How to Spot Someone’s DISC Personality Type in Under 60 Seconds

You’re in a sales setting, and you want to present yourself in a way that will appeal to your buyer.

You’re in a negotiation and you want to know how to understand the motivations of the other party.

You’re on a first date and you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past all over again!

So how do you spot someone’s DISC personality type quickly and effectively?

  1. Assess whether they are verbal or nonverbal
  2. Dominant – non verbal
  3. Inspiring – verbal
  4. Supportive – non verbal
  5. Conscientious – verbal

Assess whether they are verbal or nonverbal

This is a major clue to discovering personality type.  When you meet someone for a first meeting, within 60 seconds you should be able to discover whether they are verbal or non verbal.  The DISC personality types shake down this way regarding talking:

Dominant – non verbal

The dominant is a doer, not a talker, so they don’t want to sit and chat.  They are verbal in a unique way though.  You get a feeling from the Dominant person that they want to get on with it.  You can almost see them drumming their fingers on the table waiting for you to get to the point.

They hate wasted time.  In fact, wasted time is their biggest pet peeve.  So they don’t want to sit and listen to you talk about last night’s football game or what your family did on vacation.  They want you to get to the point and to help them further their goals.

They are not going to be chatty.  So when you meet someone who feels intimidating and doesn’t talk, you’ve found a Dominant.  Get on with it and don’t waste their time.

Inspiring – verbal

The Inspiring person is verbal; highly verbal.  They will begin by talking, probably doing a lot of talking.  They will appear to be bright and chipper.  They may tell jokes and appear to be setting you at ease, or trying to impress you with their witty or clever banter.

Their greatest fear is social rejection, so they want to make sure that you like them, even if you’re a salesperson trying to sell them something, or a person asking them for a job.

They are quite easy to spot as they use gestures, are colorful and interesting, and talk about topics beyond the workplace.

The Inspiring person isn’t terribly concerned with time.  They want to have a conversation, and they would like to discuss an exciting idea with you.  Don’t be afraid to engage them in conversation, but remember the most important rule of influence: ‘never outshine the  master.’

Supportive – non verbal

The Supportive person is non verbal.  They are doers, not talkers.  They ‘feel’ different from the Dominant however, who is also non verbal, but can be quite intimidating.   The Supportive person feels more timid and kind.

Their biggest fear is getting into a conflict with someone, or offending another person, so they don’t want you to be uncomfortable, and they don’t want to force themselves on you.

They will likely listen politely to you and nod and smile.  They do want to get to know you personally.  You will never go wrong by asking about their family and their personal life.  They want to build trust before engaging in a relationship, whether that relationship is a business or personal one.

So ask them questions.  Remark on pictures of family if you see them.  Ask them how their weekend was and whether they have vacation plans for the summer.

Conscientious – verbal

Like the Inspiring type, the Conscientious person is verbal, but they are verbal in quite a different way.

They like to talk about the task at hand.  They aren’t likely to discuss football or tell you a joke.  They want to get down to business, and they want to get into the detail, likely on a deep level.  They will have many questions for you, and may appear skeptical or distant.  This doesn’t mean they aren’t interested.  They naturally see what’s wrong before they see what’s right.

Compliment them on their deep knowledge, and ask for their advice.  How do they see the project being a success?  Give them a chance to show off their competence and to discuss the hours of research that they’ve already done on the topic.  They will be happy if they’re allowed to show that they are highly competent.  Let them talk.

In summary:

Of course, there is more to a person than whether they are verbal or non verbal, but these are important clues to discovering their personality type.

Assessing whether a person is verbal or non verbal is the first clue to discovering their DISC personality type.  The DISC styles shake down this way:

  1. Dominant – non verbal
  2. Inspiring – verbal
  3. Supportive – non verbal
  4. Conscientious – verbal

Additional resources

Thanks for reading this article on what How to spot someone’s DISC personality type in under 60 seconds.  Below are additional resources from Getting People Right, the global provider of online human resources and leadership tools:

Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here:

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