Different Types of Communication:
How to Click Easily With Your Team

We all have different types of communication so it can sometimes feel as though your employees are literally speaking a different language!

All of us click with some people quicker than others. A lot of this has to do with our style of communication.

How people communicate tends to reflect how they are processing information in their brains.

There are essentially four types of communication - visual, auditory tonal, kinesthetic & auditory digital. Some people prefer to process information in pictures, some as sounds, others as feelings etc.

Whilst everyone uses all of these systems to some extent, most people will have a dominant style that they prefer to use.

Each one of the different types of communication has certain characteristics. Good communicators are able to notice these in other people and adapt their own way of communicating accordingly.

Summary of the four types of communication:

1. Visual

People who are visual tend to be thin with an erect posture and high voice. They are very fast talkers and they use visual words such as bright, focus, perspective, colourful, seems, look etc.

When a visual person tells you ‘oh, I see what you’re saying’ they mean it literally. To them they have to ‘see’ an internal picture of what you’re saying to understand and memorize it.

Visual people struggle to follow long verbal instructions, their minds tend to wander off.

2. Auditory

People who are auditory often have nice melodic voices and tend to tilt their heads to one side as they listen. They like to use words like harmonious, loud, ‘sounds like’ etc. When they say “I hear what you’re saying” they mean it literally.

Auditory people find it easier to follow verbal instructions that others but are more easily distracted by noise.

3. Kinesthetic

Kinesthetic people are often fuller figured and round shouldered. They speak verrrrry verrrrry slowly compared to the other communication styles because when they process information they have to get a sense or a feeling about it which is a much slower process than looking at or hearing something.

The words kinesthetics use include touchy feely words like heavy, grasp, feel, warm, get a handle on, pull some strings etc. Team members who are kinesthetic will need to do or walk through something to memorize it.

4. Auditory Digital

People who are predominantly auditory digital tend to speak in monotone, clipped voices. They also like to fold their arms, hold their head up and gaze over your head.

Under pressure they often use super convoluted sentences with lots of big words that make no sense to anyone else. They’ll say things like ‘statistically speaking’, reasonable and logical.

Team members who are auditory digital will memorize things by steps and procedures.

The implications of these different types of communication are:

  • We tend to have more instant rapport and a liking for people using the same style
  • We tend to struggle to communicate with those people who have different types of communication to us
  • When we’re talking to teams we need be aware of adapting what we say for each style
  • The way to quickly build rapport with others is to match and mirror their style of communication
  • When we’re stressed we tend to revert to our own preferred style

Business Coaching Questions:

  • Can you identify the different types of communication within your team?
  • In what situations might you currently need to adapt your communication style and how?


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