whether you’re a solopreneur or whether you’re a CEO, you think about what makes me tick, what motivates me? Having this type of information provides that self awareness and gives you that permission, if you will, to say, “Okay, now I know this is why that person is driving me crazy, because this is how I like to operate”. A solopreneur or somebody who’s starting to build a team, once you know how you like to make decisions and how you like to process information, you’re going to want to bring people in that complement you.

Jen Phillips April: Right.

Kathy Marcino: A lot of people make the mistake of, “I want to hire everybody that’s just like me”. They think, “What a great team if I had five Kathys”. If I had five Kathys, it would be a disaster. We would have a hell of a lot of fun, but we wouldn’t get anything done. We would have tasks, we would have stickies, we would have different color pieces of paper scattered everywhere and great ideas, but we wouldn’t be able to finish one. You have to think about that, especially as a solopreneur when you are responsible for everything.

Jen Phillips April: Right.

Kathy Marcino: You think, “Okay, you know what? There’s some things that I excel at and there’s some things that I may have to bite the bullet and hire somebody to do for me”. In my case, I’m a high I, big surprise. I really need somebody … I have a virtual assistant that helps me. They’re the person that can sit in front of the computer and help me with my social media and help me with my books and finances and all the things that I absolutely hate to do but that’s their strength.

Jen Phillips April: Right.

Kathy Marcino: It allows me the free time to go and do what I like to do and what I’m good at, which is talking with clients. That’s how I think DISC is so incredibly valuable. Starting with yourself and so many people that I’ve worked with just one-on-one, just say, “You know, I kind of thought that’s how I was or people told me over the years that this is how I was, but actually seeing it on paper and seeing how I can relate to others in a more affective way, it’s incredibly valuable”.

Jen Phillips April: Yeah, because once you have that insight, it’s like, “Oh, that’s why I’m doing that”.

Kathy Marcino: Yeah. It’s that V8 moment, remember? It’s like, “Ugh! Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Jen Phillips April: Yeah, very impactful having that self awareness piece.

Kathy Marcino: Yeah. People don’t take the time to do that, unfortunately. They’re always in a decision-making mode, so you may find yourself getting in trouble at times with that. I worked with a gentleman last night and his teammate can’t be any more opposite and they’re both talking about each other independently to me. I’m trying to say, “Well yeah, but here’s why …”, “Well …”, “Well, I think maybe if you said it this way”, but at the end of it, they said, “You know what? I see that we really complement each other”. I was like, “Yes!”

Jen Phillips April: That can be very … you have people who play off of your strengths.

Kathy Marcino: Yeah, but they needed to take themselves out of it.

Jen Phillips April: Right.

Kathy Marcino: I should say, because when you’re in it, you don’t see it.

Jen Phillips April: Right.

Kathy Marcino: It does take somebody like me or someone else to take them out of the moment and look at something objectively and say, “Look at your behavior here, let’s play this out”, and then it’s, “Oh yeah, okay, I get it”.

Jen Phillips April: Kathy, do you work with individuals as well as teams of various sizes to help them, walk them through this?

Kathy Marcino: Yeah, I do and it’s a simple assessment. People think, “Oh, I don’t have the time”. If you have 20 minutes, this will change your life. The assessment itself is 24 questions and you sit down and we’re going to evaluate your decision-making, your communication style, your strengths, more importantly, your blind spots.

Jen Phillips April: So important.

Kathy Marcino: They’re not weaknesses, per se, they’re those areas that if you were to focus on them a little bit more, wow, you can be amazing. In my case, my blind spots would be those C characteristics, that attention to detail, that “policies, procedures”, the stuff that I really can’t stand. I know that I need to know that to be successful, to have my own business, I need to know my finances. I need to know how to do an Excel spreadsheet. I don’t like it but I know to be successful, I need to do that so that’s a blind spot for me.

A blind spot for a dominant personality may be, “You know, you’ve got to soften your edges a little bit to be relatable to people, to not be intimidating to your staff”.

Jen Phillips April: Right.

Kathy Marcino: A customer. That’s a blind spot, so you think of the opposite characteristics as things that you need to work on or just need to be aware of, so that’s what this assessment highlights a little bit and it also shows you who is your complementary style, so who would you work best with, or who would complement you best if you’re in a recruiting situation? These are the characteristics you may want to look for.

That’s the assessment and then I spend time with you and we go over it and we interpret the results. I don’t just say, “Hey, you’re an S and isn’t that fun?” and you go on your way. It’s, “Let’s apply it to … show me a day in the life of you and let’s talk about how your S behavior affects your relationships, professionally and personally”. It’s a neat tool. I’m incredibly passionate about it because I think it’s so incredibly valuable that everybody on the planet should really know this information about themselves.

Jen Phillips April: Right, because once you understand how that … onto yourself, you can start recognizing in other people and just helps you … improves all the communication.

Kathy Marcino: Yeah, I love it.

Jen Phillips April: Everything better.

Kathy Marcino: I know, do you hear the angels? I think they’re singing.

Jen Phillips April: I think so. Kathy, where can we find out more about this? How can we connect with you to find out about DISC training?

Kathy is my e-mail. The website is  You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I have some sample assessments on my website, too, where you can get an idea of what they provide as well as different team workshops that I offer. I have sales team training, team building, and then individual training and coaching programs as well.

Jen Phillips April: Great, good, well, maybe if you have a particular couple of links that you want me to include, I can drop those in when I post this into the group on Facebook.

Kathy Marcino: That would be great. Thank you.

Jen Phillips April: Yeah, thank you. Anything else you want everyone to know?

Kathy Marcino: Just have some patience when dealing with people because they’re doing what they’re hard-wired to do. They’re acting the way they’re meant to act. Have patience until you learn a little bit more about them – then you understand what makes them tick and then you’re able to connect with them. Don’t dismiss somebody right away just because you didn’t get the reaction or the response that you want. Get to know them a little bit better and then you both adapt to each other – I think you’ll find that it’s mutually beneficial for sure!

Jen Phillips April: Great. This was great, thank you Kathy.

Kathy Marcino: Thank you so much for the opportunity.

Jen Phillips April: You’re very welcome. You can send me those links and I’ll go put them up in the group and then I will also post it on YouTube and send you the link.

Kathy Marcino: Great, thank you so much. Take care, everybody. Bye-bye.

Jen Phillips April: Bye-bye.

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