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Taking it personally: deciphering communication styles

August 3, 2016
Taking it personally: deciphering communication styles

In any job and in any workplace, it is inevitable that you get along with some people better than others.

Socially, you find yourself naturally avoiding those personalities that don’t align with yours in favour of those that are. But at work, avoidance is impossible when you need to work in teams, with clients and with suppliers.

Often we can mistakenly take people’s different communication styles as a personal affront. We might think they’re abrupt or overly friendly and unprofessional, or we may think we’ve done something to upset them.

One way to navigate through this is to understand that there are four distinct personality types and these have associated communication traits.

Taking this more considered approach not only diminishes the potential for being offended, but allows you to tailor your own communication style so that you can better interact with people and get the job done.

The Driver
The driver knows what they want and when they want it. They like to take control and do things quickly. Drivers tend to speak louder than others and may come across as intimidating and rude. They love the facts, but expect information delivered in a clear and efficient manner. Drivers are decisive and are often in leadership roles. When communicating with drivers, be short, clear and confident.  Edit out superfluous information and save the small talk for someone else.

The Expressive
Those who are expressive tend to show more emotions, whether negative or positive. They are enthusiastic, talkative and value loyalty and mutual respect. Expressive personalities like to have their ego stroked so give plenty of compliments and make them feel important. They like the facts, but examples and case studies are vital to bring these to life for them.

The Analytical
The analyst is interested in facts, details and descriptions, and will always be the one to find flaws in the system. They are critical and knowledgeable and therefore take their time in making decisions. When dealing with analytical personalities, be prepared to provide as many details as possible and plenty of data to back up your rationale. Most importantly, be thorough and remain patient.

The Amiable
People who are amiable are similar to expressive, but will need more help making decisions. They are friendly, great listeners and always happy to take on new challenges. Those with an amiable personality enjoy a laidback rapport with the people they interact with and require a clear mental image of the possible outcomes of your project. Remember to show your expertise and walk them through the entire decision-making process.

Finally, remember that no one personality type is better than others.  In fact, some personalities are better suited to specific jobs than others. Be aware of your own personality style and be respectful of those you interact with.

Intern at BBS

BBS operates a University Internship Program which offers placements in line with the university semesters, plus holiday period intakes, generally June/July and December/January/ February.

We accommodate trimester students and our program is open to applicants who are pursuing an internship of their own accord outside of the standard university semester calendar.

As a BBS intern you can expect to work alongside experienced professionals on real client projects, an environment which provides an accurate picture of what life as a communications consultant is like. You’ll also have a portfolio of work to take you forward to a future role.

BBS interns are always considered first for our graduate roles and many of our former interns have gone on to senior roles within our firm.

Working in a consultancy is diverse, fast-paced. It’s often said that “you’ll learn more in your first year in consultancy than in your first 3 – 5 years in another role”.

To apply for a BBS Internship, please email the Intern Program Coordinators with the following:

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