Have you ever been misunderstood for how you communicated with a colleague, friend, or family member? Now think about whether you have ever been misunderstood for what you communicated to that colleague, friend, or family member? I would guess that the misunderstanding was probably more about how it was said vs. what was actually said. Why? Well, this happens because HOW we communicate doesn't have the same impact as WHAT we communicate. How we communicate is always more about our body language, for example, using certain hand gestures, animation, and/or using paraverbal communication in the words we use, etc. While what we say is an extension of who we are and our innate personalities etc. In fact, most misunderstandings in communicating are a direct result of how we communicate, the differences in our communication styles.
To be a more effective communicator, we must not only recognize and understand our communication style, but we must also learn how to flex our style so that we can accommodate others. Below, is a quick and easy way to quickly identify your style as well as identify another person's communication style; and adapt your style accordingly. Check out these 4 different styles and determine which style best reflects how you communicate:
Direct - A direct communicator likes to get to the point when they are talking; they are often poor listeners; they are very firm in their handshake; they often prefer to maintain a distance; they are bold in their movement and their workspace displays power. They are highly assertive and low in expression.
Spirited - A spirited communicator loves to tell a good story; they don't hear details because they are not good listeners; they are very enthusiastic in their expressions and handshake; they like being close in proximity; they are quick in their movement and their workspace is usually cluttered. They are high in assertiveness and high in their expression.
Considerate - A considerate communicator doesn't offer opinions; they are primarily sympathetic listeners; they have a very gentle handshake; they don't like to be hugged; they are often slow in their movement and you will probably find personal photos of family and friends in their workspaces. They are high in their expressions and low in their assertiveness.
4. Systematic - A systematic communicator is very precise in their verbal communication; they listen for facts; their handshake is brief; in their personal space they avoid touching and enjoy the distance; they have a very controlled movement and they are
extremely tidy in their workspace. They are low in their assertiveness and low in their expressiveness.
It takes some willingness and effort to expand beyond one's style to interact with others. It is generally appreciated, however, and it may make the difference between success and failure in an interaction. So, which one of these represents the way you communicate? Are you a Direct, Spirited, Considerate, or Systematic communicator? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts and your communication style.
If you are interested in becoming a more effective communicator, my 3-month program will help you to communicate with IMPACT by (1) communicating with executive presence, (2) influencing others with or without authority, and (3) creating a compelling and winning brand of communication as a leader. If you are interested, and you want to learn more, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikki Trotter is the Founder and CEO of IO, LLC., a transformational coaching company. I specialize in coaching professional women in leadership from the front line to the C-Suite. I help my clients master the art of resilient leadership to take control of their careers with courage, clarity, and confidence.