You’ll have seen this at some stage during a conversation; a situation where someone is frustrated and becomes increasingly so. Why? Because they aren’t getting what they want out of the conversation.
However, rather than recognise that their current communication style isn’t working, they’ll dig in and keep using the same approach.
Having impact, maintaining relationships and getting results from conversations – particularly those that are challenging – is never about one size fits all; nor is it about you becoming someone you’re not. Instead, it involves understanding the context and the person you are communicating with, and then seeing how you can adapt and authentically adjust your style to be heard.
Over the years, I’ve found that people typically default to one of four communication styles.
The Avoider – The person who avoids tough conversations often to their detriment. They’ll say it’s because they don’t like confrontation or conflict. Underlying those concerns is a fear of what may happen if they have the conversation because they are worried about how the other person may react.
The Impulsive – The person who willingly steps into conversations; however, they lead from the heart, letting emotions run the agenda. While passion can be helpful at times, having your feelings rule how you think and react can derail you.
The Peacemaker – If this is you, you take the path of least resistance often adopting what other people want or making the decision that’s the easiest because you are focused on making everyone around you happy. You sacrifice your needs, putting yourself last.
The Fighter – This is the Rocky Balboa of the office – the person who takes the win at all costs approach. Typically, they love confrontation, and won’t back down seeing it as a weakness. Having someone like this in your corner can be helpful. However, if this is your dominant style and you come across as angry, a bully and unwilling to cooperate it will damage relationships and have long term consequences.
Check yourself to consider: What’s your default style, and does that help or hinder your progress and relationships at work?
The best communicators flip across the scale. They appreciate that situations are different and consequently, require a tailored approach.
There are times when you need to stand your ground. Just as there are times when you need to walk away, or in the words of Elsa from the hit children’s movie, Frozen – “Let it go”. There are times for silence and contemplation. There are times for lengthy debates and discussion too.
Securing success requires you to use a bit of every style – depending on who you’re talking with, how they respond, and the situation you are facing — all with different levels of amplification and frequency.
To do this, you need to know yourself and embrace your wise one. It’s tapping into who you are, recognising the opportunities that exist, knowing your trigger points and being open to the limitations and imperfections that exist (in all of us).
The more you understand yourself and what triggers your reactions – the better placed you are to see, hear and respond to what’s happening around you.
Your words have impact, what you don’t say has impact and how you act has impact every day. Perhaps more than you realise. The question to consider is whether that impact is what you want it to be.
American Author, Zig Ziglar, once said, “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life”.
Getting you ready for tomorrow, today®
Michelle Gibbings is bringing back the happy to workplace culture. The author of three books, and a global keynote speaker, she’s on a mission to help leaders, teams and organisations create successful workplaces – where people thrive and progress is accelerated.