4 Workplace Communication Styles and How to Navigate Them

2022-07-11 13:39:31
Tanhaz Kamaly
Original 2151
Summary : Clear communication is a crucial skill - but not everyone communicates in the same way! Learn how to navigate 4 communication styles.

Did you know that 46% of businesses say they’ve lost a customer because of poor communication Meanwhile, 35% have lost an employee for the same reason.

Misunderstandings can be costly in business, making it impossible to drive alignment between colleagues and departments. And if your message isn’t aligned internally, how can you hope to communicate it clearly to customers?

Whether written, spoken in-person, or via your small business phone service, the English language leaves a lot of room for nuance. Different people are likely to read different meanings or tonal subtexts into the same unclear sentence. Jargon, emotive language, and complex vocabulary only increase this effect, causing key messages to get lost.

This guide examines four of the most common communication styles in the workplace. Each style has its benefits, and no approach is necessarily better than any other. However, it pays to understand the strengths and challenges of each style so you can work clearly and collaboratively.

Read on to discover how to navigate the different communication styles in your office.


Analytical Communication

Analytical communicators seek hard facts. They value statements that can be backed up with data and become frustrated when a conversation is too “fluffy” or has no logical basis.

They can be valuable assets to a team, as they pay close attention to detail and take a thorough approach to their work. However, working with analytical communicators can be challenging, as they sometimes fail to see the bigger picture, getting hung up on small details and exact figures instead.

Typically, they prefer to work to a set and signed-off plan rather than improvising. They take pleasure in mapping out processes or writing lists to ensure everything is documented and there’s no room for error.

Customers with an analytical communication style can seem demanding, wanting to know the specifics of a project at any given point. It is hardly a rare approach. 94% of people say it’s vital that they know the exact status and next deliverable on a project or purchase.

How to Work with an Analytical Communicator

Communicating with analytical communicators can be challenging, as they are unlikely to respond to emotional language. For example, telling the story of how a client found their purpose will be far less motivating than sharing data about the effect on the client.

Analytical communicators value clear instructions, so ensure to work with them to document each step of a task before setting them to it. This can save time in the long run, as they won’t need to keep checking back at each stage to ensure they’re doing it correctly.

One-to-one discussions work well for analytical communicators, allowing them to ask questions, take notes, and align your goals with their set processes. They may not respond very well to live chat or a voice call recording, as this may lack sufficient detail.


Intuitive Communication

Intuitive communicators take the opposite view to analytical communicators, leaving room for conflict within a team. Instead of small details, they are focused on the bigger picture. They bring out-of-the-box thinking to a team, often taking innovative paths to reach a larger goal.

One of the primary communication issues with intuitive communicators is the speed at which they work through problems internally. They can move rapidly from point A to point B in their heads without needing to map out processes or write down notes. It can leave teammates confused as to how they reach their conclusions.

Intuitive communicators can often be seen as assertive or aggressive, as they have an emotionally-grounded belief in their work and want to see others reach the same conclusion. You may be working with an intuitive communicator if they tend to dominate the conversation with strong opinions and bold ideas.

How to Work with an Intuitive Communicator

While analytical communicators cut straight to the details, intuitive communicators want to understand the heart of an idea before they can connect to it. Explain why a concept is important and how it connects to larger goals.

They like to take creative control of a task and may be offended or frustrated by step-by-step instructions. They may be keen to meet clients in person rather than get second-hand information. Kick-start projects with an in-person meeting or a virtual call so intuitive communicators can cut straight to the creative chase and bounce initial ideas around.

Many intuitive communicators benefit from visuals, like charts, diagrams, and example graphics. These can help them gain a fuller picture of the task at hand, so consider screen sharing or virtual whiteboard options for a conference call or paper and pens for an in-person meeting.


Collaborative Communication

Collaborative communicators work best in a team and like to hear everyone’s ideas before settling on a particular approach. While teamwork is a learned skill for many, natural collaborators seek opinions and feedback from as many people as possible and seek answers to problems that satisfy everyone.

They can be great leaders, as they make sure everyone in a project has a chance to share their opinions. However, this communication style can be challenging when making quick decisions. Collaborative communicators often refuse to decide until after considering everyone’s view.

This approach can be particularly useful in Agile-focused teams such as the gaming solutions industry, where problems require solutions from multiple angles at once. Collaborative communicators will ensure to listen to analytical data scientists and intuitive UX designers before deciding on the way forward.

How to work with Collaborative Communicators

Collaborators are unlikely to thrive in one-on-one situations, so scheduling short group meetings such as weekly stand-ups can benefit their efficiency and understanding. Find opportunities for your collaborative workers to complete tasks in pairs or small groups.

They may find black-and-white instructions demotivating, as these can fail to take multiple perspectives into account. Make sure to lead with benefits when assigning a task, as understanding how doing something will solve wider problems gives a collaborator renewed drive and purpose.

Of course, sometimes the best solution simply can’t work for everyone. You will need to discuss with your collaborative communicators, as well as the importance of reaching quick compromises. Give them firm deadlines to help them train a more decisive attitude. These can be outlined in a task management tool to help keep everyone on track.


Personal Communication

Personal communicators are much more internal than collaborative communicators, relying on their gut feelings to make decisions. They emphasize emotional connection, share their emotions freely, and listen actively and openly.

These team members can be helpful strategists, linking everything back to the “why” rather than the “how.” For example, they can step away from the fine detail and data of an ecommerce marketing strategy and propose a campaign that taps into customers’ pain points.

Personal communicators may find it challenging to adapt to other communication styles, as they tend to internalize communications. If, for example, an analytical communicator offers criticism of a piece of work, a personal communicator may take it to heart. This can have a powerful effect on their relationships with other team members.

How to work with Personal Communicators

Personal communicators thrive on stories, so it can help to discuss things in those terms. Focussing on brand and user personas, customer journeys, and user stories can help frame data in a way they can easily connect to.

When beginning a new project, it benefits personal communicators to start with a broader vision. Allow them time to add color and texture to this idea, outlining how they want customers to think and feel about it. It may seem tangential to other team members, but it can be crucial to a personal communicator connecting with an idea meaningfully.

Of course, this level of creative thinking can lead to a lack of focus. Therefore it benefits personal communicators to only have one or two tasks to work on at a time. When assigning projects, ensure these team members get depth rather than breadth.

In your regular meetings, work with them to conceptualize a project management workflow by which they can filter grand ideas into practical step-by-step solutions. This could involve SMART goal setting or breaking down tasks into actionable sub-tasks.


Bridge the Gaps for Better Teamwork

When working with a team, it can be impossible to approach every communication style individually. Rather than sending separate messages and emails to each team member, reworded to suit their communication style, you may benefit from communicating in plain language.

It focuses on simple vocabulary, short sentences, and removing jargon or emotive language so that people of all communication styles can see the core message immediately. This could have significant effects when it comes to cutting out misunderstanding: in a study, 64% of readers perceived plain language text as well-written compared to more complex and emotive text.

Plain language is also ideal when using proposal-making software to communicate with potential customers and partners, as it gives them all the facts and allows them to make their own decisions.

Improve Your Communications Today

As of 2022, just 32% of companies rate their communication as excellent. This is concerning, as clear and consistent communication is key to working relationships and customer relationships.

Get ahead of the curve by taking time to understand the people you work with and how they express their ideas. By working with these nuances and circumnavigating them with plain language, you can promote better relationships, happier and more productive employees, and stronger alignment with your brand goals and message.

Need more help? Check out the Zentao blog. They have more articles on project management tools, software management, Proposal Management Software, building cross-functional teams, and so much more.


Author bio :

Tanhaz Kamaly is a Partnership Executive at Dialpad, a virtual contact centre platform that turns conversations into the best opportunities, both for businesses and clients. He is well-versed and passionate about helping companies work in constantly evolving contexts, anywhere, anytime. 

Write a Comment
Comment will be posted after it is reviewed.