It’s great when you have someone’s abeo Social Style profile and can get a really good picture of How they behave and How to best communicate with them.

What about people that you work with, clients, vendors, etc.., that have not take taken the survey? Here’s a few questions you can answer to yourself to help identify their primary Social Style. Then you can account for it in your communications.

The abeo Social Style model measures four areas of behavior and uses the  letters D, I, S, C to describe this behavior.

D is for Dominance
I is for Influence
S is for Steadiness
C is for Conscientiousness

Briefly, here are some core behaviors of each letter (style).

Dominance (D): are faster paced (movement, talking, deciding) more direct (to the point), task/goal orientated (want to win) and personally more guarded (do not disclose personal information readily)

Influence (I): are faster paced (movement, talking, deciding), more direct (to the point), people orientated (seek out and enjoy the company of others) and personally more open (disclose personal information readily)

Steadiness (S): are slower paced (slower to move, talk and respond), more indirect (take time to get to the point and gives detailed information), relationship orientated (want to get to know you) and personally more open (will disclose personal information)

Conscientious (C) or Compliant: are slower paced (slower to move, talk and respond), more indirect (take time to get to the point and gives detailed information), task/goal orientated (wants to do things the right way first time) and personally more guarded (do not disclose personal information readily)

So how do we quickly identify a person’s style in order to adapt our communication?

Looking at the two axis in the graph above we can simply focus on two areas of behavior, directness and openness. So to quickly identity the styles of other people we can ask ourselves two questions

  1. Are they more direct and fast-paced (to the right) or indirect and slower-paced (to the left)?
  2. Are they more guarded (to the top) and task-oriented or open and people-oriented (to the bottom)?

Once you answer these two questions you have determined the person’s Primary Style.


Here are some points about the two axis.

Direct and fast-paced or indirect and slower-paced

Directness and Pace


Direct/Faster-Paced People (D and I Styles right of the vertical line)


  • Frequently uses gestures and voice intonation to emphasize points
  • Less patient; more competitive
  • Often makes emphatic, generalized statements
  • Sustained eye contact
  • Frequent contributor in the team
  • Obvious and strong body language or gestures
  • Expresses opinions readily and openly
  • More likely to introduce self to others

Indirect/Slower-Paced People (S and C Styles left of the vertical line)


  • Infrequent use of gestures and voice intonation to emphasize points
  • More patient and cooperative
  • Often makes qualified, well-structured statements
  • Subtle body language or gestures
  • Infrequent but profound contributor in the team
  • More likely to wait for others to introduce themselves
  • Reserves expression of opinions

Guarded and task-oriented or open and people-oriented


Open/People-Oriented People (I and S Styles below the horizontal line)


  • Shows feelings and enthusiasm freely
  • More relaxed and warm
  • Emphasizes main ideas
  • Goes with the flow
  • Conversation can wander in team meetings
  • Opinion-oriented
  • Animated facial expressions
  • Easy to get to know
  • Friendly body language or gestures
  • Initiates/accepts physical contact


Guarded/Task-Oriented People (D and C Styles above the horizontal line)


  • Keeps feelings private
  • Limited range of facial expressions
  • More formal and proper
  • Avoids/minimizes physical contact
  • Goes with the suggested program
  • Speaks in specifics; cites facts and examples
  • Formal body language or gestures
  • Conversation stays on subject


Putting it all together

When you combine both axis, you see each of the four different behavioral styles. Individuals who exhibit guarded and direct behaviors are Dominance Styles; direct and open behaviors are Influence Styles; open and indirect behaviors are Steadiness Styles; and indirect and guarded behaviors are Conscientious Styles.

Remember, people are more than just their outward behavior. There are many reasons WHY a person acts the way they do. These are used to describe how people behave and may be perceived by others.