Most common Communication Styles

Communication is the act of sharing and transferring information from one place, person, or group to another, using signs, symbols, and other conventions mutually understood.

We receive information through our senses, therefore our way to process it can be visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory. They represent the modalities or sensory styles that a person uses to communicate, therefore to process and share information with others. 

Each of us has a preferred style, as we all have different preferences for some senses over others. Most people fall into the three main preferences which are: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic – also known as VAK.

Why does the communication style matter?

Have you ever had the impression of having a hard time in communicating and understanding the person in front of you? Sometimes you could be talking about the same thing, but you do not really understand each other, the conversation doesn’t flow and it feels like you are “not talking the same language” or you are “not in tune with each other”. In these situations, it could be that you are having a conversation using different communication styles. 

Talking using different styles has a strong impact on conversations and relationships. The kind of style we have a preference for, is an indicator of how we are used to processing information and how our brain is wired. Each model has its way to receive, understand, learn and remember notions or ideas. It also comes with specific words and expressions, and ways to share information with other people. 

We usually have a predominant and a secondary communication style. When looking at our preferred type: 

  • 65% of the population is a Visual person
  • 30% is Auditory
  • 5% is Kinesthetic

Some people can easily switch from one style to another, while others may have a hard time connecting to other styles than their own. In this last case, being aware of the different styles and how to differently talk to them, can be of great help for developing more smooth conversations

Let’s talk VAK!

The first step is learning to recognize the kind of person you have in front of you and find out their primary model of communication or their individual mix of styles. Secondly, it’s about aligning to his or her way of processing information by adding or changing some words or expressions in your communication. It’s not about changing what you say, but the way you are saying it.

When a kinaesthetic person would ask you, for example, “How do you feel about this idea?“, as a visual person you may think that you don’t actually “feel” anything in particular, but you might have a “clear picture on how to implement that idea in your project”. 

Here are examples of the different communication types, which you can start integrating into your conversations when you talk with one of the different communicators. 

Have fun experimenting!

ASK YOURSELF

  • What kind of words are the people in your office using?
  • What is your primary and secondary communication style?
  • What are the expressions you tend to use over and over again?


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