There are four verbal communication styles. That much psychologists and business consultants all agree on. However, (a medical recruiting company) has gone a step further and provided some excellent recommendations for being an effective leader for people with each verbal communication style.

  1. Relater Relaters are considerate and sympathetic, focused on people and interpersonal relationships. They’re wonderful team players since they’re so easy to work with. They are also great listeners, always willing to help others, but their desire to keep everyone happy sometimes interferes with getting the job done. They dislike conflict and change, upsetting their relationships and work routine.

    Leading a Relater In order to communicate effectively with a Relater, you need to spend time establishing a rapport with them. Share personal experiences and find common interests. Avoid being pushy or aggressive and, now that you are the boss, make sure the Relaters on your team are not overburdened or distracted by other peoples problems.

  2. Socializer Socializers are expressive and spirited, valuing relationships, acceptance and personal prestige. They are animated, speak fast, gesture a lot and tend to be easily sidetracked. Socializers are great motivators because they are so enthusiastic. They focus on the bigger picture, sometimes at the expense of details, are intuitive, unafraid of conflict and enjoy spirited discussions involving differences of opinions.

    Leading a Socializer Be willing to keep up with their breakneck conversational pace and be patient with their digressions. Focus on concepts and trends and on what they might mean for the future. As the boss, give the Socializers on your team the tasks that require innovation, and be sure they are invited to office parties. If you need to assign independent or repetitive work to a Socializer, keep an eye on the progress.

  3. Thinker Thinkers are technical and systematic, valuing logic, thoroughness and precision. They focus on facts and details while communicating. They also have a methodical way of approaching problems and tasks so they work well independently. While Thinkers are detail-oriented and always will have the best PowerPoint presentations, they may get bogged down in detail and lose site of the big picture. They, like the Relaters, are uncomfortable with conflict because they give preference to facts over emotion. They also need time to adapt to change – like having a new boss.

    Leading a Thinker Present your ideas in a logical fashion, backed up with facts and proof. Try not to rush your Thinker during a conversation or task. To help Thinkers cope with change, focus on the reasons that made it necessary and the process needed to achieve it. Encourage your Thinkers to share their ideas, since they tend to be quiet and reserved during group sessions.

  4. Director Directors are bold and direct folks who focus on the big picture and tend to be competitive, aggressive, and ambitious. They get right to the point and generally do it in as few words as possible. Directors may come across as forceful and intimidating to others. They are concerned with achieving their goals and often forget about the needs of the people carrying the workload. Directors like being involved in several projects at once, are not detail-oriented and can underestimate how long a task will take. They are unafraid of conflict, may seem stubborn in defending their ideas and thrive on taking charge.

    Leading a Director Get to the point right away! Communicate your ideas quickly and clearly. Show how your ideas are compatible with their goals and ensure that your Director’s curt and straightforward style of communicating isn’t causing conflict with the rest of the team.

Each verbal communication style has its own strengths and drawbacks and most workplaces rely on a mix of styles to maximize productivity. The trick is to recognize others’ verbal communication styles and adapt your own to get your message across, avoid conflict and make your environment better for everyone.

Barriers to
Effective Verbal Communication Styles
for Women in Management

If you find that someone on the team doesn’t fit into one of the four communication styles, or you have special difficulty communicating with him or her, the answer might be found in one of the following barriers to effective communication styles.

  • The sender or receiver has poor knowledge of the subject or is inadequately prepared.

  • The sender doesn’t believe in the message or support the policy behind it.

  • The receiver isn’t interested in the subject.

  • The sender or receiver is preoccupied with something else.

  • One party to the communication fails to say what they really mean.

  • The sender and receiver are using different vocabularies.

  • There exist cultural or professional differences between the communicators.

  • The communicators are making different assumptions.

  • There is a status difference creating a negative reaction by one or the other.

  • One or both communicators are unintentionally (or maybe even intentionally) miscommunicating.

  • Outside interference or distractions are happening.

  • Time pressure doesn’t allow for effective communication to occur.

If you still can’t figure out how to communicate effectively with a team member, sit down with him or her and honestly let them know you believe there is an verbal communication style problem, then work out a mutually agreed upon solution. The silence treatment is never an option!