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Trevor E. S. Smith | How to deal with a variety of different contacts

Published:Sunday | March 31, 2019 | 12:00 AMTrevor Smith - Contributor

What if you had to relate to a variety of new people daily? How would you cope? Is there a behavioural style that is best suited for that situation?

What behavioural styles are most challenged working with a variety of different contacts?

It usually takes more energy for individuals with C- and S-Style preferences, using our DISCerning Communication model, to interact with a constant flow of unfamiliar clients or colleagues.

The S-Style is usually at their best when they can develop long-term relationships. The C-Style is likely to interact professionally without seeking to ‘connect’.

‘Funecdote’: ‘Nobody knows where I live’.

Clive complains that no member of the congregation had ever been to his home.

It is still not clear whether that was as a result of members’ negligence or Clive’s aloofness. One member thought that a visit would be the last thing that Clive would have wanted!

What styles are more comfortable working with a variety of different contacts?

The I- and D-Styles are most comfortable working with a variety of different contacts. The I-Style is actually energised by the prospect of being able to interact with a variety of persons.

The D-Style might be driven more by spin-off networking benefits.

‘Funecdote’: ‘Here’s another one for you!’

One booth at the conference had constant traffic. Ivan, busily roamed the floor (some say parking lot) to invite viewers.

What strategies can you adopt to get more comfortable working with a variety of different contacts?

The fundamental principle would be to raise aspects of your I-Style traits.

This involves a conscious decision to be more adventurous in your social interactions.

The adventure will require you to treat some strangers as if you have known them for some time. It is a mind game that you can play. One trick is to pretend that the next contact is an old school friend.

What if this ‘old school friend’ does not ‘remember you’ and gives you a cool reception?

It is important to note that people usually respond in kind to how they are treated. Your warm greeting is likely to evoke a positive response.

But what if in fact, you are not warmly received? Should you really take that on board?

Funecdote: “The visitor turns the table”

Having been ignored for weeks by members of the congregation, the visitor placed himself at the exit and extended a broad smile and a warm handshake to everyone leaving.

The bottom line is, working with a variety of different contacts is not without risk. You will not be able to predict how every single interaction is going to go. Your best bet is to work on how you respond to situations that do not turn out the way you planned them.

One answer is to consistently reinforce in your own mind, the fact that even a blunt rejection is not to be taken personally.

Practical tip:

Get some low-risk practice. Volunteer with your old school, a charity or a hospital to interact with people that you do not know. Work to genuinely connect with each one.

Another key is to constantly remind yourself of why you are making this adjustment. When you find compelling reasons, the transition will be more comfortable.

Finally, listen to the voice of professionalism that is prompting you to be the best you can be. Failure is not an option. Put on your professional armour and overwhelm the next set of new contacts with warmth and charm.

The fact is that working with a variety of new contacts may introduce a higher level of exposure to being slighted. However, your goal is to get to the point where it does not take as much energy for you to interact with a constant flow of new personalities.

In the final analysis, when all else fails and you feel like giving in to your natural preferences, remind yourself of your goal and make the extra effort.


Request a copy of our publication DISCerning Communication: Ready Guide To Interpersonal Relations, Leadership and Coaching, by emailing:

- Trevor E. S. Smith, Success with People Academy solutions align, drive and track performance. Our SPIKE performance management, governance and compliance e-platform supports compliance, tracks performance and guides learning and development. We certify leadership professionals and coach/mentors and develop engaged, high-performing teams. Avoid bad hires with FinxS solutions from Extended DISC. Ask about how to create your own turn-key coaching business. Email: