HOW design conference
CMSWire is here reporting live from the How Design Conference in Boston. The conference, which caters to all kinds of creatives, from marketing managers to graphic designers to advertising executives to web designers and strategists alike, aims to teach us a thing or two about being more productive, creative, organized and most of all inspired. Coming from all backgrounds, designing for firms with lots of clients or working as an in-house designer with a staff of five, we designers face a multitude of challenges. The art of communicating effectively, whether it be with other creatives or our business clients, is our most challenging task. Enter Kathy Burton of The Creative Group, a staffing agency for marketing and advertising professionals. In one of the first workshops of the conference, Can’t We All Just Get Along? How to Identify and Work with Different Types of Communicators, attendees came equipped with their DISC profiles, indicating the four primary behavioral styles, each with a very distinct and predictable pattern of observable behavior.

Understanding Your Behavioral DISC Profile

We learned what traits these personalities possessed and how those traits can be misinterpreted by others. We learned how to better tailor our behaviors so as to effectively interact with others that didn't quite communicate in our preferred style. Participants engaged in role-playing and group exercises that proved to highlight the different, creative and systematic ways in which we think and act and make decisions. And though this might be a design conference, these type traits are hardly limited to the design world, as you might recognize yourself or a colleague among the following: * Dominance: Takes the lead in conversations, doesn't always listen, makes statements rather than asking questions, focuses on tasks, and pushes ideas and opinions. * Influence: Talks more than listens, focuses on the "big picture", values relationships, shares personal stories and expresses feelings. * Steadiness: Listens more than talks, presents points of view quietly, focuses on personal values, relationships and harmony, and seeks stability, security and support. * Conscientious: Actively listens, ask questions, focuses on logical, step by step instructions, considers new ideas if sensible, reluctant to express feelings.

The Challenge our Profile Brings Us

Fascinating at least and most useful as best, three hours never seemed so enlightening as we learned that we all face the same challenges when interacting with others because we often fail to recognize how our objectives can vary according to what our bottom line is. My objective as a designer is to create an image that is visually appealing, but a marketing manager needs only to make sure that the image meets their marketing messages. Therefore, seeking feedback about type, color and leading may be futile.

It's All About You

Learning to approach others integral to the creative approach in a way that helps get the feedback necessary to move ahead is key. Ideally, all people should learn how to communicate effectively with everyone, but it's likely that you will need to take the time to tailor your behavior for the sake of others. Take stock in knowing that you are actually doing it to make your work better.