Communication is one of the most impactful aspects of any business, for good or ill. How we communicate with staff, colleagues and customers plays a vital role in determining the success or failure of an organisation.
Have you ever thought about the manner in which you communicate and how it affects your business? Most people would probably say no. If that’s the case, now is a good time to reflect upon it and discover how to be more adept at business communication across all levels of engagement.
Different scenarios and type of engagement call for different styles of communication, so it is important that people can adapt and employ a variety of techniques for engagement according to the particular circumstance.
For example, how a manager would communicate with a junior member of staff when mentoring them in their role requires a different style of engagement than when negotiating a deal with a customer.
It is generally accepted that there are four styles of business communication, but what are their benefits and drawbacks, and how should they be used to make you a more effective leader within your organisation?
#1 – Analytical Communicators
Analytical communicators prefer to deal in hard facts, research and statistics, rather than interact on an emotional level. They are all about clarity and focusing on the task in hand, and have little or no time for engagement that veers away from this.
While this approach can help to get to the crux of a matter quickly, this style of communicating can sometimes come across as cold and dispassionate, and even a little controlling. This type of communicator should be mindful of those negative traits associated with this style of interaction to avoid negatively impacting their working relationships. By being more attentive to others, they can help dispel the perception that they lack feeling or empathy.
#2 – Intuitive Communicators
Intuitive communicators don’t like getting bogged down in details, preferring to focus on the big picture. Getting a broad overview of a project, rather than the minutiae, is far more preferable to these types of communicator.
While this is beneficial in terms of being able to get to the point more quickly and spend more time on big ideas and out-of the-box thinking, it can be detrimental when a project requires a strong focus on all of the detail, as intuitive communicators can lack the patience required to do a deep dive into a project. This can be frustrating for colleagues who want to share what they consider to be important information but do not get the attention they feel is merited. This can breed resentment and give co-workers the impression that they are not receptive to anyone else’s ideas but their own.
Intuitive types may never be able to dig really deep into a project, but by taking a bit of time to pay attention to the input from each stakeholder, they will avoid having their colleagues feel that their input is not being valued.
#3 – Functional Communicators
Functional communicators are the antithesis of intuitive communicators. Consequently, these two types can find it difficult to get along.
The functional communicator is all about the detail. They like to follow the linear path of a project rather than skip to the bigger picture, and they are much more process oriented.
They make great project managers, as they make sure that no details are skipped and they make sure everyone involved is doing what is required of them to ensure that the project is completed on time and achieves the desired goals.
The downside to communicators with this type of characteristic is that they are so detail oriented, they can lose the attention of their more intuitive colleagues who just want to get on with the job at hand.
#4 – Personal Communicators
Personal communicators are inclined to go deeper in their working relationships than any of the other types, as they value strong connections. They want to know how others are feeling, as well as what they are thinking. This often makes them good conflict negotiators, as they can patiently listen to both sides of an argument, be diplomatic, and know what do to say and do to achieve an outcome that will keep everyone onside.
This type of characteristic helps to build trust and highly valued working relationships. The only potential downside is that they may be regarded as being overinvolved or too focused on emotional issues, but that’s not necessarily a bad quality to have, in or out of the workplace.
So what is your business communication style, and which should you adopt? Do you recognise yourself as one of these four communication types? Most will, while some will be a combination of more than one.
So which persona should you adopt? The answer is there’s not a single trait that is necessary better than the others. It really depends on who you are engaging with at any given time.
The key is in recognising the qualities that others possess and focusing on their strengths and what they bring to the table, rather than the aspects of their personality or process that don’t align with your view on how things should be done.
Each of the four characteristics are good to have, but if you have your feet firmly in one camp, it is good to surround yourself with those who possess the type of communication traits and skills that you lack, because just as a workplace populated with people from diverse backgrounds will be more likely to thrive than a monoculture, so too will one that has a range of different communicators, as all bases will be covered.
Disclaimer: This document contains general information and is also not intended to constitute legal or taxation advice. If you need legal or taxation advice, we recommend you speak to a qualified adviser.