For most of my life, I assumed (if I thought about it at all) that other people were just like me.
Of course this was a bad assumption, but I was never taught the natural differences in Communication Styles between different people. I was getting generally bad results because I was relying on luck for success—and as we said before, this is not a winning strategy.
When we assume that other people are just like us, we tend to communicate in the style that we like to be talked to and we overlay our interpretation of events and social situations onto other people’s communication.
A Communication Style is a person’s communication patterns and preferences that they use in a wide variety of situations.
Unfortunately, doing what comes naturally is not a reliable recipe for success in communicating, which is why I recommend stepping up, taking responsibility, understanding the preferences of other people, and adapting our behavior and Communication Style to other people’s preferences. It turns luck into skill which is a much more reliable strategy for communication success.
Communication Style Definition
Let’s take a moment to define the term, “Communication Style.” It is a person’s regular or familiar communication patterns and the strategies they use to communicate across a broad variety of situations. In other words, it’s how we relate to others.
Here are some quick facts about Communication Styles:
- Everybody (whether they know what it is or not) has a natural Communication Style that he or she uses without thinking.
- You can achieve the best results by adapting your style to the style of the other person(s).
- When you adapt to another person it takes energy because you are doing something that is not natural for you.
- If we’re forced to adapt for an extended period, we eventually run out of energy and revert to our natural style.
- Under stress we tend to revert to our natural Communication Style.
Another characteristic of Communication Styles is that we communicate most easily with people who are most like us.
Conversely, it’s most difficult for us to communicate with those who are not like us and have dramatically different Communication Styles.
It’s also important to know that Communication Styles are situational. When you think about it, you’ll realize that you instinctively adapt your Communication Style depending on where you are or who you’re talking to.
When we’re with friends or family, we probably behave and talk differently than we do at work. When we want to convey something important to someone in any situation—at work or in social situation—we make conscious efforts to adapt and do what will work best in that situation.