There are many different communication styles, and your communication style determines how you manage your projects and your people. Communication styles are categorized in a multitude of ways. Various personality type indicators are one way communication styles are classified. Neurolinquistics label communications styles by the five senses. Although these are effective ways to understand and work with communication styles, there is a simpler approach that makes a big difference when understood: Are you predominantly a reader/writer or a speaker/listener?
One kind of communicator prefers to be briefed on issues by being spoken to. She will ask that you read though any long documentation and give a spoken summary or written summary with a verbal walk-through. She prefers to be called or met with rather than emailed. According to Peter Drucker, 50 percent of the Presidents of the United States have been reader/writers and 50 percent speaker/listeners, The Effective Executive (Drucker, 2002).
The other kind of communicator has an affinity for reading documents and would rather be handed a report to spend time analyzing and reviewing. The reader/writer communicator would also rather give written instruction and direction. The reader/writer prefers as little spoken dialog as possible at the extreme end of the communication spectrum.
Although both communicators will expect written documentation with the same level of thoroughness and comprehensive coverage, one will prefer to be talked through the information and refer to it as needed, while the other will not appreciate dialog. To realize that you are one kind of communicator and someone you work with may simply be another – can be an "aha" moment that helps make work go much smoother.
Three tips on managing to maximize work based on knowing your communication style and surmising that of those with whom you work:
- Let your team know what kind of communication you prefer when there is latitude for more freedom of style and when you must have adherence to a particular format, such as for an accounting or expense document.
- Understand that people have differing communication styles and respect others’ style as much as possible, especially as they lead in their areas and projects.
- In creating teams, try to place individuals together who have similar styles when possible and encourage team members to compromise and work with each others' differing styles and preferences.
Since communication is a means to get a project done or facilitate the way someone works, workers respect, value and find empowering the freedom to manage their projects using their own communication style. They perform better the more they can control this aspect of their work. Sources for more information on communication styles include: Loosen Up Your Communication Style at Harvard Business Working Knowledge and Business Communication Styles at relationships911.org.
has edited and written for consumer Web sites and publications reaching nearly 50 million people. Her credits include writing and editing online and print articles, sales and training materials, marketing collateral, and advertising and PR for conusmer companies including BeautiControl, a Tupperware subsidiary's publications to women ages 20s through 50s, the WHO Foundation, Women Helping Others, MCG Magazine, Los Angeles and Seasonal Living Guide for Sam’s Club, a retailing subsidiary of Wal-Mart. Her career also includes working and living in Canada and Japan. Jean is well regarded for her market-research based approach to managing story development enabling consistently original, relevant and timely content.