“No one knows better how to help the former you like the present you.” These are the words of award-winning and eight-figure entrepreneur Stephen Scoggins. As someone who went from being homeless to running multiple businesses, Scoggins has lived this statement to its depths.
Today, we are all facing a world that has been completely reshaped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have taken a bit hit, people are struggling to pay the mortgage payments on their homes, and people are questioning everything about their lives. Many today are looking for answers.
The Life Mastery System creator is not an overnight success. Just like any other entrepreneur, Stephen Scoggins went through unthinkable challenges before he became the owner of six thriving companies. Having been in the business for over 20 years, he has successfully braved numerous business difficulties that even threatened the economy and has always managed to come out victorious. If there is one thing that Stephen is popularly known for, it is that he never gives up easily. He is the living proof that life can be so much better for someone who slept in a borrowed friend’s car after launching a 9-figure construction company at the age of 22.
From sleeping in a car to constructing multimillion-dollar businesses, Stephen Scoggins is a spokesperson to individuals seeking entry to the entrepreneurial world. “What I would like to be known for is how many lives I can help to create positive changes within their lives. My heart is to create a legacy that outlives my existence by changing the lives of others for the better.” Stephen has incorporated his philanthropic beliefs into his work to empower those around him to look beyond themselves.
Great communicators make more money, get more done, and have higher rates of satisfaction in their relationships. However, everyone has a natural communication style based on their innate gifts and personality.
One of my favorite personality assessments is the DiSC profile. I love DiSC because it focuses so much on how you communicate with others. I believe everyone can benefit from knowing their DiSC communication style, so here I’ll give an overview of the DiSC profile and how you can use it to communicate better.
An Overview of DiSC Communication Style
The philosophy behind the DiSC profile is similar to the Greek philosophy of the four humors. This philosophy, developed by the ancient physician Hippocrates, taught that there were essentially four kinds of personalities. Carl Jung, the father of modern psychology, also believed that four factors determine a person’s nature.
The DiSC profile teaches the same thing. The word DiSC is an acronym for the four basic personality types:
D – Dominance (The Dominators)
i – Influence (The Influencers)
S – Steadiness (The Stabilizers)
C – Conscientiousness (The Contemplators)
Dominance types are the most direct and results-driven. Influence types are the most extraverted and conversational. Steadiness types are the most agreeable and understanding, and Conscientious types are the most analytical and careful. Each personality type has its strengths, weaknesses, and preferences that will strongly determine the way you think and how you interact with other people.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Communication Style
Growth and immaturity for each type will look very different. It’s important that you identify which DiSC communication style fits you the most, because it will tell you a lot about how you’re coming across to other people and the mindset you’ll need to adopt to improve as a communicator.
At their best, Dominators are bold and decisive. They can take charge and inspire confidence in the people around them. Dominators are often very pragmatic and objective, and they appreciate concise communication. They’re the least likely to waste words, and they will speak their mind plainly.
However, D personalities are also the most likely to steamroll people. At worst, the DiSC communication style can come across as abrasive and disagreeable, and Dominators can come across as confrontational even when they aren’t trying to be. Furthermore, they can fall into an overly black-and-white mentality and try to be “right”.
D’s grow when they stop talking to win and start dialoguing to understand and empathize. When dominators stop assuming they know everything and become curious about other perspectives, they are very dynamic leaders. The key is that it has to be their real attitude. Dominators who don’t change their mindset will only come across as disingenuous.
Listens first and speaks last
Asks questions in order to learn
Speaks first, talks over people
Asks questions to make a point
Influencers are generally very positive and energetic people. If you’re an Influencer, you’re probably naturally persuasive and engaging. The issue with influencers is that they’re prone to talking too much. Not only do they tend to talk over people, but they also can ramble. Their energy can be too much for some people, and this is especially true for Contemplators.
Influencers grow as communicators simply by cutting their talking in half. When they do talk, they should slow their speech down to be as soothing and relaxing as possible. When Influencers add these traits to their DiSC communication style, their natural warmth and positivity takes on a broader appeal.
Listens more than talks
Talks slowly and in a soothing tone
Unwavering eye contact
Asks questions and then shuts up
Takes too long to make a point
Talks too fast and too loudly
People with high steadiness bring the warmth of the Influencers with calmer presentation. They’re primarily concerned with other people’s comfort. Therefore, a Stabilizer’s DiSC communication style will focus on courtesy and establishing trust.
Where Stabilizers struggle is where Dominators excel – bluntness. Stabilizers can beat around the bush or simply refuse to speak their mind rather than risk offending anyone. This can be problematic for a couple of reasons. First, they can actually come across as disingenuous and untrustworthy, which is the exact opposite of what they want. Second, they can become resentful if they keep too much to themselves and fall into passive aggression.
When Stabilizers boldly tell the truth without fear of rejection or controversy, their communication skyrockets. Combined with their compassion and agreeableness, a transparent Stabilizer is a powerful messenger.
High C people are the most detail-oriented and analysis-driven. Like Dominators, they prize objectivity, but they are more meticulous and observant by nature. The prize logic and structure in equal measure, and they seek data to drive their decisions.
Contemplators are the most likely to get bogged down in the details. They can become so determined to get all the information that they forget why they need it and whether or not it’s relevant. Moreover, they can forget the fact that human beings (themselves included) are primarily emotional creatures seeking emotional connection. Because of this, they can come across as cold, inflexible, and critical.
The Contemplator’s DiSC communication style becomes most effective when they use information to supplementa message rather than make their entire message information. They become persuasive when they accept that not every conversation is about logic, but about connecting. By becoming just as curious about people as they are about things, Contemplators exude thoughtfulness and precision.
Great leaders are always marked by fantastic communication skills. Abraham Lincoln was known for persuading his infamously divided cabinet by telling stories. As many as 250,000 people at a time traveled from all over the country to listen to Martin Luther King Jr. give speeches. How did these men become so effective? Among other things, they followed the principles of great communicators.
The Core Principles of Great Communicators
The reality is that there are a number of various communication styles among world-class communicators. For simplicity, I’ll define a world-class communicator as an influencer of industry and culture who typically has a much higher net worth than the overwhelming majority.
Some leaders like Mr. Rogers are more soft-spoken. Others like Donald Trump tend to be more bold and grandiose. Nevertheless, I would argue that there are fundamental principles of great communicators that they all follow. I’ve seen these types of people up close in seminars, board meetings, and one-on-one conversations, and I’ve observed very similar patterns in them all despite their unique differences.
In this post, I’ll share the 7 principles of great communication that I’ve had the honor of observing in world-class communicators. I believe that no matter what your personal communication style is and where you are in your hero’s journey, you can implement these principles to become a positive force of nature in any environment and increase the respect, compensation, and influence you receive.
Be an Influencer, Not a Manipulator
Please note that I’m about to share is not to be used for manipulation. Manipulators come from a selfish place, but I believe that influencers come from a selfless place. Frankly, I don’t think that any of these principles will work for you if you’re trying to control other people or use them. They will only work if you’re genuinely interested in the person across from you and are working for something greater than yourself.
“Manipulators come from a selfish place, but influencers come from a selfless place.”
So before you implement these tactics, check your motives and ask yourself why you want to be a great communicator. If the only answer is you want more money or status, don’t be ashamed. Nevertheless, I’d encourage you to dig deeper. You exist with a specific purpose beyond yourself, no matter who you are, and you won’t truly be fulfilled until you figure out what that is and start living it out.
Principle #1 – Lean In
At JPI, we define leaning in as spending however much time and energy you must in order to fully understand another person’s perspective. It means completely withholding judgement and pushing against them until you really hear where they’re coming from. This doesn’t mean you need to agree with them, but it does mean you need to really see through their eyes.
Great communicators are less concerned with being right than they are with bringing a positive outcome to others. They aren’t fighting to save face – they check their egos at the door and are open to having their minds changed. Empathy is perhaps the most important trait for any great leader. It can turn enemies into peaceful neighbors or even friends. This is why leaning in is #1 in the principles of great communicators.
Principle #2 – Listen More than You Speak
This build off of leaning in, because nothing will make you more interesting and effective than listening. It’s also the only way you’ll ever gain a different perspective than yours, and you need other perspectives to be successful. The simple act of shutting up, saying nothing, and paying attention to somebody else is so powerful, because most people never do it. Yet the wisest person is generally the last person to speak.
“The wisest person is generally the last person to speak.”
Here’s an easy way to practice this principle of great communicators: the next time someone is talking to you about something important to them, close your eyes so you don’t get distracted and listen intently. Nod along to what they say and give verbal cues to show that you are listening. People may ask you what you’re doing. If they do, tell them the truth. You’re trying to become a better listener and really hear what they’re saying, and you don’t want to get distracted. If you do this, you will build so much trust so quickly.
Principle #3 – Be Clear
I once overheard Dave Ramsey say the following: “It’s unkind to be unclear.” Clarity takes effort and focus, because language is really complex and everyone operates from a completely different frame of reference. Nevertheless, we owe it to everyone in our lives to choose our words carefully and fully explain what we’re trying to say. Expecting others to track with us with 100% accuracy is not reasonable.
To do this, we have to care more about the other person’s comprehension than we do about our time. We simply have to get rid of the false expectation that other people should know what we’re saying. It’s not their job to understand us, it’s our job to make them understand. This is core to the principles of great communicators.
Principle #4 – Be Honest
We should always be treating people how we want to be treated. No one wants to be lied to, you shouldn’t lie to others. Not only is it manipulative and wrong, but it’s the fastest way to destroy trust. Without trust, you can’t have healthy relationships, and without healthy relationships, you cannot lead effectively or have a successful life.
It’s easier to destroy trust than you might think. People are better at picking up lies than even they know, often subconsciously registering them before consciously realizing it. Over time, the more you lie (even by omission) the less someone will trust you. That’s why great communicators are always focused on being authentic as a habit.
Principle #5 – Walk the Talk
Great communicators aren’t just honest with others – they’re honest with themselves. They hold themselves accountable to the same rules and expectations they hold others to. This may be fifth in the order of principles of great communicators, but it’s in strong competition with principle #1 for the title of most important. In reality, we are always communicating. Our lives and actions are going to speak louder than words.
Principle #6 – Honor
Renowned faith leader Danny Silk once defined honor as “treating somebody as though they’re Jesus himself.” Regardless of your worldview, I think this is a pretty perfect description. Can you imagine if you lived this way?
The quickest way to lose the confidence of others is gossip, which I define as putting someone else down in the presence of others. You may think this builds you up, but the people around you will look at you differently, even if they laugh and agree with you. Deep down they will begin to ask, “Do they talk this way about me?”
People who display honor, on the other hand, always express gratitude for others. When in doubt, they praise others and give the credit away. Otherwise, they say nothing at all.
Principle #7 – Give More Value Than Expected
Great communicators consistently over-deliver. They aren’t afraid to give away something for free. Mind you, they know when to negotiate and stand up for themselves, but they love to give their audience something they weren’t expecting. It could be something small like a funny story. It could also be useful advice that nobody paid for. Regardless, they pack their messages full of meat, and they are allergic to fluff.
Invest in Your Communication Skills
World-class communicators got to where they are because they weren’t shortsighted. Twenty years ago, they were thinking about today, focusing on creating a legacy of blessings and possibilities in order to make the largest impact possible. So what are you going to do with these 7 principles of great communicators?
If you apply and practice these principles every day starting right now, you will see positive change in your relationships, career, and income sooner or later (and probably sooner).
However, as you advance, it will become that much more important that you identify your purpose so that you can live a fulfilling life. We at the Journey Principles Institute are here to help you with exactly that.