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Senior Leadership - Understanding Communication Styles

Imagine where you could take your relationships with others if you took the time to listen to what works for them. Recognizing styles in yourself and others can help you influence and build relationships and become a better communicator. Learn how to read your listeners’ non-verbal and verbal cues because it’s not that difficult to do.


To be able to influence your audience to take action, avoid misinterpretation of your message, and build a stronger relationship with your listeners.

What is Understanding Communication Styles?
There are many different communication styles. In our workplaces, it's important to understand these four styles which are task-oriented and easygoing. 
Controllers: take-charge and want control of themselves, others and situations. They are task-oriented drivers and are only focused on the end goal.
Collaborators: easygoing, relationship-oriented, and enjoy working with people to work towards consensus.
Analyzers: detail-oriented, logical thinkers and analyze others and situations. Work best alone to come up with solutions; therefore, may take more time to make a decision and take action.
Socializers: outgoing, thrive on change and enjoy meeting people. They get their energy from others and work best when brainstorming with others to make a decision and take action.

How does Understanding Communication Styles improve engagement and culture?
By being aware of your own personal communication style, you’ll have a better understanding of how others perceive you. Having the ability to recognize and adapt to your listeners’ personal communication style will make them feel like you care, have taken the time to listen and focus on their needs.

Communicating more effectively with those you work with will positively affect them in the following ways; they will feel listened to, understood, be able to better understand your goals, able to do better quality work, feel confident and more productive, as well as be happier. All of which will increase employee engagement.

What are the benefits?
Being able to read both the verbal and non-verbal cues of your listeners.
Improved engagement from your listener.
Improved influence over your listener.
Improved clarity of your message.
The ability to build better relationships.

How do you conduct Understanding Communication Styles in the workplace?
Be a good listener: ask questions to learn more; watch for non-verbal cues.
Be open to change: be willing to change your mind, look for alternatives and work with others to resolve conflict.
Be a learner: be willing to learn new behaviours and what makes others tick. Ask for feedback.
Be positive: learn from your mistakes and move on; be proactive and take responsibility.
Be respectful and sensitive: accept differences and show appreciation for others, and adapt your behaviour to match that of your audience.


Ten-Minute Communication Challenge
Start a conversation with one person: Watch the person’s non-verbal cues. Pay attention to their reaction. Look for consistencies in gesture, eye movement, tone of voice and facial expression.

Figure out what style of communication they are using:
Controllers are direct, prefer to be in control, have a sense of urgency, use louder volume, and express limited or no emotion.
Collaborators appear relaxed, ask a lot of questions, have a win-win attitude, are hesitant to make decisions and are highly emotional with an expressive tone.
Analyzers are cautious, logical thinkers, soft-spoken, use a monotone voice, use limited eye contact and facial expression.
Socializers are outspoken, quick to make a decision, assertive, fast talkers, express how they’re feeling through gestures, facial expressions and tone.

Adapt your style to better suit their needs:
Controllers get to the point. State what’s in it for them and ask straightforward questions. Communicate confidently with a clear and concise message. Avoid clutter and fluff.
Collaborators show an interest in them, listen patiently and give them a good “feel” about your message or what you’re asking them to do.
Analyzers avoid small talk, present facts and data, and provide details about the process you’ll follow to service them.
Socializers show interest in them, be upbeat, and tie their personal experiences to your message.

Feel comfortable troubleshooting! If your listener’s facial expression, eye contact, tone of voice or gestures concern you:
Ask if they have questions.
Ask for their opinions, thoughts and what’s important to them.
Ask if they need clarification.

Adapt your style again.

After the conversation, take stock of what happened.
What is that person's communication style?
When you adapted to their style, how well did they receive your message?
Plan how you will adapt better next time when speaking to the same person.

Updated on: 08/18/2023

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