Soft Skill Number One: How To Find Your Own Communication Style

03. April 2018

Strong communication skills and your own communication style are a key requirement for almost every rewarding job nowadays. This soft skill is a must for very good reasons. Whether in virtual meetings, calls or on social media – your communication with employees, colleagues, friends and family is omnipresent, around the clock, no matter where you are.

But what does having your own communication style actually mean though? Studies have found that we are only aware of 5 to 10 percent of the signals we’re sending, both verbal (spoken) and non-verbal (gestures, body language etc.). This blog post will help you find your own style, to refine it and enable you to master communication in everyday life.

How much time do we spend communicating at work?

Already in the early ’90s, the Canadian Economics Professor H. Mintzberg revealed in the Harvard Business Review that employees spend at least 50 percent, and managers up to 80 percent, of their working time communicating. This intensity has increased even further with the dawn of digital communication on all channels and our new freedom to communicate.

This should be reason enough to work on your own, personal communication strategy! But what is the best approach? Exploring how you communicate with your friends, your family and your closest colleagues is the best way to do this. It gives you perspective on how others perceive you and it reveals why you react in the way you do.

Is You Communication Style Emotional or Rational?

Probably the clearest distinguishing feature of different communication styles is undertone. Statements such as “We are on the right track” indicate that you are one of the emotional communication types.

A Gut Feeling: The Intuitive Type

You rarely lose sight of the big picture and do not linger over every single detail. You do not have to understand things perfectly, but rather like to get a rough overview. When it comes to C, you don’t necessarily need to have heard A and B.

The great thing about your style?

Your communication style is fast and effective. Out-of-the-box thinking comes naturally to you and even challenges do not unsettle you. Besides, your body language helps you in negotiations.

What can you work on?

Do you sometimes lack the patience to deepen conversations? Do you like to keep telephone conversations short and sweet? Do not lose concentration and try to go into more detail when dealing with complex content. At first glance, rational communication types can be annoying – but accept the challenge and be patient!

On a Personal Level: The Confidential Type

You value personal contact and individual conversations that help you understand what your counterpart really thinks. Your success is explained by the fact that you don’t only consider what others think, but also what they feel. Your gift as a good listener and diplomat often makes you someone who settles disputes in difficult situations with customers and partners.

Your great strength:

Your empathy enables you to foster many intimate relationships and makes you very popular in groups. You recognise problems and solutions that the analyst, for example, is not sensitive to and regularly misses.

What can you work on?

Do not let yourself be reduced to sentimentalism in your communication, because you are a serious conversation partner. Whether in interaction with customers, your team or the recruiter at your last job interview, body language does make a lasting impression but do not rely too much on it. Your emotional intelligence is a big plus, but can you also use it without face-to-face contact, such as in a phone call?

“We have increased our profits by 5 percent this year” – Could this Statement Come from You?

If so, then you probably like to argue using numbers, data and facts, and prefer rational language. Welcome to the world of analysts and lovers of tangible facts!

Hard Facts: The Analytical Type

As an analyst, you feel at ease with statistics and data, and you distrust other methods. Your statements are clear. Results only count for you if they are verifiable and express a significant improvement or increase. Everything you deliver is based on evidence and numbers.

Your great strength:

In conversation, people generally take your contributions seriously. If you say something, it’s because you’re 100 percent sure. You successfully underpin your communication with digital tools such as presentations or analytics tools. Colleagues appreciate your logical conclusions and customers trust you as an expert. The people around you perceive you to be reliable and always well informed thanks to your clear communication style.

What can you work on?

Emotional language should neither fluster you nor become an obstacle – be open to your fellow human beings who are more inclined to communicate on an emotional level. Do not forget that sympathy is also crucial for successful teamwork in the working environment. With a little more empathy, you will not only make friends, it will also help you to analyze how to present your results in an even better way. It is only when your message reaches everyone that your numbers will leave a lasting impression!

Practically Inclined: The Functional Type

Processes, details, timelines and well-thought-out plans are your modus operandi. Your communication follows a certain order. With your step-by-step system, you can be sure that nothing is lost. Leaving out details and jumping from A to Z in a conversation displeases you.

Your great strength:

You do not miss anything! Everyone knows that your argumentation is solid, that the details are in good hands and that you do not look over minor details. This means you have saved your team more than once, which is why they are likely to trust you with the implementation of projects. People can build on your plans!

What can you work on?

Sometimes it’s hard for your listeners to stay with you mentally. Customers quickly lose attention, especially when on the telephone. However, when you do not get lost in the details, you are a valued conversation partner.

Only the Right Mix Makes You the Perfect Communication Expert

You will have surely found yourself in one of these broadly diversified groups. Still unsure? Ask those around you what they think. Amazing things often come to light. For example, maybe your colleagues view you as much more passive than you judge yourself to be. That can be a good impetus for change.

No matter whether you want to assess your communication style right away, want to take a test or want to ask your colleagues, do not worry about it too much! No communication style is better per se than the other. If appropriate for the context, each has its own benefits – and when combined, they become a real recipe for success! For example, if you master the most important facts and breathe life into them through emotional intelligence, you become a true communication expert.

Our final and perhaps most important tip: Always communicate positively and show self-confidence! People who express their wishes and needs explicitly lay the foundation for healthy, good relationships, both privately and at work.

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