How to use DISC to Prepare for Meetings

Adam Stamm

meeting preparation header image

Use DISC to Make Meetings Effective

Running an effective meeting goes beyond setting goals, creating an agenda, and having an outline of talking points.

Don’t get me wrong; these tasks ARE crucial for running an effective meeting. 

However, understanding the meeting attendees’ personalities, motivations, and stressors is equally essential to effectively communicate a message, goal, or proposal that you are organizing the meeting around. 

When you understand the personalities of your attendees, your message will be accepted more quickly, and you will be able to speak directly to their concerns.

To better understand your meeting attendees, we use a tool called DISC.

In this article, you will read about: 

  1. An introduction to the DISC Model and how it works
  2. The three essential tips that will prepare you to run an effective meeting: 
    1. Defining the purpose/goals 
    2. Selecting and inviting attendees 
    3. Preparing your talking points. 
  3. How you can leverage DISC insights when planning and running your meeting.

Like any new skill, learning how to plan and execute a meeting will take time. 

However, it’s a worthwhile skill for anyone who wants to take on more leadership and responsibility and be better equipped to accomplish their goals.

Introduction to DISC

William Moulton Marston theorized the DISC Model while trying to improve his invention, the lie detector

During this time, Marston outlined the predictability of people’s temperaments and behaviors. In 1928, he published The Emotions of Normal People, which laid the groundwork for the DISC Assessment we know today. 

Marston’s model helps us understand someone’s emotional needs, fears, and observable behaviors based on one of four personality styles:

This personality style seeks to solve challenges and showcase authority. Individuals with this style are decisive and will take risks. They fear being taken advantage of or losing control.

The I-Personality Style is friendly and sociable. They seek out relationships and interaction. They are optimistic and trusting of others. They fear being left out or of losing the social approval of others.

This personality type seeks stability. They seek out systems and teams that provide them the stability they seek. They are patient, but they fear sudden changes or loss of security.

The C-Personality Type has a high need for accuracy. They follow the rules and will likely spend lots of time digging into the data and details. Their need for accuracy, requires that they work at a more cautious pace 

If you are new to DISC, I want to invite you to take our free assessment. If you want to learn more about your style, you can purchase the full report.

The purpose of this model isn’t to place you or anyone into a box. It’s to help guide you toward the behavioral and psychological needs that we all have. 

Keeping this information in mind, let’s consider the tips you should use to prepare for your meetings.

Take our free DISC Assessment! This 15-minute assessment will provide you with an introduction to DISC. Start your free DISC Assessment–>

Prepare for Meetings Using DISC

Austin powers meme for poorly planned meeting

How DISC helps you define the purpose, goals, and agenda of your meeting.

In my opinion, the greatest reason meetings fail to be productive is because the meeting organizer doesn’t define the purpose or goal of the meeting. 

Instead, the meeting is disorganized, unclear, moves too quickly, or only reiterates facts that should have been sent in an email and left at that.

When you spend the time defining the purpose of a meeting, you will make it much more engaging.

As you think about your agenda, it’s important to remember how your DISC Style might influence your goals and purpose of the meeting.

Below, I’ve outlined how each DISC Styles typically behaves when planning a meeting.

D Personality Meeting Agenda

D-Personality Type Agendas

Those with the D-Style will want the agenda to be concise. The goal of the meeting will include completing tasks and assignments. They will want the meeting to be efficient and productive.

These are great aspects of a meeting. However, if you have this DISC personality type, consider the styles of the meeting attendees or the topic you are discussing.

Are you giving your attendees (or the topic) enough time to discuss it? Are you forcing a solution from a single meeting when it might take a few meetings to identify the best solution? Don’t rush the meeting, discussions, or set an agenda that is too aggressive.

I Personality Types will have a fluid agenda focusing on the big picture and will likely want to include some form of socialization.

I-Personality Type Agendas

If you have this style, ensure you have set a clear agenda and manage the time spent collaborating. Ask someone to be a taskmaster who can steer discussions toward the topic you created the meeting around.

Bringing groups together to accomplish the work while having fun is a noble goal! However, make sure you are setting an agenda that provides enough structure to get the work done.

S-Personality Type Agendas

The S-Style prefers a structured meeting centered around an agenda. They will follow a predictable process and will encourage participation. 

This style prefers to gain input from the entire group. If you have this style, give people a space to comment in their own time if they need more time to think. If there isn’t consensus, allow the meeting to continue.

It’s great to have a structured agenda. However, allow conversations to deviate if it will help the team uncover solutions or potential hazards to the purpose of the meeting.

This personality style will set a formal, task-oriented, detailed agenda. They will likely have a time allocation for each agenda item.

C Style Meeting Agenda

C-Personality Type Agendas

If you have this Style, be open to more discussion time than you feel is necessary. Don’t fret during the meeting if you go off your schedule. The goal of the meeting isn’t to complete a task; it’s to converge around a solution or strategy.

After you have set your agenda, consider whether your DISC Style influenced it.

Determine if you need to revise it to match the discussion needed by the topics on your agenda. This simple check could save your meeting or, at the very least, make it stronger in the long run.

Only Invite Relevant Participants (appropriately un-invite everyone else using DISC)

After you have identified the goal and agenda of your meeting, choosing who to invite is the next crucial step you need to take before you host your meeting.

This step might seem easy but think about meetings that went completely off track. Someone was likely in attendance that shouldn’t have been. 

This could mean they took control of the meeting or their presence caused another meeting participant to stay silent due to misunderstood expectations.

To understand how this occurs, think about two friends you have. You likely have a different relationship with each friend individually than when you are with them. If you have the same relationship with them as you do with them individually, think about adding another friend to the mix. How would that group be different?

Our personalities play a huge role in how we behave and communicate with each other.

At work, it can be easy to feel that everyone who touches a project should be included in every meeting about it. However, if you engage in this tactic, your meetings will take much longer than necessary, or they won’t be as effective.

What we need to practice is only inviting the individuals who are directly involved with the conversation. 

This means leaving people out, which can be difficult to communicate.

Fortunately, DISC provides insights that can allow us to calm their fears over potential assumptions they might have about being left out of the meeting.

Here is how you can ‘dis-invite’ each style and calm their fears over not being part of the conversation:

D Style Fears

  • This style fears being taken advantage of.
  • They measure their personal worth through their impact and the results they produce.

How to un-invite them:

Let them know that you don’t want to waste their time. Be direct with them and share the outline of your meeting. You can always let them join if they make a strong case to be part of your meeting. However, stand your ground if you don’t feel they should be part of the discussion.

I Style Fears

  • Fears of losing social approval
  • This style will stress and agonize if they feel their appearance to the group or organization is damaged.

How to un-invite them:

Let them know how much they matter to the project and/or team. Acknowledge that you will bring them into the meeting when the time is right. Be positive and genuine about your commitment to them. Be open to them helping craft a solution if you feel they have something to offer.

S Style Fears

  • Fears of loss of stability
  • This style feels remorse when they believe their environment has become unfriendly or that team cohesion is threatened.

How to un-invite them:

Let them know your decision not to include isn’t due to anything happening on the team. Reiterate how your meeting is to help support the team and to divide and conquer responsibilities, and you will bring the full team together when it makes sense.

C Style Fears

  • Fears of criticism of their work
  • This style avoids being in situations where it looks like they made a mistake or something was wrong with their work.

How to un-invite them:

Make sure these individuals know that your decision not to include them in the meeting wasn’t because of anything wrong with their work. Let them know that you want to include them when there is an opportunity for them to dig into new details. They will appreciate the structure you are giving them.

You might feel that preparing not to include someone in a meeting is going a bit too far, but these small miscommunications can cause a decay in trust. When trust is lacking in teams, teamwork starts to break down.

At the end of the day, you don’t have anything to lose by taking the time to think about the other team members and try to put their psychological needs first. They will appreciate the effort even if they think it’s unnecessary.

Prepare Meeting Talking Points using DISC

Writing down meeting talking points might seem like a poor use of time. After all, isn’t your agenda enough to help you know what you should talk about?

This meeting preparation tip will likely elicit many different perspectives. However, I believe that if you want to communicate effectively, you should also prepare your talking points. 

When you do this and use DISC, you can learn which points you need to make and which person specifically you should make them to.

To help explain how this idea works, I want to use an example meeting topic that is frequently discussed: pushing back a project’s start date.

The agenda for this meeting topic will likely include getting updates from meeting attendees. The purpose of the meeting is to decide what action to take.

Depending on the action you believe is right, you must prepare specific talking points to persuade everyone in the meeting to understand your perspective.

Here is how DISC can help you prepare talking points for this type of meeting:

D Style Meeting Talking Points

D-Style Meeting Talking Points

This Style has a need to be in control.

As you prepare to meet with someone with this style, take time to understand their goals and perspective. Give them the facts as you see them, and let them walk you through how they would decide. Whether you side with how they would make the decision or not, they will be grateful and more willing to accept your point of view.

Prepare to spend time creatively problem-solving the situation or reviewing all of the creative ideas you have already considered. Like the D-Style, they will appreciate being involved in the decision-making process. However, their aim is less to control the process and more just to be involved.

I-Style Meeting Talking Points

This Style seeks enthusiasm and connection.

S-Style Meeting Talking Points

The S-Style seeks stability.

When discussing a perspective that will cause change and disruption, you can help this style navigate the change by ensuring that you have collected feedback from everyone affected. They will appreciate your willingness to look out for the group and will be ready to support your decision.

Give as much information as possible to support your decision. If possible, give them space to read, reflect, and ask more questions. Their cautious pace might be hard to handle when a decision demands quick responses. Providing one hour to work through the new information independently will be enough. They may even find something that you missed.

C Style Meeting Talking Points

I-Style Meeting Talking Points

The C-Style values being accurate and precise.

How DISC Ai Can Help Your Meetings

Did you enjoy the insights from this article?

We work with hundreds of organizations to deploy and integrate the language of DISC to improve workplace issues like Meetings.

Learn how our newest product, DISC Ai, can seamlessly integrate the language of DISC into emails, video calls, and external conversations.

Learn more –>