Learning to identify the different communications styles and their effect on the normal daily interaction with friends, family, acquaintances, workmates, and other people you interact with is important if you are looking to develop effective and assertive communication skills. Being assertive can mean respecting yourself and other people. This is the ability to express your thoughts and feelings using honest and direct communication.
It is important to remember that you may not always get what you want by being assertive, but you will be able to achieve a compromise. You may not get what you want, but at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you handled the situation in the best way possible. There will be also no negative feelings between you and the other people in the discussion.
Before you can start thinking of developing your assertive communication, you will first have to know your style of communication. There are 5 styles of communication, and you may be able to use more than one, but there is one style that you will always fall back to when feeling uncomfortable or when you are not prepared. Below are the 5 styles of communication.
Assertive communication style
This is the best style of communication. It is the most effective communication style. It is born of high self-esteem and is neither too passive and too aggressive. People using this style of communication have the confidence to communicate without having to employ games or manipulation. They know their limits and don’t allow people to push them beyond the limit just because the other person needs or wants something from them. The surprise is that this is the least used style of communication.
This type of person strives to achieve their goals without hurting others. They are emotionally and socially expressive and they make their own choices and take responsibility. They ask directly and accept the possibility of being rejected. They go with a medium pitch, speed, and volume. They have good eye contact, relaxed, have an open posture, and don’t fidget. The way they communicate builds trust and the other person feels they can take them for their words.
Aggressive communication style
This type of people can focus on winning even if it is on the other person’s expense. They behave as if their needs are more important, have more to contribute, and have more rights than other people. This is not a healthy style of communication because the content of the message can be lost because people become too busy reacting to the way it is delivered.
They are frightening, threatening and hostile. They are out to win and the use different methods such as bullying, intimidation, abrasiveness, demanding, unpredictability, and belligerence. They volume is loud and the posture is bigger than others. They invade other people’s spaces and try to stand over them. Their facial expressions can be glaring, frowning, and scowling. The other person is likely to feel defensive, hurt, humiliated, resentful, afraid, and ultimately does not respect the other person.
The Passive-Aggressive Communication Style
This is a communication style where a person appears to be passive on the outside, but are indirectly acting out their anger. People employing this style of communication usually feel powerless, and undermine the object of their resentments subtly to express how they feel, even if it means sabotaging themselves. A good expression that can be used to describe them is “cutting off your nose to spite your face”
They are indirectly aggressive and sarcastic. They are not reliable and can be dubious, sulky, gossips, patronizing, and complainers. Their expressions are inconsistent with their true feelings and will be pleasant to your face but poisonous behind your back. They have a sugary sweet voice and an asymmetrical posture. They have a sweet and innocent facial expression. People on the receiving end will feel confused, resentful, angry, and hurt.
The Submissive Communication Style
This type of people try their best to please others and avoid conflict. They treat the needs of other as more important than theirs. They behave as if the other person has more rights and more to contribute. They are apologetic because they feel as if they are imposing when they want something. They try their best to avoid any confrontation and will yield to preferences of other people. They feel like the victim and they refuse compliments. They don’t express their desires or how they are feeling.
They use a soft volume and try to make themselves as small as possible. They tend to fidget a lot and will portray submissive behaviors. People on the receiving end will feel guilty, frustrated, exasperated, and don’t know what they want.
The Manipulative Communication Style
People employing this style are scheming, shrewd and calculating. Manipulative communicators are great at influencing and controlling others for their own benefit. They have an underlying message when they speak, and many times the other person is unaware. They are cunning, control other people in an insidious way such as sulking, using fake tears, indirectly asking for their needs to be met, and making the other person feel sorry or obliged to help them.
They can a patronizing, ingratiating, envious, and often high pitched voice. The other person will be left feeling guilty, angry, frustrated, irritated, and not sure of where to stand with them.
The above are the 5 styles of communication.