Improve Relationships by Understanding Communication Styles

According to Keith Ferrazzi, author of Who’s Got Your Back, stronger workplace relationships are a major predictor of employee engagement. This positive dynamic improves productivity, reduces stress, and builds an unstoppable team.

Understanding others’ style is just part of the package. You’ve got to understand your own, too.

There are lots of ways to assess and describe communication styles. At Emerge CCS, I favor the DiSC breakdown. According to DiSC, there are four primary communication styles. While we each reflect a blend of all four, one style tends to dominate.

Here are the four fundamental styles. Can you recognize yourself in these descriptions?

Dominance – emphasize accomplishing results, the bottom line, confidence.
Behaviors
• Sees the big picture
• Can be blunt
• Accepts challenges
• Gets straight to the point

Influence – emphasize influencing or persuading others, openness, relationships
Behaviors
• Shows enthusiasm
• Is optimistic
• Likes to collaborate
• Dislikes being ignored

Steadiness – emphasize cooperation, sincerity, dependability
Behaviors
• Doesn’t like to be rushed
• Calm manner
• Calm approach
• Supportive actions

Conscientiousness – emphasizes quality and accuracy, expertise, competency
Behaviors
• Enjoys independence
• Objective reasoning
• Wants the details
• Fears being wrong

After considering where your tendencies lie, try applying these categories to co-workers, friends and family members. Does this help give you insight into what makes them tick?

As you learn more about each type, certain words and expressions will help illuminate what communication style a person favors. For example, Dominance types are fact and action-oriented. They’ll introduce their opinions saying “the way I see it” and respond better to you when you use words like “I know” and “I think” instead of “I feel.”

In contrast, Influence types–the ultimate “people persons”–prefer to incorporate emotions. When they say “I feel it’s like this,” they’ll respond better to responses expressed in emotionally based verbiage instead of the objective language of “know” and “think.”

Learning to communicate with everyone based on their style may be challenging at first, but it’s really just about listening with a specific framework as your reference point. As you learn more about the DiSC styles and improve your ability to interact with people according to their preferred style, you’ll find the payoffs are huge.

Written by Julie Soderlund
on August 18, 2017

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