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What are the 7 Communication Styles [Updated 2024]

Ever since humans existed on the earth, communication has been the center of our social life. It helps us to express our emotions, thoughts and feelings for each other.

Hundreds of languages, thousands of accents and millions of dialects, but the core idea of expressing ourselves doesn’t change across the regions.

As a president of HiredSupport for more than a decade, I have interacted with thousands of customers, spent hours listening to their complaints, resolving conflicts and training multiple customer support teams. 

My years of experience has made me realize that there are 7 main communication styles that exist, and each of the styles can be used based on the situation you are facing.

Let’s get a walkthrough of each style in detail:

Style 1: Assertive

Assertive Communication Style

Assertive communication style defines the boundaries clearly. People who use assertive communication style express themselves boldly while respecting the opinions of others.

It should be important to note that being assertive isn’t being a bully or pushover, rather it’s taking a middle position between these two high-ends.

For example, in the screenshot above, as Charles tries to convince Erik about changing his mind related to a particular situation, however, Erik was very clear about taking a rigid stance and got assertive in voicing his opinion out.

Assertiveness demands clarity, confidence and being super direct with your choices.

Traits of Assertive People

According to the MedicalNet, following are some of traits that assertive people exhibit:

  • Expressive
  • Have power to say “No”
  • Extrovert

Style 2: Aggressive 

Aggressive Communication Styles

Aggressive communication styles often tend to dominate with a complete disregard for the opinions of other people. People using aggressive communication styles are heavily focused on their internal feelings, ignoring what impact it may have on the other people.

For example, in the picture above, you can notice the old lady getting irritated with a genuine question, and tries to humiliate the other person with aggressive expression, “please bore someone else with your questions”.

Traits of Aggressive People

According to the BioMediCentre, following are the traits exhibited by the aggressive people:

  • Anxious
  • Violent
  • Hostile
  • Impulsive

Style 3: Passive

Passive Communication Style

Passive communication style involves expressing your feelings to another person indirectly to lower the risk of direct confrontation. People who use passive language, they often don’t feel comfortable while being direct given it may bring consequences for them.

It’s a style of convincing what you want to say, yet not not convincing it fully!

For example, the above picture is from the famous season of Game of Thrones, where the male person (Jaime Lannister) tries to advise his sister (Cersei) about not pursuing some of her goals and motives in a very subtle way. 

It’s a form of convincing your message, yet not getting direct with the person on the other side.

Traits of Passive People

According to HiredSuccess, following are the traits of people with Passive communication style:

  • Non-confrontational
  • Lacking strong opinions
  • Easily adoptable

Style 4: Collaborative

Collaborative Communication Styles

Collaborative communication style conveys the feeling of being one with the goal. You’ll find these communications styles getting replicated in sports where all the team players try to achieve one goal and this form of communication takes the place.

For example, in the above picture from the Fast & Furious, you can see both the characters are getting one with a goal they have in their minds. 

This form of communication demands a vision that’s greater than your own self and when you are passionately dedicated about your common goal.

Traits of Collaborative People

According to a research publication, following are the characteristics associated with a collaborative personality:

  • Agreeableness
  • Extraversion
  • Group process skills

Style 5: Emotional

Emotional Communication Styles

Emotional communication style expresses our internal feeling in the form of words that may not sometimes even follow the path of logic. Most of the romantic novels, stories, and movies try to follow this communication style to leave an impact on their audience.

For example, in the picture above, you can see a cancer-stricken girl expressing her feelings while using an emotional communication style. The girl is quite aware of her last days of breathing days, and using emotional communication, trying to express her gratitude towards her boyfriend.

Traits of Emotional People

According to Euruni, following are the traits exhibited by the emotional people:

  • Adoptable
  • Self-awareness
  • Empathetical

Style 6: Manipulative

Manipulative Communication Style

Manipulative communication style involves words full of skepticism and have hidden meanings inside of it. On the surface, it looks like normal talk, but it may have hidden intentions inside of it. 

You may never be able to recognize a manipulative communication style until you know the history of the person you are talking with. 

For example, in the above picture, the boy has a history of manipulating people and this time it was no different. On the surface, the conversation looks pretty normal, but deep down he had a lot of internal motives to achieve.

Traits of Manipulative People

According to Psychologiemieuxetre, following are the traits exhibited by the Manipulative people:

  • Making people feel guilty
  • Blaming other
  • Responding vaguely
  • Changing topics in the middle of conversation

Style 7: Empathetic

Empathetic Communication Styles

Empathetic communication asks to land in the shoes of a person you are talking to and trying to be one with the feelings of another person. Most of the customer support apply this technique to resolve complaints, queries and angry customers.

For example, in the above picture, I have portrayed a scene from the Game of Thrones where a person is confused and worried about his identity. However, another character walks in and makes him feel comfortable with his identity.

This shows a person becoming empathetic towards your feelings and trying to take the other person into confidence.

Traits of Empathetic People

According to Betterup, following are the traits exhibited by the empathetic people:

  • Acceptance
  • Good listener
  • Attentive to details
  • Curious

What is the Best Communication Style?

Well, there is no single answer for the best communication style. For example, I work in the customer support department. 

Our way to deal with the customers has always been super empathetic while resolving their issues. After all, we need happy customers because they generate revenue and we don’t want them to feel unheard if they are not satisfied.

And using this methodology, we have always achieved a customer satisfaction score of 90%+ for the businesses.

However, if you are working with friends on a team project, then maybe collaborative communication style really can help you a lot.

If you are a business owner and you are constantly getting unsatisfied customers, most of the time it’s not your product, but how you are handling your customer by using an effective communication style.

Get Customer Support Audit for Free

HiredSupport provides a free trial to audit your customer support and can assess if you are using the right communication style to satisfy your customers. 

Moreover, if you think this will consume extra hours to train your customer support department, I’d recommend to outsourcing it to the HiredSupport since spending hours to train your employees is a hidden expense that most of the people don’t even count.

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