Knowing your communication style can be extremely helpful in growing your skills and building better relationships with your peers. And, the more you’re able to recognize these styles, the more you’ll be able to see them and adapt to different conversations.
There are 4 core types of conversation styles.
“go with the flow” type of attitude
usually, fail to express their own needs or feelings
inability to say no
“people pleaser” type
avoid confrontation at all costs
poor posture/lack of eye contact
tend to “dominate” the conversation
“me, me, me”
loud and demanding tone
poor listening to others
tend to talk over others
aggressive body language (pointing fingers, staring intently, lack of personal space, etc)
can be hostile or threatening
wants to “win” every conversation
combines both aspects of the previous styles
passive on the surface, aggressive underneath
difficulty acknowledging their underlying anger
words don’t align with actions
facial expressions don’t match words
may sabotage behind people’s backs or use vindictive ways to “get back” at someone
aware of their needs, but have trouble articulating them
can start rumours or gossip
tends to be a very toxic style
thought to be the most effective style
aim for both sides to win
can express their own needs while being considerate of others’
encourages open, honest dialogue
relaxed body language
ability to say “no” and set healthy boundaries
There is also a fifth style listed on some sites called the Manipulative style. These people will do whatever it takes to get their way. Cunning and deceitful, they rarely say what they mean. They often prioritize their own needs above everyone else, but instead of just outright saying it (like the aggressive style), they do it in a sneaky, roundabout way. They end up becoming very difficult to trust, so this isn’t a suggested style to adopt.
Communication styles can shift and change based on our situations or place in life. Someone who may approach things more passively in their youth may become more assertive in their adulthood with experience and more self-confidence.
Alternatively, someone who is a passive speaker may become passive-aggressive when the resentment becomes too much to bear. We may also speak to different groups of people in our lives differently on any given day.
The aim is to adopt an assertive style of communicating.
Open and honest, seeing both sides. Approaching situations with no judgement and willingness to compromise. But it is a learning curve and has a lot to do with our behavioural traits.
We develop patterns based on our experiences, home life, and relationships. And that shapes how we move through the world and communicate with others.
If you came from a family whose primary form of communication is aggressive, you may take that to all other relationships. And, you may not even realize it becoming a problem.
Becoming assertive is a learned skill. Fostering positive interactions while maintaining our own personal boundaries is the ultimate goal; an assertive communication style can definitely help that! Everyone is heard, everyone has a voice, and everyone gets to express that in a safe space.
The assertive style also leads to less miscommunication and misinterpretation-- when we say what we mean, or our words match our feelings, we are being authentic with everyone else around us. People can trust that you are being honest with them, and they are less likely to misunderstand something you have said.
Do you know what your communication style is?