Communication styles

At breakfast today, I was reading an article about communication styles.  I didn’t get to finish the are article before I had to leave the house, but I did get a lesson on communication styles in the morning drive.  The opportunity to communicate in the workplace by writing or speaking is like a turn signal–everybody has one.  But the use of this ubiquitous communication instrument varies among users.  Sitting at an intersection near my children’s school, I made a quick observation of the four types of communicators.

(Picture courtesy of

(Picture courtesy of



The direct communicator is typified by those who don’t use a turn signal because they are making quick decisions.  These are usually the type that cut over 2 lanes to get an exit because they were so focused on the lane ahead.  When making the cut, they usually don’t use a signal either because they are only focused on getting to the exit. Essentially, these drivers may not be aware that there are other cars on the road.

The spirited communicator is very aware that others are on the road, and might be the type who uses the turn signal and additional signals to let you know their direction (or that you didn’t use your turn signal). These drivers are moving quickly.  At a stop sign intersection, they might be the ones attempting to speed things up by waving the other drivers through the intersection, causing more confusion than if everyone just followed the rules of who goes first, who goes next.  The added opinions of these drivers can add to the confusion by over-communicating.

The considerate communicator puts on their turn signal 6 blocks before the turn.  Goes very slowly as they get 4 blocks away.  Upon getting to the intersection this driver lets all of the others go first.  This is very nice (unless you are behind them) or if you are the boss of this person who comes to work consistently late.  This person had the same commute as everyone else–why does it take so much longer for this person to drive to work?

The systematic communicator is one who uses a turn signal, but puts it only when they stop at the intersection, not before.  They use the turn signal out of legal obligation, not to let other drivers know where they are going.  At an intersection they will follow the rule of who goes first, who goes second based upon who arrives first.  If there is a tie.  This person will know that it is the car on the right that goes first.  If they are that car, they will go.  If they are not that car, they will not go, but neither will they give the nod to the less well informed driver because even if they know there are other cars, they tend to not interact with the other drivers on the road.

As much as we like to think the opposite, we are indeed the same person at work as we are at home or in the commute between the two.  There may be an issue with your communication style on the street, but how does your communication style effect your work outcomes?  Be safe.

Jonathan Shaver