Ray Charles. Led Zeppelin. Johnny Cash. They have all made big, ground-breaking records for their time, in their way.
As a listener, you expect the band members of Led Zeppelin to make great music, but not the Ray Charles kind of music. They only make Led Zeppelin kind of music; that’s their style. It is what they do better than anybody else.
To talk properly about Led Zeppelin, it is best to know something about Rock and Roll and the Blues. The fundamentals of these genres explain, in-part, something about Led Zeppelin’s music. Together, they constitute the band’s communication style.
The same is true for people and their communication style. It is good to know the genre (so to speak) a person talks through because it is a direct expression of who that person is.
There are four main types of communication style tendencies.
Forceful people see the big picture, driving everything along with their forthright nature. They are aggressive, competitive and ambitious, and enjoy being part of many projects at the same time.
But their high-octane, task-oriented style can come across as being intimidating or abrasive at times and they can seem to be stubborn about their ideas.
How to Communicate with a Forceful person:
- Get to your point right away, be quick, be clear.
- Show how your ideas are compatible with mutual goals.
- If you are the boss of a Forceful individual, make sure their short and sweet style isn’t rubbing anybody the wrong way.
- If you are the boss, make sure to accommodate those around you and not just the business goals.
Persuasive people are animated and spirited, and that is good for the office. Their enthusiasm is motivating, so they are prime candidates for group work. They are also gifted at keeping the big picture in mind, and can keep the team focused towards that.
Having high regard for their relationships, Persuasive people also deeply value acceptance and personal prestige. But that does not mean they avoid arguments or disagreements.
Persuasive people are energized by discussions of conflicting opinions and are galvanized by the challenges and changes that might come out of them. In fact, if challenge and change aren’t part of their regular diet, they will become bored.
How to Communicate with a Persuasive person:
- Be willing to communicate at a fast pace.
- Be prepared for digressions.
- Focus on concepts, trends and what they mean for the future.
- If you are the boss, give Persuasive individuals tasks that require innovation; if their assigned work is independent, keep a close eye on them.
A Group Effective person is typically the most cooperative in the office. Easy going, and willing to help, they are empathetic, considerate and a good listener. A Group Effective person is a people person, with tendencies to people-please. They also prefer to avoid conflict, seeking to smooth things over.
How to Communicate with a Group Effective person:
- Establish rapport.
- Be open with them; build trust.
- Do not be pushy or aggressive.
- If you are the boss, make sure your Group Effective people are not overwhelmed or distracted by the problems of others.
Thorough people are marked by their logic and thoroughness. Technical and systematic, they have a methodical way to approach problems and work well independently.
Not big on conflict, they prefer facts over emotions as the central issue.
Thorough people contribute by focusing on the details. After all, they are detail oriented, which means they can become overwhelmed with the details at times.
How to Communicate with a Thorough person:
- Present ideas in logical fashion; bring facts and proof.
- Try not to rush them in their work.
- To help them cope with change, focus on the reasons that made the change necessary, and the individual steps needed to achieve it.
- If you are the boss, encourage the typically quiet and reserved Thorough person to share their ideas with the group.
As humans, each with a distinct communication style, we operate from very different motives. By understanding the underlying communication style and motive in ourselves and others, we can more effectively maximize our abilities. We can spot the roots of conflict more easily when we see the different philosophical paradigms from which each of us communicates.