Several factors influence your communication style, but there are four primary factors that lend their influence: culture, emotional intelligence, professional training and gender. According to speech and language pathologist Rebecca Shafir, your communication style will be an expresser, driver, analytical or relater. Based on the category in which your communication style falls, your personality type will be passive, assertive or aggressive.
Culture is central to how you express yourself, according to a PBS.org article by Marcelle E. DuPraw and Marya Axner. Culture is a broad concept with many different definitions. At its most basic, culture refers to the environments that help to shape your worldview or the way you interpret things that go on around you. Your family and the country you grew up in, as well as any countries you may have lived in, will all become a part of your culture. Whether you're an expressive or analytical communicator will always be influenced by your cultural upbringing.
An article on interpersonal communication from the University of Northern Iowa notes that 85 percent of what characterizes outstanding leaders is emotional intelligence. Your ability to accurately evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and to interpret the emotions of others is what makes up your emotional intelligence. If a coworker has a driver communication style and approaches you with an issue that makes her visibly angry, choosing a relater communication style may prevent an escalation in the discourse and lead to a positive outcome. The manner in which you communicate is by no means fixed. Your emotional intelligence allows you to successfully alter your communication style for a given situation and build healthy relationships.
Your communication style can change with influence from a variety of factors. One of these is formal training. Even though your cultural background may make you more inclined to a passive communication style, you can attend seminars or workshops to develop a more aggressive communication style for business purposes. Professional training can help you identify your communication style, and you can use this self-awareness to make whatever changes are needed.
Your gender has an influence on your communication style. Being cognizant of how you communicate with men and women in the workplace can be particularly helpful in developing healthy relationships. The University of Northern Iowa's article on interpersonal communication suggests that men should be polite and not monopolize conversations and avoid direct, "barking" vocal tones in their interactions with women in the workplace. Women should speak up and avoid statements that suggest indecisiveness. These recommendations are based on communication styles that have been identified as gender-specific.
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