My Communication Style

Have you ever been to a presentation, and when it was finished you noticed that for some people it really hit the mark while for others their experience was very different? One of the reasons this happens is that we all have preferences in the way we receive information.

In the early 1960s, two industrial psychologists, Drs David Merrill and Roger Reid, set out to understand whether they could predict managerial, leadership and sales performance. To do this, they explored how people behave in social situations and discovered that people’s behaviour follows two continua, which they labelled: assertiveness and responsiveness. Assertiveness styles range from ‘asking’ to ‘telling’ behaviours, while Responsiveness styles vary from ’emoting’, or displaying our feelings, to ‘controlling’ our emotions.

Using the two continua they defined four behavioural styles that we each everyone displays, often referred to as the Social Styles model. As with other models, every person has their own preferences and dominant style, but can display all of the styles from time to time.

While the model helps you identify your own preferred style of communication, the value of the model lies in using it to assess the people around you, and knowing how to get the best from people with each preference.

Merrill and Reid labelled our ability to adapt to other people’s styles as ‘versatility’. When you present, you need to use this versatility to identify the different styles of your audience and ultimately adapt your own communication style to meet their. We will cover how best to do this further in the journey. When you do this, you will find that your message stands a better chance of being understood and increases the likelihood chance of your audience accepting and buying into your message.

Learn more about the four different styles

Different communication styles in action

Access a quick reference guide