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The Different Styles of Communication in the Workplace

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The Different Styles of Communication in the Workplace
A post from our Communication blog

      Written by Ashley Andrews
It may sound obvious, but people can be very different. We all interact differently with others and have our own unique communication styles. In most cases, this style is actually a reflection of our personality.

If you're looking to improve your communication skills, it's a good idea to think about this and unearth your strengths based on your personality type. Although it's quite hard to divide people into specific groups due to these differences, there are four distinct types of personalities and corresponding styles of communication. Once you identify these and know which one applies to you the most, it's easy to find to ways to improve your skills.

Before going further though, remember that no one person is only going to ever behave as one of these four different personalities. You may act in one manner 90% of your time, as you relate to your colleagues, but in a different way the other 10% of the time as you relate to your boss. So not only may you be able to improve how you communicate generally, but you could make specific improvements by actually choosing to behave in another way altogether in a give situation.

The Relater

This person gets their name from the fact that they relate well with others. They support others where they can, and because they support others and relate to others well, the result is that they are well liked.

Their interpersonal communication is good (which is what helps them relate to others) and this results in far less problems being caused by their interactivity, and helps them to remain level-headed when things get tough. It makes them perfect for conflict management and resolution.

The relater knows how to bond well with other people, which means that you often have people on your side. To improve how you communicate and get results, you can start to think a little more like the Initiator below. If you take the initiative more often, because you are well-liked, even if not 100% successful, it is likely that you will have support more often than you think, and can result in substantial gains for you, such as starting to appear more proactive and innovative than you are currently thought of.

So think of a two prong strategy:

  1. Keep relating well with others to get them onside
  2. Leverage their support to get more done

The relater personality

The Initiator

As the name implies, an initiator is a person who is very proactive. This person is the first to start speaking and will confidently approach people at networking events or gatherings. Initiators are very enthusiastic and engaging. They have an energetic and lively personality, which influences their style of communication as well.

Initiators can also be very persuasive, which makes them a great fit in the sales department. They're also great leaders because they can be motivating as well. An initiator will easily engage a team of people to work hard and strive towards achieving difficult goals.

Their style of leadership is friendly and subtle, yet crowds tend to flock to them. Unfortunately, they can also be restless and impatient at the same time. They have the tendency to talk over people, which can be a hindrance when it comes to communication. It is this weakness that can be worked on in order to improve communication. The initiator has to learn to think about what those around them are saying and contributing i.e. they need to LISTEN.

The Initiator can use a simple illustration to become more balanced; one mouth, two ears, so they need to listen twice as much. So their approach to improving their communication is also a two prong strategy.

  1. keep up all that good innovative activity
  2. Listen to how people respond to your initiation of activity, and adapt to that

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The Analyser

Again, the name says it all. An analyser is a person who will look at the details and study things very carefully. They are very matter-of-fact and practical in their approach to different tasks. They have intense focus and the determination to get through the most challenging projects. Their style of communication is subtle and restrained, and unlike initiators, they are not overly enthusiastic or energetic. They tend to think before they speak and will carefully analyse every word you say.

Analysers are also great listeners, though they might not be the most sympathetic ones. If you want blunt, factual advice, these are the people you need to approach. An analyser is also a silent observer and won't speak as much as other personality types do, which can sometimes leave room for misunderstandings. However, when analysers do speak, they can be very engaging and eloquent. This is something you need to cultivate if you're an analyser.

The strategy that an analyser has to take is to borrow a bit from the initiator. Don't wait to be asked. You have a good understanding of what is happening, and when asked, people value what is said. So, rather than waiting to be asked, share your opinions more. They are likely to get good results, as people will understand from your nature that you have thought about the issue thoroughly.

Analyser Communication Style

The Director

The director is the leader, and their personality definitely shines through in their communication style. They're direct, powerful, authoritative, and like to be in control.

Their communication style can vary. In fact, it almost needs to vary, as each situation that the director finds themself in may have a different desired outcome, and they will need to match communication type with the goal desired.

While some people will have a secondary influence of an initiator-type personality style, others might resemble the analysers in some ways. As already stated, their style of communication changes accordingly. Nevertheless, directors don't like to be ignored or disregarded. They like to be the centre of attention and their communication style will reflect that.

No matter which style of communicator you are, communication in the workplace is extremely important in order to work as part of a team and achieve your goals. Learning more about these four core personality and communication styles will help you improve your own skills and interact with different types better.

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