Communication is a two-way street where thoughts are being delivered with the help of words. Words carry tremendous power as Pearl Strachan Hurd had rightly said, “handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs”.
The words are an essential component of one’s communication style. These words with the tone, speed and gestures, make one’s communication style, and it is the style of communication of a speaker that impacts the conversation, emotions and thought the process of the people around.
Every individual has his own unique communication style that is why I believe it’s difficult to comment on the types of communication styles. But to mention a few styles, I would like to bring forth five communication styles put forward by a psychologist, Claire Newton:
- The Assertive Style: A sweet spot between being too aggressive and being too passive. The people who follow this style are protective of their own rights and are respectful of others’ rights. They can cope with justified criticism and accept compliments.
- The Aggressive Style: The person following this style will behave as if their needs are of utmost importance. They have more to contribute than others. It’s an ineffective communication style. This style is all about winning.
- The Passive-Aggressive Style: In this style, people appear passive on the surface, but are actually acting out their anger indirectly or behind-the-scenes. Prisoners of war often act in a passive-aggressive way to deal with an overwhelming lack of power. They are indirectly aggressive, sarcastic and unreliable.
- The Submissive Style: This style is about pleasing other people and avoiding conflict. They behave as if other people’s needs are more relevant, and they have more rights and more to contribute. They find difficulty in taking responsibility and making decisions.
- The Manipulative Style: These communicators are skilled at influencing or controlling others to their own advantage. Their words carry a hidden meaning about which the listener might be totally unaware.
Now, which style do you use while communicating? Are you using the correct style? Think about it.
I think we use all the styles mentioned above in our lives. And there is nothing wrong in doing so. We have often heard the phrase “people change along with time”. It’s because we are used to a particular style of communication from them, and when they change, it affects us as a listener. That is the reason; we often react by saying that he/she has changed as we don’t find them the same because of their communication style.
The understanding and use of different communication styles are essential because it helps you to deal with people around. Also, every style is useful depending upon the circumstances. For example, being submissive under physical threat situation such as hijacking or so. In such cases, one cannot adopt an aggressive style, as it can be life-threatening. Hence, one should use the style of communication very judiciously as it has the power to make you win or lose.