Got a holiday party coming up? Not sure how you’re going to handle the small talk? Here are some tips to help you out. Let the DiSC guide you!
D’s: Talk Results and Goals, Baby
At the holiday party, you can recognize someone who leads purely with their D-style because they typically will show up on time, stay only for a bit, have one stiff drink (neat), and call it a night (they’ve got to go home and do a few things before they can go to sleep). They will mingle and chit-chat, and they ask questions like:
“What’s your team driving toward for 2018?”
“Did your latest project succeed?”
“Are you going to come in on time and budget this year?”
“Did you win/place/show at the Turkey Trot?”
These folks are not warm and fuzzy types. They are busy-busy types who are very action-oriented and results-focused. When you small talk with them, be sure to ask about things like travel plans, bucket list items, and new business ventures. They’ll appreciate being given the chance to talk about these things, and you just might get a rare glimpse into their softer and more “human” side.
i’s: Let’s Dance!
i’s are most at home when it’s time to party! Those who lead with a strong i-style show up to the party decked-out in their absolute most blingy, sparkly, and/or fun holiday attire, so you can’t miss ’em or mistake ’em. They will be laughing, hugging, and spreading good cheer when they aren’t out on the dance floor. When they mingle and chit-chat, they ask questions (and then answer them themselves) like:
“Who are you going to be spending the holidays with? Are you going anywhere? What fun do you have planned? We’re having a big gathering the day after Christmas! You should come…and bring your family and friends. The more the merrier!”
“What’s your favorite part of the holidays? I love the lights, the colors, the spirit…it’s all just so festive!”
“What does your tree look like? Do you theme-decorate or do you have timeless family ornaments that you hang? How about stockings? We have nine at our house…one for each of us PLUS the animals…it’s a riot!”
These folks with knock-your-socks-off social skills can be overwhelming for some, but know that when you small-talk with them you don’t have to do much. Just be sure to ask them about them, and you can pretty much guarantee that you will have to do NO talking at all (they’ll do it all for you before flitting off to dance with a friend…or six!).
S’s: How’s the Family?
S’s find their happy place when they are spending quality time with family or close friends. They are sometimes deeply sentimental and always supportive souls who value time-honored traditions, like latke-making or tree-lighting. For them, the holidays are a time of togetherness and warmth. At the holiday party, they will be the first ones to jump in if help is needed in the kitchen or in the ballroom. Otherwise, they likely stay to the sides and in the background, quietly making small talk with those sitting alongside them. They ask neutral questions like:
“Do you need any help with anything?”
“How is your family?”
“What do you do to celebrate the holiday?”
Inquisitive and sensitive, S-styles are easy-going and laid back. When you small talk with them, you want to make certain that you show genuine warmth, sincerity, and interest in them. Their BS meter is outstanding, so don’t try and fake it with them. Take an active interest in the conversation with them, leave plenty of time to slow things down a bit and have a real conversation, and treat them like they are the only ones in the room. When you do these things, you’ll get to know this person that many seem to regard as introverted or shy, realizing that all the while you’ve had a real gem of a human being right there in front of you.
C’s: How Does the Sound Board Work?
C’s hate small talk. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate it. In fact, they dislike the chit-chat so much that they will often disappear from the action of the party, only to be found behind the sound and light board watching the DJ or engineer pump out the tunes and lights. For the C’s, the holidays are a time for a special kind of task list: make list of gifts to buy and give list to partner to do the shopping (check!); determine the length of lights needed to cover entire front eave of the house using the Pythagorean theorem and then hang ’em (check!); fix and get toy train running (check!); try and find the broken bulb on the strand of lights, then rewire or replace said bulb (check!). If C’s are forced to small-talk, they will typically ask questions like:
“How do you think they determine how much liquor to order for a holiday party?”
“How do the LED lights compare to the old-school, standard Christmas tree bulbs when it comes to energy reduction?”
“How do you suppose one could build a sleigh to fly?”
If you can get them talking, those who lead with a C-style are often incredibly fascinating conversationalists. They think before they speak, which usually means they’ve got well-developed ideas and, when they share them, can provide a highly textured backdrop for a deeper conversational exchange. In other words, shut up and give them time and space to share…you might just learn something.
Not sure what someone’s DiSC Style is? Stay tuned for next week’s blog post, where I’ll teach you all about how to people-read. It’ll come in handy for the holidays–I promise!