Communication Styles in the Workplace
By Ibby Smith Stofer
I invite you to do a communication styles assessment with me to reveal your style and maybe your age.
To begin, please close your eyes and try to empty your mind for these few moments. I promise this is nothing like those shows where you are hypnotized and embarrassed when you find out what you did. PROMISE!
The first two questions of the communications styles assessmentand your own responses identify your preferred style of communication. Question three allows you to determine your flexibility in communicating in a multi-generational environment.
A review of the literature on how age affects your communication style preferences shows that our years of birth, exposure to various technology, and cultural norms all influence us, both directly and indirectly.
There is also significant literature on communication style and working or even living with multi-generational family and friends. Understanding the styles and preferences of our associates and those around us helps us be a better communicator, boss, friend, and family member.
Perhaps the site I find most informative was published by Notre Dame’s online university in early 2019. The author introduced the article by emphasizing that communication style includes the choice of medium (email, text, instant message, phone, or face-to-face), frequency, and speed. Today he would likely include Zoom or other internet video tools.
Looking at how you responded to the initial questions, did you think about these when responding? If you did, you might already understand the need to consider the receiver’s communication preference and your own. If not, you may experience frustration and bewilderment regarding what others expect or how they respond to you. Focusing on your own flexibility in communications may improve this area.
Have you ever worked for a boss who only wants face-to-face or voice-to-voice live communication, and you grew up with a phone, tablet, or computer always in reach? You may have quit or at least considered quitting on an almost daily basis. Life can be miserable if you are out of sync with the boss’s style.
Have your parents resisted accepting your iMessage or SMS messages as keeping in touch or sharing news with them? Worse yet, do you suggest to your family that they check your Facebook or Instagram accounts to see pictures of your vacation?
Communication preferences affect all of our relationships. Here are some helpful hints to guide us in choosing the communication style in the workplace.
When to Call or Use Video Technology
Consider the reason you are going to call or use video conferencing. Also, respect the communication preferences of the participant.
Recognize that over 50% of people see email as spam, and the open rate is highest on Tuesdays.
As you prepare for your next business conversation with a colleague, customer, or boss, remember it is important to respect the other participant or participants’ preferred communication style and preference, including medium, speed, and frequency. Relationships and Trust are built one conversation at a time. Make each one be a building block to success.