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UMass Donahue Institute

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ODLS recommended vendor: BEST Instruments for communication

BEST Instruments are a series of learning instruments designed to help employees understand and improve their performance/behavior in leadership, management, communication, presentation, sales, interpersonal relations, team interaction, and other areas vital to a company’s overall performance. The BEST classifications are based on the work of William M. Marston, Ned Herrmann, and James Brewer, who measured dominant patterns of behavior in individuals. By adapting and expanding Marston’s and Herrmann’s works, the author of the BEST Instrument series, James Brewer, developed a basic description of the four personality types, or styles. BEST is an acronym for those personalities: Bold, Expressive, Sympathetic, Technical. Descriptors for each style include the following:

Bold: Achieves results
Expressive: Generates new ideas
Sympathetic: Considers others feelings
Technical: Focuses on the facts and details
The BEST Communication Styles is an easy-to-administer, easy-to-follow instrument that helps participants understand the impact of their particular style on the communication process.  Typically, a person is unaware of how his or her personality is expressed when communicating with others.  In addition to clarifying each of the four styles, the instrument offers brief suggestions for personal development.  This 18-item instrument can be completed, scored, and interpreted quickly during a training session. BEST Instruments were developed over a period of 20 years and have been utilized by countless individuals, including employees at over 40% of all Fortune 500 companies.  Validity and reliability studies have been conducted using data collected from more than 4,000 administrations of the BEST Instruments, and, in all cases, the instrument results were consistent, and reported face validity was well over 90%.
To learn more about BEST Instruments,visit

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UMass Donahue Institute

University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Hadley, Massachusetts 01035

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