There are many different communication styles out there, and it is important to know them for you to identify your own. There are some styles that will make it easier to communicate with other people without disrespecting them, which promotes effective communication, reduces conflict and promotes healthy relationships.
Knowing the different styles will help you develop effective and assertive communication skills. You will know the right place and situation to use an effective style. Being assertive means you respect yourself and other people. It is the ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings using open, specific and honest communication.
Being more assertive doesn’t mean you will always have it your way, but it is very constructive in helping you achieve a compromise. Even if the outcome is not what you expected, you will be satisfied because you handled it well, and it reduces the chance there are hard feelings between you and the other person involved. Assertive communication isn’t a skill reserved for a few, anybody can do it, but it will need some time and practice before you master it.
The good thing is that you can easily practice and master it from the comfort of your own home. You can practice it on your own or get a friend you trust to give you honest feedback. You also need to think about the person you are talking to, how best to start your communication and the best way you can cope with the interaction.
You will first need to identify your usual communication style before you can start to practice to communicate assertively. There are many different communication styles out there, but these are the most common. These are 7 great communication styles you can use to achieve your goals. Not all of the 7 great communication styles below are recommended but can help you when used in the right situation.
This is one of the most recommended communication styles and reflects and promotes high self-esteem. It is a healthy style of communication and allows you to more likely achieve what you are looking to achieve. With assertiveness, you have the confidence of communicating without having to employ manipulation or games. You know your limits and you don’t allow yourself to be pushed beyond them just because the other person wants or needs something from you. Surprisingly, this is the least used style.
A person employing this style will be able to achieve their goals without having to hurt others. They protect their own rights while being respectful of other people’s rights and they know how to express themselves socially and emotionally. Assertive communication means making choice and taking responsibility for them, asking directly what needs to be met, expressing feelings with ‘I’ statements and accepting that there is a possibility of disagreement.
It also involves good eye contact, use of even, rounded, and expansive gestures, and medium pitch, speed, and volume.
People on the receiving end are able to be clear about what is expected or felt because they know where they stand. This will mean more respect and makes it much easier to communicate. With assertive communications style, you feel good about yourself, and leave the other person feeling respected and heard.
The aggressive Style
This style involves winning, even if it is at someone else’s expense. People employing this method usually feel like their needs are far much more important than that of other people. They feel like they have more rights and are the ones who contribute more compared to other people. This is not an effective way of communicating because people will be more focused on reacting to how it is delivered than the message itself.
Aggressive communication can involve using frightening, loud, threatening and hostile voice. It relies on intimidating, not respecting or bullying other people in order to achieve their goals, they are always out to win. Their posture seems bigger than others and they use fast, big, and sharp gestures when talking. Every method they employ to communicate is there to intimidate the other person and make them do what they want.
Many people try their best to avoid confrontation, and this is why there are people who will do what they don’t want to in order to end the confrontation. The person on the receiving end will become uncooperative, defensive, hurt, afraid, humiliated, and will lose respect for the aggressive person. There are people who will tend to fight back and become aggressive. This is never a good place to be in because it can sometimes result in physical and verbal violence. People will find it hard to report any mistake and problems to an aggressive person because they fear a “blow up” Ultimately conflict and unhealthy relationships result.
The Passive-Aggressive Style
This communication style involves being passive on the surface but actually acting out anger indirectly or behind the scenes. In order to deal with an overwhelming lack of power, prisoners of war will resort to employing this communication style. People who opt for this style are those who feel like they have no power and are resentful. They usually express their feelings through the subtle undermining of the object (real or imagined) of their resentment – even if it means sabotaging themselves. The perfect way to describe this method is the expression “Cutting off your nose to spite your face”.
People who use this style ae often indirectly aggressive, devious, sulky, complaining, devious, and patronizing. They gossip and are two faced, they will pretend to be pleasant to people to their faces, but become poisonous behind their backs by using rumors, sabotage. They try their best to present a perfect picture, but they are doing the opposite on the back. They are able to fool people because they use a sweet and sugary voice, telling people what they want to hear. This will make it harder for the other party to notice what’s going on. They are warm and friendly, and you can easily fall into this trap without knowing.
People on the receiving end will feel hurt, angry, confused and also resentful. This will make it harder for them to trust the person in the future and may be unwilling to work with them. This style will sometimes get you the results you wanted, but it will have a lasting effect for a long time. Even when you are sincere, people will not believe you because they will think you are trying to take advantage of them again, also resentment and anger build as you are not directly asking for what you need.
The Submissive Style
People who use this style are the ones looking to please other people and avoid any conflicts. People with this type of communication will put the needs of other before theirs because they see other people needs as being more important than theirs. They will not contribute much because they don’t see it as being good enough as that of other people because they think the other people have more rights than them.
Using this method will leave you feeling inferior and you will have a hard time with your colleagues and friends. Being a doormat is never the best option and harmful to self-esteem. People using submissive communication style always feel apologetic and try their best to avoid confrontation. They will yield to other people’s preferences and are not able to express their feelings and desires.
They tend to balm others for events and will always feel like they are the victim. They will also find it hard to take responsibility or make decisions.
The other person on the receiving end will feel guilty, frustrated, and exasperated. They will see this as an opportunity to take advantage of you and again resentment can build distancing you from others.
The Manipulative Style
This style is scheming, calculating, and shrewd. People who use this style are very skilled at controlling or influencing other for their own advantage. They have spoken words that hide underlying messages, and the other person doesn’t know what it is. Manipulating can seem like an effective method to get your way, but it comes at an expense. People who do this don’t have regard for other people and are focused on what they are going to get in the end.
These types of people don’t ask directly for their needs to be met, they guilt other people. They can even employ artificial tears to make it look even more real. They use “hang dog” expression, making it much harder to say no to them. Their voice is envious, patronizing, high pitch, and ingratiating.
People on the receiving end will feel guilt and be ready to help them in any way they can. They can start to develop feelings of frustrations and resentfulness, and can end up getting annoyed, angry, or irritated. It is hard to know where manipulative people stand, making it harder to work with them.
This is a style where the speaker doesn’t mask the message he wants to pass across. This involves the use of clear language that can be easily understood by the other person. There are times when the receiving party doesn’t want to hear something, but using a direct style will mean providing them with all the information but might be received in a more harsh way. It is much easier to know where a person stands when they use direct communication.
The culture of the person can sometimes determine the right style to use in the situation.
The person on the receiving end will be able to know what you are saying without having to beat around the bush. It is also a good style to use when there is a limited time.
This is the opposite of direct communication. People employing this style tend to mask their intentions and needs. It is hard to know what they are looking to achieve. It can be hard for a person decipher what you are trying to communicate, especially if they are not accustomed to a particular group or culture. This can sometimes employ the use of facial expressions or subtle signs. If say you don’t approve a certain habit by a co-worker, you may emit loud exasperated sighs or glare at the person whenever they do it. The person on the receiving end may not necessarily understand what is wrong and might end up thinking that you don’t like them for no particular reason. This can cause a lot of problems especially if you are supposed to work on something together.
Recognising these 7 great communication styles will help you with your communication. Adopting healthy communication styles will help you identify what other people are employing in their communication and help to recognise unhealthy styles to avoid.