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Blog Post: June 2021

CPD Junkie Blog

It’s best to use the DiSC behavioural system as a basic framework to help you present your treatment plan based on your patient’s “behavioural type” and their priorities."

Jen Truong

Motivating Different Personality Types using the DiSC Behavioural System

Ever take a personality test and wonder how accurate the results are?  More importantly, what can we gain from these different “personality types?” Communication. Particularly, how to communicate effectively with people who may be ‘wired’ differently. Dentists are always striving to motivate patients to adopt better dental hygiene regimes and accept treatment plans. However, the real challenge arises in tailoring these difficult conversations in a way that the patient is motivated to get something done and actually pay for it!

The DiSC behavioural system, originally developed by William Mouton Marston, broadly describes four different observable tendencies/ behavioural types and the personality traits often associated with them. In turn, this can give us a better insight of their everyday decision making process, personal preferences and communication style.

Reference: Marston, W. M. (1928). Emotions Of Normal People. Kegan Paul Trench Trubner And Company.

Dominance (D)

This type of patient needs to see results. There is no time for small chit-chat. They want you to get straight to the point and provide a solution. “There’s hole in your tooth, so let’s fill it.” Time is valuable and by respecting what they value, you are more likely to resonate well with them.

Influence (I)

Similar to the Instagram Influencer, this patient likes to socialise and build relationships. Don’t worry about the nit-picky details and focus your energy on carrying a conversation centred around their concerns. These patients are naturally enthusiastic and optimistic and will likely be keen to get treatment started.  Get them involved in an effective oral hygiene regime and they will likely follow through.

Steadiness (S)

The quiet patient. This patient is described to be tactful, even-tempered and focuses on cooperation, consistency, and security. Their quiet nature may be due to anxiety, so it’s it best to provide them with enough information to inform them but abstain from bombarding them with too much. Small, gentle steps work best, similar to teaching someone. For example: To place a crown on a tooth, it usually takes two visits. One visit will be used to prep the tooth and place a temporary crown on it. The second visit is when we take off the temporary crown and place the actual crown on the tooth.

Conscientiousness (C)

Finally, this is the reserved, analytical, and systematic patient that highlights the importance of quality, competency and precision. These patients tend to ask a lot of questions and expect detailed responses. It’s best to provide the relevant information with pamphlets (when possible) and guide the conversation, otherwise you may end up on a tangent. That way they can do their own research after the appointment.

Although this is may seem rather simplistic as patients are more complex and can be a combination of various traits. It’s best to use the DiSC behavioural system as a basic framework to help you present your treatment plan based on your patient’s “behavioural type” and their priorities. However, it should also be adjusted according to the individual’s needs and not be used as a substitute to build meaningful relationships.

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