Have trouble communicating with others? Are you shy and introverted or gregarious and extroverted? Good communication is an art and a practice. It is a critical component in healthy long-term relationships. The way we communicate with others can make or break a relationship. People have different styles of speaking. Some, like my Mom, like to chit chat about what ever is going on in their day, others like to discuss sports or the latest news event, while others prefer to discuss deeper topics that stimulate thought and reflection. All of these are perfectly fine, depending on the circumstances. The key is to recognize what style we use and be aware of how to connect with people who have a different style than our own.
Today I am sharing the 7 types of communication styles I have encountered. There are probably more, but these are the ones I have noticed. Perhaps you recognize yourself in one or more of them as I do. Sometimes we are not even be aware of our communication style and wonder why we have difficulties in connecting with others.
But first, what actually is good communication? Is it simply idle chatter or is there more to it? Good communication is uplifting and edifying to the hearer. Words are spoken gently rather than harshly so that our words are soothing rather than abrasive to the listener. It is not only the words we speak, but how we say them.
Good communication is a two-way street. There is a healthy give and take between speakers. One person does not monopolize the conversation for long periods of time – that is called a monologue. In order to foster intimacy and connection, we need to be willing to share our inner thoughts and feelings with safe people.
Three questions we can ask ourselves before we open our mouths are these:
1) Is it kind?
2) Is it encouraging?
3) Is it necessary?
If what we are going to say does not pass this litmus test, it may be best to remain silent. Listening is a gift we give to others. I used to tell my sons we need to listen more than we speak and that is why God gave us two ears and one mouth.
Today we’ll take a look at some different styles of communication. Not everyone has the same style of communication and it is important to realize this in any relationship if it is to flourish. The more aware we are of our own communication styles, the more selective we will become in choosing friends and partners in life. It is not a matter of one style being better than the other. It is a matter of the two styles meshing together harmoniously. Most of us use a mixture of several styles and sometimes we may need to modify our style to foster better connection.
1. The self-conscious speaker:
This type of person shares slowly and very little. They speak in short sentences and are usually the quiet ones in any group. They need to be made comfortable and then coaxed to come out of their shell. Once a certain level of trust is achieved, they will slowly share more. They need to be encouraged when they do speak.
2. The small talk speaker :
These people love to spend hours on the phone just talking about their day, their dog, the weather, the latest sitcom. These people like to “shoot the breeze” as it’s called. They value talking for the sake of talking.
3. The negative speaker:
These folks come in different flavors but the commonality is their conversation is negative. They also focus on negative events as a source of discussion. They complain often. They bemoan their lot in life on a regular basis. These conversations are unhealthy and unproductive and they do not foster healthy relationships. Negative speakers have a negative world-view and unless you are one of them, you may not enjoy a relationship with one.
4. The goal-oriented speaker:
These folks call with a purpose in mind. They have a request, or a question that needs answering. They consider small talk a waste of time. Their conversations tend to be direct and to the point. They need to understand others are not all like this and balance their conversations with some personal connecting.
5. The self-absorbed speaker:
These people are similar to those in #2. The difference being they only talk about themselves and what’s going on in their lives. They rarely, if ever, ask you about your day, how you are feeling, or give you time to share something from your day. If they do, they are usually not paying attention to your response and move on to their next sentence without a validating response to what you have said. These are the people that go on and on and you can’t get a word in edge-wise. They need to take a breather and learn to listen more and give feedback on what the other person has shared.
6. The withholding speaker:
This person is on the secretive side. He/she shares, but only partially. If you are around this person long enough, you will begin to realize information is not being shared in a timely manner or you will hear the “news” from other people before you hear it from them. They do not realize that withholding information is harmful to the relationship especially if the other person is sharing personal information and they are not.
7. The deep thinkers:
I’ve been told I fall into this category. I much prefer to talk about deeper subjects rather than mundane ones. I like to get to know a person’s innermost thoughts and beliefs and understand the why of things. Deep thinkers tend to see connections where other people don’t. These types of speakers need to seek out other deep thinkers. They will be on the same wave-length and feel less irritated by people whose communication style has less depth.
One more tip for good communicating is to utilize pauses. After you finish a few sentences, take a breath. Wait and count to three and allow the other person to respond. If you are on the listening end, pause and count to three before you start talking to make sure the other person has finished what they wanted to say. This will help to ensure a smooth and balanced flow to the conversation.
Have you identified your communication style in any of the above? What changes can you make to improve your conversations? Would love to hear your feedback on this topic so please leave a comment. If you enjoyed this post, please click the +1 Google icon to let me know.
Until next time, keep looking up!