Types of Communication Styles: How and When to Use Them

Last Updated on October 13, 2023 by Milton Campbell

Effective communication is essential in any situation. Whether you are trying to communicate with a colleague, customer, or family member, understanding different types of communication styles can help ensure that your message is heard and understood.

From assertive to passive communication styles, each type has its own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing when and how to use each style can help you convey your thoughts in the most effective manner possible. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of communication styles and discuss when and how to use them for maximum success.

What are communication styles?

There are various communication styles, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Some people communicate best through words, while others prefer to use body language and tone of voice. People with different communication styles often have different perceptions of what is effective in conveying their ideas.

Some people are very expressive with their body language and facial expressions, which can be interpreted as intimidating or confrontational to others. Others may prefer to remain relatively silent and use only subtle body language cues or no body language at all. In general, the goal of effective communication is to get the message across without offending or alienating the recipient.

Why are communication styles important?

 Communication styles are important because they can influence how people feel about and interact with one another. Different communication styles can lead to different outcomes, such as improved relationships or even conflict. Understanding someone’s communication style and your own is important in order to better understand their intentions and interactions.

What’s the most effective communication style?

 There is no single definitive communication style that works best for every situation. Each communication style has a time and place, and the right style for a given situation will depend on the individuals involved, the message being conveyed, and the culture of the organization.

Types of Communication Styles

person's face.

Passive Communication

Passive communication is a style of communication in which the communicator does not actively attempt to engage in the conversation. This can be done through body language, eye contact, and vocal tone. Passive communication can be effective when the communicator wants to avoid conflict or when they lack the time or energy to communicate effectively.

Aggressive Communication

 An aggressive communication style is a type of communication where the speaker behaves in an aggressive or offensive manner, often without any real intention of achieving the desired outcome. This can be damaging to relationships and can lead to arguments which can be costly for both parties involved. Especially if this is used too often when talking to others.

Body language is a major part of aggressive communication and can be used to convey a number of different messages. For example, crossing one’s arms may indicate that the person is feeling defensive and may not want to listen to what the other person has to say. On the other hand, crossing one’s legs may suggest that the person is feeling uncomfortable and wants to end the conversation as soon as possible.

Passive-Aggressive Communication

Passive-aggressive communication is a type of communication in which someone behaves in a passive manner initially with the hope of achieving a desired outcome without having to confront or openly express their feelings. The person may also communicate indirectly, using non-verbal signals such as body language. This type of communication can be frustrating for the receiver, as they may not receive the support they need or want. It can also be damaging to relationships if not properly dealt with.

Assertive Communication

Assertive communication is a communication style in which the individual expresses themselves clearly and honestly, with body language and eye contact. It is considered to be more effective than passive or non-assertive styles, as it allows for clarification and resolution of conflicts.

Body language can be used to convey assertiveness, such as maintaining a standing posture, keeping one’s arms close to the body, or keeping a firm grip on objects. Eye contact can also be important in assertive communication, as it shows that the individual is engaged in the conversation. Gestures can also be used to communicate assertiveness, such as using an open hand to show that there is no threat or anger present.

Communicating with other styles

Man in a suit talking with other people.

How to communicate with an aggressive style

When trying to communicate with someone who has an aggressive style, it is important to use caution. It can be tempting to respond with an aggressive tone ourselves, in order to get the point across, but this could backfire. Instead, try and maintain a calm and rational approach. Explain your points calmly and concisely, and avoid sounding defensive or argumentative. If the other person is not willing to listen or cooperate, it may be best to steer clear altogether.

How to communicate with a passive style

When trying to communicate with someone who uses a passive communication style, it is important to be aware of when and how to use active and passive voice.

Active voice is typically used when the speaker wants to take control of the conversation or make themselves the focus. For example, “John won the race” is an example of an active sentence.

Passive voice, on the other hand, is used when the speaker wants to allow others to take control of the conversation or make themselves the focus. For example, “The race was won by John” is an example of a passive sentence.

How to communicate with a passive-aggressive style

 When trying to communicate with someone who uses a passive-aggressive style, it can be difficult to know when and how to react. The best approach is to be aware of the signs and be patient. If the person begins to exhibit passive-aggressive behaviors in response to your attempts at communication, it may be best to avoid further interaction until a later time.

How to communicate with an assertive style

When communicating with someone who has an assertive style, it is important to be aware of when and how to use this type of communication. Assertive people are confident in who they are and what they want. They often take action to get what they want, which can be a challenge for those who do not understand or agree with their methods.

There are several ways to communicate with someone who has an assertive style. It is important to be aware of the person’s feelings and the situation at hand before speaking. If the person is calm and rational, it is usually best to listen without interruption. If the person becomes agitated or angry, it may be best to back off and wait for them to calm down. In either case, it is important to respect the other person’s right to express themselves in their own way.

Did you enjoy this article on communication styles? Please share and subscribe below.