I was recently fortunate enough to take part in a training program through my work which focused on the various styles of communication and types of communicators. My colleagues and I were asked to fill out a questionnaire, that generated colour coordinated profiles based on your responses. Each colour was representative of a different type of person, including those who were detail oriented vs. goal oriented vs. emotionally driven …and the list goes on. The four colours that were introduced represented the four types of people that we generally interact with, whether it be at work or in our personal lives.
At the beginning of the day, we discussed the various colours and identified positive and negative attributes for each. We also looked at where conflicts could arise between colours and their specific communication styles.
In a series of activities, we were first asked to choose the colours that best represented our way of interacting and communicating. Next, we were given ‘coloured’ attributes and asked to distribute them to our colleagues. Finally, we were given the results of a quiz that we answered in advance, which identified which colours we strongly identified with and what style of person/communicator we were.
I have to say that there were vast differences between how I originally perceived myself and how my answers reflected my true ‘colours’. Furthermore, the way that my colleagues perceived me were different from how I thought I came across, leading me to reflect on both my successes and areas where I have room to improve.
The biggest lesson that I learned was that we have to stop focusing solely on our own way of communicating and interacting and embrace and adapt to the communication style of our counterparts. Whether this is with our superiors and colleagues in the office, with our family members or with our significant others – it’s not all about us. While I may be the type to assert my ideas or opinions, that type of outgoing communication may overwhelm or alienate the person I’m speaking with. If this type of interaction is continuous, I may (unknowingly) cause a riff in the relationship.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that while someone’s approaches may be vastly different from our own, that does not make them less valuable. As young adults who are slowly forging our way into the working world and building and maintaining relationships in our personal lives, it’s important to keep valuable lessons like these in mind. What I learned is that the different types of people, and their corresponding communication styles, bring a different, and necessary, element to our interactions. After all, how boring would the world be if we were all the same?
Interested in learning about yourself? Take this short quiz!
(While not the same as the in-depth program I was a part of, it highlights four different styles of communication and breaks down their pro’s and con’s!)