As humans, we are all unique. Not only by looks, knowledge or beliefs, but also when it comes to communication abilities and preferences. Everyone has a different approach and a unique way of expressing themselves. However, there are also shared traits that unite us, and are used to place us into different categories of communicator: extroverts and introverts, creative and analytical, morning persons or night owls, and so on.
What communicator type are you?
When it comes to communication, there are a few major categories used to describe the most frequent communicator types. NY Times bestselling author Mark Murphy considers there are 4 main communication styles that can be used to describe most people: Analytical, Intuitive, Functional, and Personal.
Murphy is basing these distinctions on two major philosophical differences: the extent to which people adhere to emotions or data, and whether they prefer to communicate in a linear or free form way.
While no communicator is better or worse than another, it is important for you to acknowledge their existence and consider them in your daily interactions with people. Using the right style of communication to address your audience can make a huge difference in the end results. So let’s dig deeper and get familiar with these four major styles.
Analytical communicators need to be very specific: hard data, exact numbers, and specific language. Such people will stop you during a presentation if you are talking in abstract about a majority or a significant number of… and demand to hear the exact percentage. They might come off as cold or hard to please but, they are some of the most efficient communicators. These people don’t beat around the bush, they don’t sugarcoat the hard truth, and expect you to do the same.
When dealing with an analytical communicator, try to be as upfront as possible, provide as much detail as you can, and set clear expectations. Don’t use much emotional language, and refrain from adding anything that doesn’t bring value to the subject that is being discussed.
The best positions in a company for analytical communicators are those that have to do with numbers and data. They make the best statisticians, accountants, and programmers.
Intuitive communicators are the total opposite of analytical. They need to see the bigger picture and aren’t happy with plain data and unnecessary details. The so-called dreamers, they like to think about the future and make big plans. Visionaries who think outside the box. Not very good with following plans or instructions, intuitive communicators only need a general idea to see things unravel in the back of their mind.
For an efficient conversation with intuitive communicators, you need to play by their rules. Skip the details and present the main idea getting right to its core. Focus more on the what and why rather than how or the when. Keep on track and be prepared for follow-up questions.
Since they don’t do well with following orders or sticking with a plan, intuitive communicators need their freedom at work. When they are not the CEO, they thrive in positions where they can express themselves. The most suitable roles are in artistic departments like design or content creation.
Functional communicators are great at following-through with plans. They love details, instructions, and to-do lists. The systematic approach to dealing with everything makes them great doers.
They will always have a hard time communicating with intuitive people, since they speak very different languages. However, the analytical communicators will feel right in their element, as their approach to things is not very different. But while analyticals are great at… analyzing, functional communicators see everything in terms of execution. When talking numbers, they don’t see a spreadsheet, they see the final product that comes off those numbers.
Interacting with functional communicators isn’t difficult, as long as you keep to the point and offer as many details as you can. Practice active listening and repeat what they say to make sure you understood their point. Use exact numbers and set your expectations clear. Don’t expect for them to decide on anything before having enough time to go through the data and make a detailed action plan.
In a company, functional communicators make great managers. They have what it takes to handle a team and put all the wheels in motion to reach their goals. Their systematic approach and ability to make detailed plans and follow through is exactly what a team needs to succeed.
Persons who value the personal side of communication just as much as the subjects being communicated are defined as personal communicators. They rely on emotions and feelings, usually being empathetic and very flexible. While they try their best to connect and understand everyone, their style might be frustrating to analytic and functional communicators. Even so, they are usually the ones who get along with just everybody, smoothing things up for their teammates when needed.
Personal communication are usually very easy to talk to, as they are constantly making efforts to emulate to their partner’s style. However, they prefer light conversations and love follow-up questions. Avoid pressuring them to dig into details as they don’t do well with negative vibes or dialogues that are too cold and technical.
Personal communicators thrive in jobs that allow them to express their feelings or help other express theirs. In a company, they are mostly suitable in the Marketing or HR department.
Which style do you prefer?
It is important to acknowledge the communication style that you prefer, in order to be aware of what might go wrong when dealing with people who adhere to the other styles.
If you are a personal communicator, you might want to put in extra effort when dealing with the analytical style and provide them more data and less feelings. On the other side, if you like numbers and statistics but need to communicate with the intuitive style, you know that you should skip the details and emphasize on the bigger picture.
Either way, understanding how others make sense of things instead of assuming that everyone thinks the same as you can be a great advantage in both business and personal communication.