Greetings in DiSC®

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I greet people in different DiSC styles?
  • Why would I greet people differently by DiSC styles?
  • What words do I use when greeting people?

This cast explains a simple application of DiSC Behavior on greeting others.

Greeting others seems simple enough. Most of us probably use the same greeting for everyone. If we're greeting a lot of people, it sure makes it easier for us.

But if we greet everyone the same, roughly, how does that square with what Drucker teaches us: Communication is what the listener does? It doesn't. Most of us tend to communicate in ways that make sense to US, but that only works WELL with 25% of our potential audience. Here's how to start making a better first impression even earlier in a conversation or professional exchange.

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If they don't greet, avoid eye contact, you follow?

I'm in software and have lots of high C's.  Some tend to actually turn away to avoid eye contact walking down the hall, when I hold the door open for them following me, etc.  (It's not just to me either.)

I usually just say "Hello" or "Morning" and look at them quickly.  They will always cast their eyes down and mumble something.  If I say nothing, they say nothing.

Given that you are tailoring it to them, should I follow their lead?  I really have learned that they are not being rude.  But it seems rude to do what they do.  Sometimes I just nod - and they probably don't see me do it!  (I'm a 5-5-5-2.)  If they worked for me and I saw them do this to someone, I'd give them feedback on it.  But they are just in the same office.

Corporate Culture

Hi Sunshine,

I believe every company should have an established corporate culture, which includes greetings. People like the ones you described should try to fit in. It is unprofessional to distinguish yourself from the team.

My company has people with different personalities (of course). Several years ago, it was exactly as you explained. Now there is only one guy (everyone here knows him) that mumbles "Hi" or something even shorter when you great him. I can recommend a technique that I use and it works for me. Try to strike a conversation with them, so they see it is not so scary to talk to people. The conversation should be something engaging. I never use the weather unless I want to blame it for something. Then everyone agrees. After a while, it develops well and the I could see how the ideas in the podcast will apply.




I just about melted when you gave your S example introduction.  How would I react if people greeted me that way, every day?  Heavenly.

"how are you, today?"  with a clear pause afterwards which essentially says  "it's your turn to talk and I'll be a respectful listener like you are a respectful listener."

I'm higher C than S, for instance I'm so torn between the reactions of "I'll give you 30 seconds" and "of course I'll help, what can we do" when interrupted.  I've worked so hard to improve my "social, get out there and talk to people" side, and it seems to have come out as high S (sure isn't high I!).

As a modified high C, I still feel like a fish out of water, trying to understand non-engineering half of my company, which is all high D's and high I's.  It'll be very interesting to see how things go as I try modifying my greetings.


Sunshine and Saint:

"morning, no smile, no tonal changes. I's and S's, this is an appropriate greeting. It isn't rude. It doesn't need to be in a sing song voice"


object lesson on the airplane

I listened to this today, after coming home from a trip to DC.  I wound up sitting next to a local congressman and, in hindsight, I have to laugh.  He is definitely high I, and his greeting matched so much what was on the cast.  For a geek, I'm a high I, but this fellow was a true high I.  That situation, and the podcast did give me some thought.

I have to really echo the comment about not teaching social graces being a problem.  It really is imporant, and I'm really trying to get past the problem of figuring out about 30 seconds later (ok, occasionally 3 days later) what I should have done or said in the situation.   The only way I got better at doing presentations was getting feedback (particularly from videotape).  In one case, I've gotten formal feedback from a course (strategies for technical managers) on interpersonal interactions (also from videotape).  But getting good feedback on how to be more effective in social situations is hard, particularly because the best feedback needs to come when I'm just being natural.

One other greeting thought

I think Mark & Mike mentioned this before, but one thing I have learned from a greeting perspective that I think is effective and I want to share.

When my door is open and someone walks into my office, I've learned and worked at turning to face them fully (and sometimes standing up for a handshake -- depending on the person), and giving them a very relaxed smile, usually with the question "what can I do for you?".  If I've been working at my computer, I will almost always hit the window-L key combination to kick it into screen saver mode (black screen), as a further indication that they have my undivided attention.  Particularly when I started this approach, I mentally said to myself "Hi, <name of whoever walked in>, I'm glad to see you" (even if I wasn't necessarily).  I think it's paid off, based on comments from staff and peers.  I've still got the flashing neon sign,but at least people seem feel like I'm approachable.  I really think the smile and the mental message to myself about being glad to see them really do help.  And it has made the "happy to see you" much more genuine and relaxed than it was when I started this.  I have enough D and C that being interrupted isn't necessarily high on my list (and I shut the door when I really cannot be interrupted for anything that doesn't involve blood or fire).