Effective communication is an integral part of the workplace. It plays a vital role in building your professional image and also in developing your career. Working with colleagues in the office and collaborating with other businesses requires certain communication skills and ethics that one must know.
Understanding and developing your own personal style of business communication can be the difference between closing a business deal for your company or watching that deal slip between your fingers. And communication is not just limited to the words that come out of our mouth! Your body language and attitude are just as important in conveying your message as your words are.
There are multiple styles and forms of communication which help to convey your professional message better than any casual style of conversation. This being said, there is no best or correct style of business communication. A good businessman has the ability to read his audience and choose his communication style accordingly.
Business communication styles can be divided into four main categories:
1. Analytical communication style
As the name suggests, this style of communication involves analyzing data and speaking on the basis of facts rather than emotions or speculations. This form of communication is good for making points and explaining your side of the argument. It is the most effective when you need to state facts and points quickly one after the other.
This style of communication is very authoritative and indicates a high level of knowledge and understanding of the subject. It is mostly used by people in higher levels of management and other such positions.
Some of the attributes of the analytical style of business communication are:
Based on logic and facts
This style of communication is largely based on numbers and facts and is used to make accurate points in arguments. Situations are taken up and assessed with a neutral and completely factual point of view. Great decision-makers often rely on this style of business communication to make sound decisions.
Tends to be accurate and reliable
Since this communication style is mostly based on facts and numbers, then it can be concluded that the information conveyed is pretty accurate and reliable.
May be perceived as emotionless or cold
The analytical style of business communication is based only on facts and is devoid of any emotional influence. Hence, sometimes it may come off as cold or emotionless. This style is mostly used to convey facts and unbiased opinions.
When to use this style of business communication?
The analytical style of business communication is extremely effective when having a serious discussion or debate about a problem or situation. Thus, this style is to be used when you mean serious business.
When one is dealing with an analytical communicator, one should include as many facts and numbers as possible. One should avoid using vague terms or references and present accurate data.
For example, instead of telling an analytical communicator, “The company faced a loss this quarter”, one should go with something like “Sales went down by 3.81% this quarter and we had a loss of 7%”. The second type of structure is likely to be better received by this type of communicator.
2. Intuitive communication style
Intuitive communicators are the exact opposite of analytical communicators. This style of business communication takes a more casual route as opposed to one bombarded with facts. Intuitive and innovative ideas are more welcome than mere facts. This style of business communication looks at things from a broader point of view and it focuses on the bigger picture.
Some of the attributes of the intuitive style of business communication are:
This style of business communication makes more room for innovative ideas and creative thinking. It is adapted mostly during brainstorming sessions when the company is looking for a new creative boost. All big, bold ideas are mostly born out of the intuitive style of business communication.
Use of vibrant pictures and visuals
Creative ideas are best represented by creative visuals. This is why this style of business communication involves a lot of diagrams and charts to illustrate their ideas or points. Visuals help them bring their idea alive.
Not much focus on the details
Intuitive communicators do not like to focus much on minute details. Instead, they like to present a broad overview of their points and are more idea-oriented. They do not like juggling around with too many facts during conversations.
When to use the intuitive style of business communication?
This style of communication is great for brainstorming sessions, as mentioned above. When the business is looking for creative ideas for sales or marketing or a creative solution for a problem, then this intuitive approach is used.
When dealing with intuitive communicators, one should connect the person to the heart of the idea first – the details can come later. It is important to convey the bigger picture of your ideas and explain the impact that it is going to create.
What about the facts or numbers then? You can always email them later!
3. Functional communication style
The functional style of business communication can be said to be a mix of both the analytical as well as intuitive communication style. Functional communicators like a clear understanding of the plan along with all the relevant details. They prefer to communicate in a linear fashion and appreciate it when ideas are supported by facts.
Unlike intuitive communicators who skip around all the data points, functional communicators like to make sure that they get each and every relevant data.
Some of the attributes of the functional style of business communication are:
They ask a lot of questions
Functional communicators want to make sure that they have all the details and facts of the plan. They are always wary of missing out on something important so they ask a lot of questions to ensure that they fully updated.
They shine best in conversations where there is a free flow of questions being asked and answered.
Detailed plans over incomplete ones
Such communicators, as one might already understand, prefer talking about fully completed and functional plans as opposed to floating ideas. Structured ideas with readily available details get them excited.
Need to be constantly updated
People who use the functional style of business communication like getting feedback on their work. They want to stay updated about how their plan is working out and appreciate inputs from others.
When to use the functional style of business communication?
When you are finalizing the details of a plan that you are going to implement, it is wise to adopt this style of communication.
While dealing with a functional communicator, it is better to have all the details linearly arranged beforehand. Handing over a detailed timeline and agendas is the way to go with such communicators. Looking at their characteristics, one can say that they excel at implementing detailed plans rather than brainstorming creative ideas.
Hence, to maximize their functionality and explore their full potential, they should be given the task of executing plans.
4. Personal communication style
As the name suggests, this form of business communication uses emotions to connect with the people around them. Personal communicators make an effort to understand those around him. They care about the feelings and emotions of those they connect with. They build close and intimate relationships with those around them.
These types of communicators are usually the ones who can hear the words not uttered and read between the lines, especially with people they personally know.
Some of the attributes of this style of business communication are:
Some of the characteristics of this style of business communication are:
Have diplomatic skills
Personal communicators have the power to listen to both sides of an argument and find a middle ground for settlement. They go out of their way to ensure that everybody is happy and satisfied.
Connect better one-on-one
Since people using the personal style of business communication are looking to bond with people on a personal level, they prefer communicating with everyone in person. They like face to face conversations as opposed to texts or emails.
Expressive and emotional
Such communicators are extremely expressive of their feelings. They say what they genuinely feel and expect other people to do the same. Building an emotional connection with those around you makes me feel at home and increases productivity levels.
When to use this style of business communication
Personal communicators fit the job profile of say, an HR manager, pretty well. They connect with everyone on their team and make sure that no one feels left out.
When dealing with personal communicators, it is important to establish an emotional connection. Rather than simply making small talk or talking about work, they prefer to get to know your thoughts and feelings.
Efficient business communication is a very important work ethic that everybody must know in order to succeed. Running a business or working in a company is not a one-man job. Teamwork is everything, and communication is the key to successful teamwork.
Figure out your style of business communication and talk your way to success!