8 Communication Personality Types
“Listen and forget. See and remember. Do and understand.” – Chinese Proverb
Tell me how you speak and I’ll tell you what you’re like.
It’s well known that our personality directly influences the way we communicate. We’re creatures of habit so it’s helpful to know and be able to recognize the most common types of communicators, so that we are prepared for how to act with each.
It’s both interesting and helpful to know how to deal with toxic communicators who only want to argue or who think they are always right. As we’ll learn, patience, confidence, and empathy are three qualities we should always seek to maintain in any situation.
1 – The Indecisive One
They’re insecure and have many doubts, to the point that it takes careful attention and dedication to understand them fully. This type of person tries to keep all of their options open in order to avoid regret. For example, they might compare lots of items at the supermarket before deciding what to buy.
It can be difficult to communicate with this type. It’s not enough to offer a strong point of view or show that you’re utterly sure about something, because they may simply cling your confidence, thereby impeding their own development. The best approach is to display calmness and trustworthiness, and use words that encourage cooperation, listening and empathy.
It’s important to avoid making them feel bad about their indecisiveness. And when speaking, it’s best not to get bogged down in details or try to over-analyze, since it’s likely that they’ll focus on the things that aren’t relevant.
2 – The Silent One
This type of person doesn’t offer up any clues about their emotions, whether positive or negative. They keep it all inside, including their opinions. They simply reflect on the situation, and observe and analyze what’s going on around them.
The best way to communicate with this type is to take a friendly and empathetic approach. You can show interest while still making them feel comfortable by asking closed questions, that is, questions that they can answer with “yes” or “no.”
Because they talk very little or not at all, it can make us think that they aren’t listening and we might tend to raise our voice. This makes them very uncomfortable and we should try to avoid it when possible. Similarly, when they do engage in the conversation, it’s important not to interrupt them.
3 – The Egocentric
This type thinks they know everything and projects a strong opinion regardless of the topic of conversation. They act superior, don’t accept advice, and try to control every situation.
These communicators are toxic to themselves, as well as those they converse with. They only accept praise and constantly refer to their own knowledge about the topic of conversation, often disregarding what others say.
In order to communicate with this type (without dying in the attempt!) we need to remain very objective and concrete, backing up our knowledge with facts. It’s also important to be assertive but empathetic listeners in order to facilitate a positive interaction.
If we aren’t sure we’re up to it, we should back off subtly without completely closing the door. We should avoid abruptly interrupting the conversation, arguing, or showing impatience or uncertainty.
4 – The Reflective One
This type of person tends to try to find a wealth of information about the topic of discussion. When we communicate with this type it’s crucial that we remain patient and that we receive the information they present objectively.
We need to give them time to think and adapt ourselves to their rhythm if we want to have a fluid conversation. We should avoid pressuring them, as they are not the best advisors and rushing them into choosing one option or another makes them feel nervous.
5 – The Conversationalist
This person loves to talk about any and everything. They can jump from one conversation to another without missing a beat, so it’s important to pay close and constant attention when talking to them.
They are always interested in what others have to say, so when we communicate with this type, we must stay on track with concrete points. It’s important to maintain our enthusiasm and not appear tired or bored.
6 – The Argumentative One
Another difficult personality type, these people enjoy contradicting and arguing about everything. Conversations with this type can make us feel exasperated, confused or guilty.
Conversation with these people can feel like a toxic cloud filled with their superiority, and can test the limits of our patience.
It’s important that we stand up for ourselves and that we provide facts that support our opinions so that we’re not trampled by their egos. It’s better to avoid arguments but at the same time we shouldn’t try to act sarcastic or critical.
7- The Shy One
These are reserved people who won’t look you in the eye and keep far away from those they’re talking to. Their hunched posture gives away their insecurity, it’s hard for them to ask questions because they are afraid of being made fun of, and they often feel scared and anxious in conversation.
We can help make this type of person feel more secure by encouraging them, offering advice, and focusing on the positive so that they feel more comfortable and open.
The key is maintaining a calm, relaxed atmosphere and progressively building eye contact so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by this type of nonverbal communication. It’s better not to try to lock them into fixed eye contact, since this can be threatening and makes it less likely that they will open up.
8 – The Skeptic
This type can be toxic to communicate with. They are always on the defensive, emphasizing the negative and minimizing the positive in everything.
They aren’t inclined to change their opinions, so they are rarely interested in discussing or arguing, since they are wary of being manipulated.
It’s important to remain very objective in conversation with this type so as not to give them any opportunity to misinterpret what we say. Given their tendency to make mountains out of molehills, we must be cautious and empathetic, while at the same time assertive and confident.
We must exercise patience — the mother of all virtues — and maintain our calm. It’s important not to leave the conversation, since doing so only reinforces this type’s belief that they don’t get enough attention.
Image courtesy of nuvolanevicata