I recently learned a valuable lesson from Chris Howard, the Value Creation professor for the University of Nevada MBA program. He taught me a new way of looking at communication styles. The biggest lesson that he really drove home was that communication isn’t about your style of communication; it is about the other person’s style of communication. Let me repeat that in a very direct way…Communication-it isn’t about you! It should be about the person you are trying to communicate with, not your style of communication.
There are four types of communication styles:
There is no style better than another, they are just different. Since learning about these communication styles I have changed some of my communication techniques. I took a test to determine my style. At the end of this post are links to two different quizzes to help you determine your style. There are dozens of quizzes online to help you determine your style. The two highest scores I received were 76% expressive and 64% driver. I wasn’t surprised by the results because as the instructor explained the characteristics in class I knew I was either an expressive or a driver.
I’m using this information as I plan special events and when I develop marketing plans. Now I’m analyzing my business contacts, my coworkers, and my customers based on their communication styles. My boss is a driver so I’m trying to be more direct with him, less small-talk, and always be on time or a few minutes early. I think it has helped us communicate better. One of my coworkers is amiable so I make sure to be extra warm and friendly to them, and realize that they appreciate small talk and genuinely getting to know their coworkers. Once I started adapting to their communication styles, I started developing better working relationships.
Knowing my communication style has also helped me see where there is a weakness in my communication methods. If I’m dealing with an analytical person I need to tone down my expressive side. I need to do whatever I can to speak in the analytical person’s preferred communication style to be successful. It makes everything so much easier when you think about communication based on the other persons preferred style.
It isn’t hard to adapt to this mindset, it just takes practice. The first step should be determining your communication style. Then learn the characteristics for all four styles. Once you know the basics you will start to see signs on how to communicate more effectively. You can see signs everywhere! I’ve noticed them in emails, body language, choice of clothing, office decorations, listening skills, in the way people handle change, and risk management. There have been studies that show some people with certain styles tend to drive a certain type of vehicle or buy a certain color of car. I’m not that much of an expert so I won’t go that far, but if you do a quick Google search you can find several lists of these characteristics.
So what is your communication style? Take one of these free non-scientific quizzes online and find out!
Want to read more? Check out this blog: Keep Yourself Relevant