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How To Discover Your Individual Communication Style

The secret to bringing out the best in yourself and others is in recognizing communication strength and learning styles.

How To Discover Your Individual Communication Style
[Young people: Goran Bogicevic via Shutterstock]

We all have our own communication style, and most of us have strength in more than one area.

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Knowing how your strengths–and challenges–stack up gives you insight and an awareness to guide you in having more successful conversations.

When those who work together understand their own and each others’ strengths, they bring out the best in each other and take more risks, respecting individual differences and developing a stronger team where innovation and productivity flourish.

There is a deep connection between learning styles and communication styles; use this inventory to gain insight into the processing strengths that drive your own personal communication style:

1. Interpersonal

Your preferred learning style is interpersonal if you agree with the following:

  • It is important for me to get my thoughts and feelings out in the open.
  • Others seek me out for counsel or advice.
  • I am intrigued by emotional dynamics in interpersonal relationships.

A coworker communicating with you might ask you, “What do you know about our customer in terms of what really matters to them?”

If you are interpersonally driven, then you are tuned into human relationships. You intuitively understand the feelings, motivations, and goals of others. Your understanding of the customer is rooted in the emotional connections you develop.

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2. Intrapersonal

Your preferred learning style is intrapersonal if you agree with the following:

  • Learning about myself is central to my understanding of others.
  • To achieve clarity, I first need to be aware of my feelings, intentions, motivations, and goals.
  • I have a good sense of self-direction and think independently.

A coworker communicating with you might ask you, “What values are we really talking about?”

Because you are introspective (intrapersonal), you understand the deep values inherent in a situation. You use your inner experience as a means of connecting to others and gleaning the purpose behind what is occurring.

3. Linguistic

Your preferred learning style is linguistic if you agree with the following:

  • I like to use words.
  • I pay careful attention to the meaning of words.
  • I like explaining, teaching, or persuading others.

A coworker communicating with you might ask you, “What words do we need here?”

Because your strength lies in conceptualizing in words, your explanations and descriptions are naturally clear and precise.

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4. Logical

Your preferred learning style is logical if you agree with the following:

  • I reason things through step-by-step when thinking and talking.
  • I prefer to follow a train of thought through to its logical conclusion without interruption.
  • I like to find rational explanations for almost everything.

A coworker communicating with you might ask you, “How can we line up the pieces to this to make it hang together?”

Your logical sense automatically lines up processes coherently and efficiently. You understand the sequence of events and have a good grasp of the numbers and how they relate to the flow of a project from beginning to end.

5. Visual-Spatial

Your preferred communication style is visual-spatial if you agree with the following:

  • I can see things from different angles when I hear a description.
  • I can easily conceptualize the relationship between objects.
  • I often use metaphor to explain something to others.

A coworker communicating with you might ask you, “What’s the big picture look like?”

You see the big picture because you are visually-spatially strong and look at situations from an aerial view, seeing the relationships between the different parts of the project.

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6. Kinesthetic

Your preferred learning style is kinesthetic if you agree with the following:

  • My sensory experience is very strong.
  • I sense others’ feelings and easily absorb their energy.
  • Physical movement helps me process information.

A coworker communicating with you might ask you, “Are there some symbols that pop to mind?”

You usually “get” the symbolic nature of communication and frequently connect a symbol that draws together the important elements in a project.

7. Auditory

Your preferred learning style is auditory if you agree with the following:

  • I really notice tone of voice when someone is speaking.
  • I can tell how someone feels by the sound of his or her voice.
  • Music helps me think things through.

–Robert V. Keteyian is a communication consultant and coach. He is the author of Do You Know What I Mean?–Discovering Your Personal Communication Style. To learn more about this framework for communication styles, visit www.robertketeyian.com.