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The best business communication styles

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Effective communication is an essential ingredient for businesses to succeed in their goals. Employees need to communicate effectively to meet their daily goals. Communication between team members and project teams is crucial to meet deadlines and deliver results. 

However, it can be hard to ensure smooth communication between people or groups with different business communication styles. And in every business, you will find individuals with a mix of communication styles. Some people also switch between two (or more) styles depending on the situation. 

There is no single best communication style out there. It’s useful to know the characteristics of each style and how to communicate effectively with those that use them.

What is a business communication style?

Everyone has a preferred way of communicating with others, especially in a business environment. It’s not just the words you use but also encompasses body language, gestures, facial expressions, tone, pitch, etc. Since a large part of business communication is written, the words you use will also influence how the recipient feels about your message.

Put everything together and you have a business communication style. In a business environment, people need to communicate with colleagues, management, and those who report to them. Your communication style influences how you present information, lead discussions, and perceive others’ ideas. 

Maybe you’ve left a meeting frustrated that no one listened to your arguments. Or maybe you feel that co-workers don’t understand what you’re saying. It could be due to a mismatch in communication styles

Benefits of effective communication

Effective communication is crucial for several reasons. Without it, departments cannot coordinate with each other. Project teams cannot meet deadlines.

In general, employee productivity takes a nosedive and you cannot build trust within the organization.

Effective communication helps organizations to:

  1. Improve employee engagement
  2. Maximize productivity
  3. Optimize interdepartmental collaboration
  4. Reduce employee turnover
  5. Encourage knowledge sharing
  6. Improve customer satisfaction and retention
  7. Foster company culture

When communication is effective, all parties walk away satisfied that the ir opinions are heard. The message is understood in the way intended by the person delivering it. There is no misunderstanding between what the speaker said and what the recipient understood. Effective communication involves body language, gestures, volume, and the actual words you use. 

For example, a manager might tell an employee that they need to improve their performance. They intend for the message to be constructive criticism. But the manager’s tone of voice or facial expression may suggest to the employee that they are going to be fired.

An understanding of different communication styles can help prevent this type of miscommunication and encourage better coordination throughout the business. 

4 different communication styles

There are 4 typical communication styles found in most organizations. Each has its pros and cons and understanding them is useful to everyone. 

  • Analytical Communication Style

Analytical communicators prefer logic to emotions and value data over vague statements. They are common amongst upper management executives and are often perceived as authoritative due to their extensive knowledge of facts and figures. They don’t prefer to make small talk or long-winded explanations when conducting meetings. 

People using this communication style excel in decision-making roles, especially when under time constraints. They make decisions based on facts and numbers and appreciate colleagues who quickly get to the point. They rarely take the time to foster a personal relationship with others, leading to a perception of being cold and impersonal.

Working with analytical communicators

If you are working with a group of analytical communicators, any discussion or augment should emphasize numbers. Rather than saying ‘I feel this strategy will improve sales,’ use definitive statements supported by facts like ‘This marketing strategy can improve sales by 15% next quarter.’ When talking with them, don’t use vague language or cryptic statements. They want details, data, and clear language.

  • Personal Communication Style

In some ways, personal communicators are the opposite of the analytical type. These individuals prefer a personal connection with colleagues. They want to know how their colleagues feel and what they think about a project. They value emotions, personal motivation and are good at reading between the lines. 

Personal communicators are seen as diplomatic and good conversationalists. They are the person everyone goes to when they want a friendly ear. They prefer in-person communication and will express their thoughts and feelings readily.

Working with personal communicators

If you’re working with a personal communicator, take the time to establish a personal connection. Tell them how you feel about a project or decision and invite their opinion. They may not be very interested in numbers but will appreciate your thoughts on the matter. They are more likely to be persuaded by emotional language, rather than cold logic.

  • Intuitive Communication Style

Intuitive communicators don’t have time for details, rather they prefer a bird’s eye view of things. They like creative thinking, coming up with big ideas, and challenging the status quo. These individuals thrive in creative roles and prefer casual language. They don’t need to hear the nitty-gritty details and can draw conclusions from incomplete data. 

Intuitive communicators are often the people who come up with bold ideas and are not too keen on the implementation details. They are ideal to lead creative teams and head projects with vague goals. Brainstorming sessions will benefit enormously from people who use this business communication style.

Working with intuitive communicators

You will want to use visual communication like org charts, graphs, and pictures rather than numbers or words. They prefer short meetings where decisions are taken quickly and they can get going immediately. They don’t need a ton of details and don’t care about step-by-step instructions. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the details of a project, just make sure to give them the bottom line and they will take it from there. 

  • Functional Communication Style

Functional communicators love details and want clear outlines of resources, deadlines, budgets, etc. They prefer to have all the information at hand when making decisions. These individuals are focused on processes and will not jump from A to Z. They need to go through B, C, and all the steps in between. 

People using a functional style like to ask lots of questions, value feedback, and prefer taking their time to make decisions. They are ideal candidates to deploy projects, big or small. They like to ask ‘how’ questions and dislike ambiguity

Working with functional communicators

If you’re working with a functional communicator, make sure they have all the information they need well in advance. These are the people who appreciate getting information before the big project meeting and will likely have lots of questions for you. They are good to pair up with intuitive communicators, so they implement the project after the former comes up with the big ideas.

Why is it important to understand the different communication styles?

Developing and understanding the different business communication styles will help you to recognize and adapt when others communicate with you. On a personal level, it enables employees to connect better with each other.

For instance, a personal communicator will not get frustrated that an analytical communicator does not indulge in small talk. It can help employees who prefer a functional communication style to use more facts and figures when trying to persuade an analytical CEO about a project. It also enables you to better understand your own style and identify areas for improvement. 

At the departmental or project level, it can help leaders to manage their teams better. You can proactively prevent clashes between employees with different communication styles. At the same time, you can tailor your messages according to the recipient’s preferred style. Managers might want to avoid having an intuitive communicator in charge of project implementation, while an analytical communicator might make the ideal project lead. 

How to identify the best communication style

Suppose you need to coach an employee to improve their customer support skills. You might want to take a more personal (small talk, ask their opinion and feelings) or analytical approach (present data and facts) to help them accept constructive criticism. A personal communicator may prefer in-person meetings whereas a functional communicator may want to ask questions about the service process.

At the organizational level, an understanding of the various communication styles can help you develop custom messaging for different clients. You can include factual information for those analytical communicators while using visual materials for intuitive individuals. Managers can develop different types of training that are suited to an employee’s preferred communication style. It can help staff to retain information and understand workflows better. 

Your salespeople may be able to close deals quicker with this knowledge as they can tailor their pitch to the client’s style. This familiarity can help you better communicate with customers when trying to sell your products and services or when they contact you for customer service/technical support. Effective communication in a business context is a major contributor to success at a personal, team, and business level.

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Start a free 30 day trial now, no credit card details are needed!

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