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Finding Your Communication Style

 by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator, Agricultural Business Management

Group of people communicating at a table

Knowing your own and your employees' communication styles can help you to better communicate with your employee. Tailoring your conversations better to employee's styles will improve understanding and reduce mishaps.

The four communication styles highlight our preferences and identify how we most frequently communicate. This doesn't mean that we are limited to only one style, but instead, that we are most comfortable using this style to communicate our needs and beliefs. Before reading about the four communication styles, take the personal communication inventory question.

4 Communication Styles
Robert Younker, a project management professional, creating the communication style theory based on the four ways that individuals process information: action, process, people, and ideas. 

Action Communication Style: they tend to be direct, decisive, quick, pragmatic, and impatient. They like to talk about results, objectives, efficiency, and decisions. They can be viewed by others as unemotional or too fast. They are helpful when a decision needs to be made.
Action
For action-oriented farm employees, focus on the results first and get to the point when communicating. Make sure to state your best recommendation and emphasize the practicality of your ideas. State how your idea will increase efficiency on the farm or the benefit that it will add.  Be as concise as possible and when available consider also using visual aids to add to your conversation. 

Process Communication Style:They tend to be logical unemotional, patient, and cautious. They like to talk about facts, procedures, analysis proof, and testing. They can be victims of paralysis by analysis and have a difficult time coming to a conclusion. They are helpful when a well-thought-out plan is needed.
Process
As a manager of a farm employee with the process communication style, provide this employee with alternatives and facts. Process employees prefer time to analyze the information presented to them, when possible do not rush them. Be precise in your communication, organize information in a logical order, and outline your proposals.  For process-oriented employees, more information is better to include the advantages and disadvantages of different options.  


People Communication Style: They tend to be empathetic emotional, sensitive, and, spontaneous. They like to talk about people, motivation, teamwork, feelings, and values. They can get caught up in what others think and want to know everyone's thoughts and feelings, slowing the process down. They are good with teamwork and making sure everyone is included.
People
People-oriented employees need time to build relationships. While small talk might seem unproductive, it is necessary for them and the relationships they build with others can greatly enhance their sense of belonging at work and job enjoyment. Stress the relationship between your idea and the impact it will have on people. Show how the idea has worked well in the past, indicate support for the idea from other well-respected employees, and emphasize how it ties to the farm's values. 


Idea Communication Style:they tend to be direct, decisive, quick, pragmatic, and impatient. They like to talk about results, objectives, efficiency, and decisions. They can be viewed by others as unemotional or too fast. They are helpful when a decision needs to be made.I

Idea
Idea-oriented employees need to discuss and vet out possibilities to allow enough time for discussion. Remain patient if they go off on a tangent, this can be part of how idea communicators process new information. When presenting an idea, relate the topic to a broader concept, stress the idea's uniqueness, and emphasize the key concepts. 


To learn more about the four styles and how to tailor your communication to increase employee understanding, listen to the full 'Finding Your Communication Style' podcast. 

Episode 7 Transcript

Episode Content:
02:58 - Action Communication Style
04:00 - Process Communication Style
05:29 - People Communication Style
07:08 - Idea Communication Style


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