Improving your communication skills could be a very vague idea- what does it even mean? Talking and explaining more? Having a better delivery or proper body language? Asking more questions? When we are overwhelmed by a topic we tend to just do nothing at all.
But there is one way to quickly improve your communication skills that will help you build a strong foundation and that is finding out what is your own communication style. You can easily do an assessment online to determine what are the ways you naturally relate to people.
Then, you can learn more about the other main types of communication styles. There are assessments that will teach you how the other types are different and also how to communicate best with them. Stay with me for a few more paragraphs to find out what are the best ways to improve your communications skills quickly through learning about communication styles.
Why do we care about communication styles?
You probably have a specific reason in mind to why you want to improve your communication skills. Excellent communication skills can take you far into your business or career but are also essential in every relationships. One main reason we “miscommunicate” or get misunderstood is not always the quantity of communication but the quality of it.
We are often unaware of how our partner or boss prefers to communicate. By learning more about communication styles you’ll expand your awareness and you’ll be able to pay attention in the future so you can achieve better results.
For example, I am an initiating communication style or the promoter depending on the assessment, and I like a little bit of conversation and connection before I get down to business. I like to be in a fun and light environment for me to thrive. On the other hand the directive style, are results-oriented, focused and competitive. When I work with people with this style I adapt by cutting down the small talk and focusing on efficiency and structure.
A goal of understanding your communication style preferences is to communicate with others in a way that is comfortable and effective.
How to pick the right communication style assessment for you?
Your first step is to determine what kind of assessment you’d benefit from the most. Start with answering the question- what are your goals? If you are in a leadership role and you’ll need to be a better communicator and leader, you may need a more in-debt and detailed assessment with more information. You can talk to the person you directly report to or your mentor in your organization and find out if there are any tools they are already using. You can also search the internet for leadership assessments.
If you are just starting your career and you need a basic understanding of your communication style to help you grow and also learn what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can begin with a simple online search for assessments and pick one that works for you. I suggest completing several different free assessments to get a more well-rounded perspective.
How to use the information?
First, take a note to your strengths and attributes. Remember that you are probably a combination of different types so try to be objective and list all the attributes you exhibit consistently.
Think of ways how you can leverage and continue to strengthen your superpowers. Make a list of new ways that you can benefit from what comes to you naturally and see what is your potential. Think of opportunities that you may have if you develop your strengths even further. Focus on creating a development plan that would be a natural continuation and growth from what you are working with.
Next, make a list of the perceived challenges or weaknesses. Based on your goals, determine which of them you’d like to improve. Make sure you are wearing your “growth mindset” hat and be open to the feedback you get from the assessments. By making small steps towards improving on your weaknesses, you’ll develop a more well-rounded communication style that’s adaptive and it produces results. Being aware of the way you speak, write, listen and your body language can be one of your biggest personal assets.
For example, people with my personality type could be perceived as talkers and not listeners. I’ve worked hard on allowing plenty of space for others to speak in my presence. Ironically, as a certified coach I speak very little to my clients. I focus on asking questions and making short statements. Because of the awareness I’ve gained through exploring my communication style, and then the changes I’ve made, I am able to be a supportive and inspiring coach for my clients.
Practical ways to improve your communication style
- Hobbies-once you’ve identified the ares you’d like to work on- think of old hobbies you may to continue to invest time in or to pick up new ones that will promote strengthening your specific skills. For example- I am a learner. Therefore, I continue to develop that superpower by having a reading practice and watching interesting podcasts that help me learn more things I’m passionate about.
- Relationships- think of people who would be supportive partners on this journey. Are there people with a complementing communication style that you can be closer with? Do you need to make more friends with similar goals so you could keep yourself accountable?
- Networking- joining different groups and organizations will help you flex your communication muscles and get plenty of practice.
- Working with a coach- working with a coach could be a great way to grow personally and professionally. As coaches, we listen to the way you think, speak and show up in the world and we reflect it back to you in a constructive way. One of the ways I help my clients with is to point out to the way they are speaking or thinking and 9/10 times they are surprised to hear that that’s the way they’re landing- sometimes it’s enthusiasms and energy, sometimes they speak shyly and more quiet. Having a coach could help you improve your communication skills so you can have more meaningful relationships and more professional success. Schedule a free consultation by clicking HERE.