What did you say? Communication is so important in business, but how often does it break down or not go the way you intended? Most of our problems with communication can be traced back to one simple fact: not everyone’s communication style is the same! Understanding the different communication styles, how to identify your communication style, and the styles of those around you is crucial. Read on to learn more about communication styles in business.
The Four Communication Styles
There are four main communication styles. Depending on your sources, the styles are referred to by different names. To make it more fun, I decided to come up with some nicknames of my own for each. The four main communication styles are: “The Straight Shooter” (aka direct or analytical), “The Systematic” (aka functional), “The Visionary” (aka influencer or intuitive), and “The Warm and Fuzzy” (aka collaborative or personal). Unsure of which communication style you are? Take this quick online quiz to find out. Here’s a short breakdown of the characteristics of each style.
“The Straight Shooter”
This style of communicator is blunt. They stick to the facts and don’t use emotional language. They are focused on results and outcomes. They “shoot from the hip”. Sometimes, their communication style can be interpreted as aggressive by others.
This style of communicator is all about details and process. They are the trees, not the forest kind of people. They are thorough and meticulous, however sometimes this can slow down the communication process.
This style of communicator is concerned with the big picture. They see the forest, not the trees. They are more concerned with the “why” than the how of things.
“The Warm and Fuzzy”
Collaborative, or personal communicators are all about relationships and people. They want to connect and use more emotion in their communication. They are often warm and friendly, and a little more informal. They are concerned with how others feel, not just what they think.
Dysfunctional Communication Styles
There are three main dysfunctional communication styles: aggressive, passive aggressive, and avoidant. Let’s take a look at them as well. When we are irritated, stressed, or triggered we can sometimes find ourselves crossing over into dysfunctional communication territory. And that’s not a place you want to be! Prolonged dysfunctional communication can seriously harm your business and your relationships.
This style of communication includes abrasive communication behavior like yelling, using nasty words or expletives, and shaming, blaming, or verbally attacking others. Aggressive communicators may try to manipulate or intimate others with their words or actions. They don’t have good impulse control and struggle to pause when angry and upset. They communicate in the midst of negative emotions. Aggressive communication can be abusive.
This style of communication is driven by a fear of confrontation and an attempt to forego it at all costs. Avoidant communicators are often ‘people pleasers’, more worried about pleasing others and not making waves with their communication than they are with actually communicating what they need to. They may avoid communication, or communicate dishonestly which can be disastrous in business.
This style of communication fears confrontation and direct communication like avoidants, however they engage in small acts of indirect aggressive behavior. For instance, instead of communicating to someone directly about a problem, they might gossip to others, make sarcastic comments, or do things to surreptitiously undermine the person they have an issue with.
Adapting Communication Styles In Business To Work Better With Others
Personally, I am a direct or “Straight Shooter” communicator. Before I learned about the different communication styles and how I could adapt, my communication style sometimes caused trouble for me. When I was being blunt and to the point, others would sometimes get offended or think I was being bitchy. Once I understood my personal communication style, and how it was different from the others, I began to see how I could adapt in order to have more successful communication.
Opposite communication styles like “Straight Shooter” and “Warm and Fuzzy” or “Systematic” and “Visionary” can have the most difficulty communicating. As a “Straight Shooter” communicator, when I’m working with a “Warm and Fuzzy” person, I try my best to meet them halfway.
For instance, if I’m emailing a “Warm and Fuzzy” style communicator, I will add in more emotional, friendly language. I will be a little more chatty. I’m not totally changing my style, just adapting a bit to include more of the other person’s style. It’s sort of like if you’re traveling to France. It’s polite to at least learn a few French words. You’ll probably mispronounce them and people will be able to tell that you’re a tourist, but it’s the effort and thought that counts! People see and appreciate that effort to speak their language.
Essentially, that’s what our communication styles are: languages.
Leveraging Communication Styles In Business For Success
Another way understanding communication styles in business can help you is building and managing teams. Certain communication styles may function better in certain roles. “Warm and Fuzzy” communication style people might excel in people-facing roles like HR, sales, or customer service. “Systematic” communicators might do better in a detail oriented position. “Visionary” communicators and “Straight Shooter” communicators may find a niche in leadership.
This is by no means a hard and fast rule, but it’s a good practice to consider communication styles while bringing on new team members. How will the communication style of a new person work with yours and those of your team?
In business we want to convey our expertise and strength, but we also want to convey compassion, gratitude, and emotional intelligence. Learning our communication styles and how to adapt them can help us do both.
Need help navigating your communication style in business? Book a free business strategy session with me here: https://calendly.com/soullutionsbyarliss/30min