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Communication Styles in the Workplace

October 26, 2012

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” This quote by George Bernard Shaw is a daily inspirational reminder for me as a senior project manager.

A project manager at Noble plays the role of lead communicator on an average of more than 12 projects, at any given time. Our project management staff spends each day ensuring project schedules are outlined, the team understands their assignments and our clients’ feedback is understood and implemented appropriately. Our goal is to complete strategic, design and development deliverables on time and budget.

In order to handle such a wide variety of daily tasks, a project manager must be well-versed in communication styles and able to approach and connect with each individual on the team in a way that will encourage him or her to be as productive as possible.

People Have Different Communication Styles

As part of a team-building exercise at Noble Studios, our staff participated in a communications style mini workshop that measured social and leadership preferences. We each examined word sets and choose one from each set that best described us. The questionnaire awarded points for answers that fell within categories plotted to a chart, revealing the individuals’ personal communication style.

The questions focused on preferences associated with being:

  1. Analytical
  2. Driving
  3. Amiable
  4. Expressive

Which measured across an axis:

  • Indirect vs. Direct (towards others)
  • Self-contained vs. Open (about self)

After completing the questionnaire, each individual totaled their points within each of the four categories and circled the category with the highest number. Then we plotted our scores across a life-size chart to see where we all fell within the spectrum. To round out the exercise, we talked about the values and motivations that drive each group, perceptions about each style, and some of the dos and don’ts for how to optimally acknowledge, approach and support each other.

How Do You Communicate?

Have you ever rushed in to the office brimming with new ideas, only to be met with deflating blank stares or negative comments? You may be an “Expressive” surrounded by “Amiables” and “Drivers.” Do you feel you are orderly and persistent, but have been told you are stuffy? You might be an “Analytical.”

Understanding your own communication style, as well as the communication style of your teammates, will better allow everyone to interact more efficiently.

We’d love to hear about how understanding your coworkers better has helped you to communicate and be more successful in your business.

Source information: This communication styles model is loosely based on personality theories of Carl Jung. Some credit for this blog post goes to the University of Nevada Extended Studies Project Management Certification program, which Crystal Blahnik completed in December 2011.