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How To Negotiate a higher Salary: Establish Rapport with a Simple Framework

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Congratulations! You've landed an opportunity to negotiate your salary.

How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

You want to negotiate a higher salary. But wait, how do you ensure that your pitch resonates with the person on the other side of the table? Most experts will tell you that building rapport througout helps you make the pitch. Question is, how do you build that rapport?

I recommend the D.I.S.C. framework, a simple yet powerful tool to understand different communication styles which allows you to deploy your rapport building and negotiation strategy accordingly.

Three phones in a row indicating communication
How to communicate

Understand the D.I.S.C. Framework

The D.I.S.C. framework was developed by psychologist William Marston in the 1920s, and it is still widely used to understand human behavior and communication styles.

The framework categorizes communication styles into four types: Dominant (D), Influential (I), Steady (S), and Conscientious (C). Naturally, each type has unique characteristics and preferences in how they like to provide and receive information.

Our first step is to understand these preferences, in order to adjust our communication to better connect with our rapport building/negotiation counterpart. Here are the four types of communication styles or personality types:

  • Dominant (D): People with dominant personalities are assertive, direct, and results-oriented. They appreciate efficiency, directness, and getting to the point quickly.

  • Influential (I): Individuals with influential personalities are outgoing, sociable, and relationship-oriented. They value social interactions, recognition, and positive feedback.

  • Steady (S): People with steady personalities are cooperative, patient, and harmony-seeking. They prioritize stability, teamwork, and maintaining a peaceful environment.

  • Conscientious (C): Individuals with conscientious personalities are analytical, detail-oriented, and cautious. They appreciate accuracy, precision, and thoroughness.

Identify Celebrities that Align with Each DISC Personality Type

I find it easier to understand the various communication styles or personality types when I relate the four types to well known personalities.

  • Dominant (D): Celebrities such as Elon Musk, Serena Williams, and Oprah Winfrey who are known for their assertiveness, directness, and drive to achieve results.

  • Influential (I): Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Will Smith, and Jimmy Fallon who are known for their outgoing and sociable personalities, with a focus on building relationships and connecting with others.

  • Steady (S): Celebrities such as Fred Rogers, Tom Hanks, and Mother Teresa who are known for their cooperative, patient, and compassionate personalities, with a focus on maintaining harmony and promoting teamwork.

  • Conscientious (C): Celebrities like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Hermione Grainger from Harry Potter are examples of detail-oriented, and cautious personalities, with a focus on precision, accuracy, and thoroughness.

Determine Your Own Style

Now that we know the DISC framework, it's time to examine your own communication style. This requires some quiet time and reflection.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you prefer to get straight to the point and be assertive in your communication style, or do you tend to be more friendly and outgoing in your interactions with others?

  2. Are you naturally inclined to be cooperative and patient in your approach, prioritizing harmony and avoiding conflict, or do you tend to be more detailed and analytical, focusing on facts and data?

  3. When communicating with others, do you find yourself gravitating towards a direct and concise communication style, or do you tend to use a more personable and expressive approach?

  4. Are you someone who prefers to take a collaborative and cooperative approach, seeking input from others and valuing their opinions, or do you tend to be more focused on presenting and analyzing data and information?

  5. Do you tend to pay meticulous attention to details and research, seeking accuracy and precision, or do you prefer a more high-level and conceptual approach that focuses on the bigger picture?

For a fun exercise, review the free quiz included with this blog post!

Determine their style

Now that you understand your own style, you will need to determine the communication style of the HR recruiter or hiring manager you're dealing with. Pay attention to their communication cues, such as the language they use and the areas they focus on with their questions.

For instance, if they have a Dominant (D) personality type, they may ask questions centered around results and outcomes. If they have an Influencer (I) personality type, they may inquire about recognition and networking opportunities. If they have a Steady (S) personality type, they may show interest in team dynamics and work-life balance. And finally, if they have a Conscientious (C) personality type, they may ask about data, details, and research.

Open laptop on an outside table showing how to negotiate a higher salary

create a bridge between both styles

Once you know the styles on each side - yours and theirs, it's time to understand how your information will be received and how to craft your pitch so it is easily digested by your counterpart.

For example, If you are a dominant (D) type communicator dealing with a conscientious (C) type communicator, it's important to be mindful of potential differences in perception. As a D type, you may be focused on getting results quickly, while the C type may prefer to double-check assumptions and be more cautious. Conversely, you may find the C type to be overly slow and uncaring of success, while they may perceive you as impatient or pushy due to your assertive style.

The key takeaway is to invest time in reflecting on the communication style of the person you are negotiating with and then tailor your pitch accordingly. This may involve adjusting your tone, framing your message differently, providing clear and well-supported information, and considering how your counterpart best receives information. By adapting your communication approach to align with their style, you can enhance rapport and increase the likelihood of a successful negotiation outcome.

As we conclude, to be sure there is a wealth of information available on the internet that emphasizes the importance of rapport building in salary negotiations. However, much of this advice tends to be vague and lack actionable steps. When you need to negotiate a higher salary, the only way to do so is to show that you are a confident professional who is ready to speak up for their worth.

Using a tool, such as the D.I.S.C framework, to assess your counterpart's personality type can provide you with an effective execution plan.

Of course, like any tool, DISC is not infallible and can be influenced by biases and cognitive distortions. Nevertheless, it remains a valuable approach to negotiate like a professional by creating rapport and understanding your counterpart's communication style.

D.I.S.C. Framework Quiz - Know your own style
Download PDF • 163KB

Next steps

Enroll in my free training course, "Know Your Worth and Fight for It: 7 Simple Steps to Negotiating the Job Offer of Your Dreams," if you're truly committed to increasing your income by acquiring the essential skills to determine your value and advocate for it. My course offers practical strategies to help you discover your leverage, navigate challenging questions, and be prepared for unexpected obstacles.

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