4 Business Communication Styles and How to Work With Them

March 4, 2019 6 min read

Gaetano DiNardi

Gaetano DiNardi

Business Communication Styles: Man and woman shaking hands

Effective communication in the workplace is essential — not only does it play a role in achieving your daily goals, but it has a significant impact on your career. You and your colleague’s business communication styles play an important part in successful collaboration.
Understanding how you communicate and the communication styles of those around you is a game-changer. Communication is so much more than the words we speak. It includes our body language, non-verbal cues, and the behavior that follows our words.
To effectively connect with those around you, it’s helpful to know the different communication styles. While no one style is inherently better than the other, picking the right style for the right audience is imperative. Let’s explore the four major communication styles here, and feel free to jump to our communication styles flowchart below.

#1 Analytical Communication Style

illustrated lady pointing her finger
Analytical communicators prefer to communicate with data rather than emotions. They are often great at forming solid arguments and making their points quickly and clearly. This business communication style is often very effective in a business environment, and these people often hold upper management positions.
Analytical communicators can be seen as authoritative and informed as they often possess high levels of data and expertise. Analytical communicators:

Use logic rather than intuition.

They prefer to have specific, measurable evidence when making a point, often using numbers as evidence. This allows them to approach problems from a dispassionate point of view and can make them great decision-makers.

Are perceived as reliable and dependable.

Their reputation for making fact-based choices makes them a top candidate for honest feedback and unbiased opinions.

Can come off as cold.

An analytical communicator typically does not enjoy small talk and prefers to make their point known immediately. This is rarely personal and is just a part of how they interact.

How to Work With Them

When communicating with an analytical communicator, you should always include hard data, real numbers, and specific language. Try to keep feelings and emotions out of your argument and present information with facts. They may prefer written communication so that they can pour over the data presented.
For example, rather than telling an analytical communicator that “sales are up this quarter,” give them an exact number. “Sales are up 5.8% this quarter” will elicit a much better response from this type of person.<
When speaking with them, avoid beating around the bush and get straight to the point. Avoid any sort of cryptic language and ensure you are clear about what you want — the analytical communicator will thank you.
Related: 15 Top Reputation Management Examples for Small Businesses

#2 Intuitive Communication Style

illustrated man thinking about charts, graphs and ideas
Intuitive communicators are essentially the opposite of analytical communicators. They prefer a more casual, big-picture approach to convey their points and appreciate when others do the same. Details aren’t as important to them, and they prefer out-of-the-box thinking.
Intuitive communicators don’t need to hear things in linear order to understand concepts and prefer a broad overview instead. Intuitive communicators often:

Contribute big ideas.

Their creative, unconventional point of view allows them to come up with big, bold ideas. This makes them great for brainstorming sessions or creative meetings.

Prefer to use visuals.

Many intuitive communicators present visual examples when communicating, such as charts, diagrams or examples. This helps them illustrate the whole of an idea more easily. You could easily do this through a business phone app using the screen-sharing functionality.

Need to avoid distractions.

When interacting, they like to give a broad overview that excludes the minute details, which they find distracting. This can mean they have less patience for more detail-oriented tasks or conversations.

How to Work With Them

When working with an intuitive communicator, it’s important to take a step back from the details of a subject and get to the heart of an idea before connecting. They prefer to cut to the chase and may not appreciate step-by-step instructions. They tend to prefer in-person communication so they can grasp a concept faster.
For example, rather than including all the details of a concept, you should try explaining why the concept is important and how it is connected in the grand scheme of things. You may need to send the details via email later.

#3 Functional Communication Style

illustrated lady asking questions and making a plan
Functional communicators like details, processes, timelines, and other well-thought-out plans. They want to ensure that no details are left out of any communications by laying out their thoughts in a linear manner.
Contrary to the intuitive communicator, who would prefer to skip all the details and get to the end of a conversation, functional communicators will feel like they are missing context and important bits of information. Functional communicators often:

Ask a lot of questions.

They want to make sure they understand every detail of a plan or project and thrive in situations where they are allowed to ask questions freely.

Prefer completed plans.

They prefer step-by-step, completely laid-out processes. Before diving into a project, they will want to understand their responsibilities, expectations, and timelines.

Need consistent feedback.

Functional communicators value feedback and use it to improve over time. They enjoy seeing different perspectives to understand more about themselves and their work.

How to Work With Them

When working with a functional communicator, you should ensure that they have all the available information upfront. Giving them a written timeline or list of expectations before discussing a project gives them time to formulate questions. Answering these questions is important for their success.
For example, instead of asking a functional communicator to come up with a big idea, allow them to be the implementer. Their attention to detail and process-driven thought patterns make them the perfect candidates to take action and carry out plans.

Related: Top Business Communication Channels & Examples

#4 Personal Communication Style

two illustrated hands shaking and figures communicating
The personal communicator uses emotion and connection to understand the world around them. They value assessing how their co-workers think and feel and what they are motivated by.
These people often prefer to have personal relationships with the people they work with in order to gauge what they are thinking.
They are typically able to recognize non-verbal communication and read between the lines, especially when they know the person they are collaborating with. Personal communicators often:

Are seen as diplomatic.

They love to listen and are typically good at smoothing over conflicts. They are concerned about the health of their relationship, so will go out of their way to make sure everyone involved in a project or task feels heard.

Prefer to speak in person.

Given the nature of their emotional communication style, they often like to meet face-to-face in order to read non-verbal cues and ensure a genuine connection.

Communicate their feelings.

These people will let you know exactly how they feel and expect you to do the same. This can be seen as unprofessional to some, but an emotional connection helps them communicate effectively.

How to Work With Them

When working with a personal communicator, it’s important to establish a connection before diving into the details of a project. Use emotional language and consider asking them how they feel about certain opinions or decisions.
For example, rather than approaching these people with data and hard numbers, you should take the time to let them into your thoughts. Discussing why you came to certain conclusions or use a certain process can make all the difference for personal communicators.

There’s No Better Time to Build Rapport

The key to a harmonious workplace is tailoring your verbal, non-verbal, and written communication to the audience at hand. If you’re meeting with your boss, who is an analytical thinker, perhaps it’s best to come prepared with hard data. If you’re preparing to email some constructive criticism to your coworker who is a personal communicator, consider setting up an in-person meeting instead.
Learning to recognize different styles and training your employees to do the same can improve overall effectiveness and organization in the workplace. Use the flowchart below to figure out your business communication style!

What Is Your Business Communication Style? [Infographic]

Related: Fact or Fiction: Top 10 VoIP Myths & Misconceptions You Should Know

Gaetano DiNardi


Gaetano DiNardi

Gaetano DiNardi led demand generation at Nextiva and has a track record of success working with brands like Major League Baseball, Pipedrive, Sales Hacker, and Outreach.io. Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter. He’s worked with major artists like Fat Joe, Shaggy, and loves making music to stay turbocharged.

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