Identifying Communication Styles to Improve Your Career

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in career coaching, Counselling Blog | 0 comments

How to Master Your Communication for Career Advancement by Understanding Communication Styles

Is good communication ever a bad thing?  That may seem like an odd question.  But it’s important to consider.

It’s important because most people don’t take communication very seriously.  And, if they do it tends to be in regards to their family and maybe their friends.  But if it works there, why don’t we focus more on our communication in the places we work?

It’s because it takes some effort.  But you’re not here because you are just looking for the easiest road.  You want to improve your life, so let’s get to it.

Which Communication Path Will You Choose

Photo courtesy of Michael_Lehet

There are many different communication models available, and if you’re interested in learning more I can help you.  Before we go into the types of communication styles remember that everyone embodies all of the different styles.  We all have our predominate style(s), however.  For now, let’s talk more about the different categories set out by Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP):


The visual, as you might guess, see and think in pictures.

  • They memorize by creating these mental visual pictures.
  • They are often quick learners and are easily bored if there’s no plan or structure in place.
  • They value time. They like to start and end on time.

So, if you’re dealing with somebody who’s a visual learner, this would be a really important thing to know, wouldn’t it? If you showed up half an hour late for the meeting, and the visual learner is expecting you right there, you’ve already gotten off to a bad start.

Visual communicators are often neat and orderly. They dress neatly. There are also physical characteristics that may tie into that as well: They lift up their heads and stand back so they can take it all in.

It’s also possible to identify a visual learner by the words they use. They’ll say things such as: look, see, focus, imagine, show, visualize, illustrate, clarify, picture, bright, appear, clear, dull. They may use statements like: “I see what you mean”, “looking ahead”, “you’ll look at this and laugh”, “the future looks bright”, “it appears to me”, “taking a dim view”.

These are all indications of a visual learner. You will notice these come up in emails as well. Often, people will say close an email with, “See you later.” Well, that’s an indication of a visual learner.



Let’s move on to the auditory learners.

  • They put emphasis on words and what was said, versus what they saw or didn’t see.
  • The auditory learners remember what they hear, sometimes word for word (you may have encountered some of those individuals that can recount exactly what was said).
  • They often listen and they often do not take notes. They’re also very good storytellers.
  • One of the key things you may notice is that some individuals will speak out loud and talk to themselves often.
  • They make different noises, including auditory sounds like sighs or ohs, ah and woos.

There are different physical characteristics of how auditory learners stand. They will speak quite clearly. They’re often good orators, and are often easily distracted by noise. They have different learning styles, and of course with an auditory learner, they’re going to learn best by listening. The auditory learner will use words and phrases such as: “clear as a bell”, “loud and clear”, “it rings like a bell”, “rings clear to me”, “in a manner of speaking”, “that’s unheard of”, etc.


Auditory Digital

Auditory digital is also known as the internal dialogue process. These types of learners are often very, very structured.

  • They’re process-driven and can be very methodical and logical in their thought processes.
  • They need things to make sense.
  • They need to work through it internally along the way.
  • You may notice their need for structure when you’re speaking with them, as they tend to lay things out in a sequential structure: “Number 1, we do this. Number 2, we do that. Number 3, and we do that.”

Auditory digital leaners may also use statements such as: “that’s sensible”, “analyze this and get back to me”, “can you conceive this?”, “chart your progress”, “I’ll decide when I have the facts”, “I’m motivated”, etc. When they sign an email, it’s often short, with little more than “Hello” as an introduction. They’re usually big on “Yes,” “No,” and “Bye” as well.



Kinesthetic learners often speak slowly in a low or deep voice. They’re well coordinated and learn best by experiencing, by doing, and by feeling (This is an example of where some of our school systems may not be the best for certain individuals).

They’re often sort of touchy people. By touchy, I mean they like to shoulder touch, hand touch or hug. They use active words and statements like: firm, feel, get a handle on it, get a grip, and get a hold of yourself. Other statements they may use are: hang in there, that was hard, thick-skinned, don’t be so touchy, out of touch, make contact, show me what you mean, I can grasp that, hold on a second, I can’t put a finger on it.

They like to get comfortable. They may even use that reference as well. They are often individuals who have emotions in their language structure. If you’re a fast speaker, it may be a little bit more challenging at times. To really understand and be understood by a kinesthetic learner, you’ll have to slow down your speech patterns and listen in more.

How to Use This

You’re the one in the driver’s seat. Whatever happens next is up to you.


Photo courtesy of ArchivesACT.

As it is with any knowledge you have to apply what you’ve learned.  This is true for communication perhaps more than most other things you learn.  Otherwise it won’t contribute in a positive way to your career.

The easiest way I know to do this is to start looking at the communication styles of the people you work/interact with on a daily basis.  (Look at yourself first).  Then look at your spouse, kids, family, friends, coworkers, etc.

As you get better at this, you will be able to spot different types of communicators after hearing them speak for a brief time.  This will allow you to adjust how you speak to communicate more effectively with them.  That’s a topic we’ll cover in more depth (very) soon.

What communication style are you?

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