Learn the different types of communication styles to significantly improve your professional and personal interactions with others.
Communication skill is an indispensable quality that you must grow. It is particularly important if you want to place yourself in a leadership position, like a team leader, manager, etc.
To adapt to artful communication, you must first know all types of communication styles and their characteristics. Keep reading to learn everything you should know to become a master communicator at the office or outside the office.
What Is a Communication Style?
A communication style refers to the unique way in which people express themselves, convey information, and interact with others. It consists of various methods, patterns, preferences, and body language that people use when communicating. The communication style you choose controls how you send and receive messages.
Communication styles can vary significantly from person to person. You differ from your colleague or friend by a multitude of factors such as upbringing, cultural background, personality traits, and life experiences. Accordingly, you develop a communication standard and bring that to the workplace or in other public places.
Why Is It Important to Learn Communication Styles?
The primary reason to learn about several communication styles and how to practice those is to improve your communication skills. If you are preparing yourself for the profession, you must learn different ways to convey the same opinion.
Suppose you are with your friends and want them to agree to one of your suggestions for the upcoming camping trip. Here, you can speak out loud since the situation is informal, and your friends know you mean no harm.
Now, come to a formal setup like a business meeting. You want other sales and marketing team stakeholders to consider your suggestion to promote a product. Here, you should not become the loudest voice. To learn how to behave in such a scenario, find out more in the communication style variation section below.
Types of Communications Styles
There has been much research in this domain to understand, categorize, and organize how people communicate. Perhaps, the most popular model of communication styles that therapists and business coaches follow is the one explained by the American researcher on anxiety Edmund Bourne in his book The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. It was published in 1990 and has since then proved to be the gold standard for measuring communication models in the workplace or other professional places.
Find these five different ways to communicate in detail below:
The assertive communication style insists you become direct without being rude in conversations. Confidence plays a key role in such a mode of communication. You shall express your thoughts and requirements clearly while listening to others. It is all about balancing out the compromises and agreements.
If you practice assertive communication, you shall not let your emotions affect how you communicate. You will stay optimistic, positive, calm, and focused on finding solutions rather than disputes. Moreover, you listen to everyone’s perspectives but also prioritize your own opinion and wants.
Achieve goals without hurting others
Respect others’ rights
Open to feedback and compliments
Moderate eye contact
You should be in a relaxed, tall, and symmetrically balanced posture
You submitted a task long ago, but the approver is not acting on it, and you say the following:
“Would you mind checking my submission? I’m trying to stay on schedule.”
Submissive or Passive
The submissive communication style is the way to accommodate others’ judgment or say over yours and put your thoughts in the last row. When you communicate passively, you tend to let more assertive or aggressive individuals take charge.
Because you might dislike conflict, try to avoid debate, thereby hurting others’ feelings about you. Aggressive and passive-aggressive communicators will complement your conversation style. However, people will overlook your opinion and requirements if you do not express these vocally. You might also carry feelings of resentment due to hesitation in expressing your own thoughts, likes, dislikes, and wants.
You feel ashamed or apologetic when asking what is due
You do not want any confrontation
Discounting your own ideas, suggestions, wants, and preferences
Your posture is either twisted or wriggling
You avoid eye contact
Often try to make yourself look smaller than others by squeezing yourself
Your team leader is discussing a product design with you, and they share their idea. In this scenario, you are saying this:
“Your idea is great! Anything is okay with me.”
When your conversation has the following tones or words that mean the same things, your communication style is aggressive:
Arguments with the other party
Trying to intimidate
When you communicate in this mode, you value your opinion and ideas over everyone in the room. Also, your intention is to win every situation. In most cases, you may not respect everyone else’s rights over the matter you are debating.
Aggressive communicators disregard the opinions of others. They will immediately bulldoze anyone who tries to assert an independent opinion on the matter. Thus, others feel insignificant, bullied, and ignored when there is an aggressive speaker in the room.
The conversation tone is loud, threatening, and hostile
Always want to win
Pose taller or larger than others in the room
Wrinkled foreheads and eyebrows are often brought together
Unpredictable behavior, mostly bullying
An aggressive communicator is developing a program code with you. You tried to improvise over them, and they say the following:
“Look what you did. You broke the program! I was right all along.”
The passive-aggressive communication style combines aspects of passiveness and aggressiveness in conversation. People using this style may appear silent and cool on the surface, but underneath, they are truly frustrated. They express such frustration by spreading rumors, becoming sarcastic, gossiping, and trying to show superiority.
Instead of openly expressing their dislike, passive-aggressive communicators work in a covert way. They might try to sabotage your work in stealth mode or spread hearsay among the team that your idea failed. If the team discovers such activities, no one would like to work in the team unless such actors are out of the game.
Aggressiveness is silent
Often complaining to others about one’s work or idea
Behave politely in front of you
Does unproductive criticism in your absence
The tone is sweet and calm
Facial expression is naive
Your team leader accepted your product design idea. In your absence, the passive-aggressive communicator might say something like this to the team leader:
Jerry’s idea isn’t unique. I saw he copied it from our competitor. Don’t accuse me that I didn’t tip you before implementing this design.
You shall hide your intentions in the conversation if you follow the manipulative communication style. You clearly know what you need, and you are also capable of making your way. But you will try to trick others into failing them, especially if their goal is the same as yours. Furthermore, you will also prefer to influence others to act in a specific way that helps your objective. Finally, you shall ask for favor or things indirectly.
Intentions are not clear, rarely express the true intentions
The tone could be envious as well as patronizing
Often express the defeated feeling or helplessness
Your colleague attended a training session, but you forgot. When you asked why they did not remind you, they would say this:
I thought you were not interested in the topic. Also, the trainer didn’t do well in explaining the topic.
Importance of Understanding Communication Styles for the Workplace
Understanding different ways people communicate at work can greatly benefit you. It enables you and your team to collaborate effectively by utilizing communication methods that everyone can understand. When you possess knowledge of and adapt to different communication styles, you can prevent misunderstandings, build stronger relationships, and achieve more together.
In the long run, mastering your communication style holds high value for advancing your career. It enhances your visibility, trustworthiness, and positive influence. Having a clear and effective communication style empowers you to confidently express your thoughts and accomplishments, enabling you to stand out and gain recognition from your colleagues, managers, and decision-makers.
How Does Communication Styles Impact the Workplace Culture
Different communication methods influence the workplace in different ways, and these are as below:
A passive communication style will create confusion and result in lost working hours. Your subordinates will not report issues clearly and prefer to suppress those until you investigate. Alternatively, as a team member, you may not get the right support from your team lead until both of you become assertive.
Uncomfortable to Speak
If someone at the workplace is too aggressive in communication, others would feel uncomfortable around that person. However, team leads, and managers can exercise some aggressiveness when addressing the production, operations, or sales and marketing team that needs motivation.
When mediating conflict resolution between employees or team members, it is important to demonstrate problem-solving skills, empathy, and assertiveness. Avoid using aggressive, passive, or passive-aggressive communication modes during conflicts. Instead, strive to be assertive and tactful, finding a balance that allows for effective resolution while maintaining respectful communication.
When a business organization follows an assertive communication style, you will feel that you know what you need to know. That helps you in feeling positive about the business and deliver the best.
Creating an Inclusive Work Environment
If you promote inclusiveness and respect in the workplace, your communication style will speak for itself. When you actively listen, show empathy, and value diverse viewpoints, it facilitates an inclusive workplace culture. By treating others with respect, regardless of their position or background, you contribute to strong teamwork.
Strategies to Improve Your Communication Styles
Improving your communication style means becoming assertive in the workplace or other public places. Also, you must ensure that you are not discounting your interests in the conversation. Find below some proven strategies you can practice to become an effective communicator:
#1. Become Self-Aware
Develop an understanding of your own needs, emotions, and communication patterns. Recognize any tendencies towards passivity or aggression and strive to cultivate assertiveness.
#2. Come to the Point Quickly
Practice expressing your thoughts, opinions, and needs in a direct and respectful manner. Use clear and concise language, focusing on the specific message you want to convey.
#3. Listen to Others When They Talk
Give your full attention to the speaker, demonstrating empathy and understanding. Listen actively without interrupting, and show genuine interest in their perspective.
#4. Begin Sentences With “I” a Lot
Frame your statements using “I” to take ownership of your feelings and opinions. For example, say “I feel” or “I think” instead of making accusatory or generalizing statements.
#5. Define Boundaries
Clearly define and communicate your boundaries and expectations. Be assertive in saying “no” when necessary while respecting the needs of others.
#6. Be Mindful of Non-verbal Communication
Closely monitor your body language, tone, and facial expressions when communicating. These must be polite at all costs. Also, maintain good eye contact, use a confident tone, and show flexible body language.
#7. Be a Problem-Solver or Promote the Same
A master and artful communicator will never go deep into the blame game. Instead, you will look for common grounds in the debate and welcome suggestions to resolve the issue.
There is no way you can undo when someone causes damage to the business. What best you can do is choose an appropriate strategy to minimize damage and restore business outcomes.
Now that you know the five basic styles of communication, it is crucial to develop self-awareness. Also, you must discover your behavioral patterns and individual requirements before communicating with someone.
Then, try out the assertive communication technique to confidently express your thoughts and requirements from the other party.
Whether your objective is to grow in your career, stay well, care for the family, or manage finances, effective communication is the key to all these.
Successful communication does not mean speaking the loudest, having the final say, or evading conflicts. The final say is that you achieve a dialog with the other party and close the deal—be it in a business meeting or house party!
Tamal is a freelance writer at Geekflare. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies and business management. Now, he’s a professional freelance content… read more
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