In my book How to Be A Grown Up, I put my thoughts about effective communication right up front in Chapter One because I think how we communicate is one major key to our success and happiness in all areas of life. How the world perceives us is heavily based on the way we speak, think, act, dress, behave, listen, live and interact — translation, the world takes in everything about us and that impacts not only how we communicate with the world, but how the world communicates with us! In this blog, I’m going to help you better get to know what kind of a communicator you are. In the quiz below, we’ll assess your standard communication style and that will help you pinpoint any areas that may be hindering you. It is important to know who you are and what style you use to communicate so that you can be more successful in everything you do.
We will be assessing three styles of communication: The Aggressive Communicator, The Passive Communicator and the Dynamic Communicator. Please chose option A, B, or C for the questions below. Answer the answer that BEST FITS how you might respond in the particular scenario. Don’t over think your answers – you are who you are and your initial instincts are usually the most accurate. I obviously cannot give you ALL of the solutions to improving your communication skills in this short little blog. I can however, direct you to chapter one of my book (hey, this is MY blog, shameless self promotion should be expected here 🙂 ) and I am also happy to answer any questions that you have if you send them my way. Happy quiz taking! Off you go…
1) When I am involved in an argument or disagreement with someone important to me….
A. It’s easier to walk away and brush it under the rug, or back down immediately to avoid conflict.
B. I will engage in the discussion no matter how heated it becomes until I’m sure I’ve gotten my point across. After all, it’s important that my voice be heard.
C. The relationship with who I am talking to is more important than the outcome so I respond based on wanting to stay connected, despite our disagreements.
2) When I feel my needs are not being met or there is something I want out of a relationship…
A. I rarely ask directly for what I want. I hope they the other person will figure it out on their own and do it for me.
B. I tend to be demanding. If I don’t put it out there, I know I won’t get it.
C. I find a way to discuss it or ask for it that provides the least conflict but gives me the best chance of getting what I want.
3) When it comes to having a heart-to-heart with someone I care about…
A. I don’t have heart-to-heart conversations. I just let the relationship play out and adjust to whatever the other person says and does.
B. I often become angry and accusatory during serious discussions. It’s hard for me to stay calm when I discuss important matters.
C. I express what I am trying to say calmly and give the other person a chance to express themselves. I want things to remain peaceful.
4) When it comes to expressing myself at work…
A. I typically can’t even articulate my long-term goals, and find it very difficult to approach those in a position to help me. I generally keep my head down and do what’s asked of me.
B. I know exactly what I want and need and am very vocal in expressing them to my superiors. I will achieve my professional goals at any cost.
C. I take time to consider the best person to approach and consider every detail of what I want to take away from our conversation. A plan is in place for several eventualities before I communicate.
5) In important meetings in my life (job interviews, evaluations about myself or my child, relationship discussions) I tend to:
A. Get so panicked thinking about all the possible negative outcomes that I am unprepared for the actual discussion and often feel I left much unsaid.
B. I am demanding and to the point. I have been told that my style could be considered aggressive or abrasive… but I look at it as getting what I need.
C. I carefully prepare the points I want to make, the questions I have, and chose a good time for a calm discussion.
6) My style of talking could best be described as:
A. Shy, quiet, self-deprecating, quick to agree and placate. Will always give in to get along.
B. I’m loud, boisterous and am easily noticed. I generally set the agenda or plans and others follow.
C. I shift styles based on where I am, which friend or business associate I’m dealing with, and go with what feels right in the moment.
7) At social gatherings like parties or events…
A. I prefer to blend in. I am often sitting in a corner keeping a low profile – if I’m there at all. I prefer not to attend events full of strangers; the thought of approaching/talking to them is too stressful.
B. I am often described as the life of any party. I generate most of the conversation and activity. I feel a sense of obligation to keep things moving along – sometimes inappropriately (excess drinking, gossiping, etc.)
C. I can function well in large parties of mostly strangers, and am completely comfortable in familiar settings with friends.
8) When I am with others and not feeling well or in a good mood…
A. I hide it all costs and try to stay quiet and hope no one notices. “I’m fine,” is my mantra.
B. I tell everyone. There’s no hiding it, so I’m not shy about telling everyone exactly why I’m so miserable. Maybe they can help, and at least they’ll listen.
C. I am open about what is going on in my life if I feel the time is right to confide, but not if it will adversely impact the mood or flow.
9) When something isn’t going as I had planned and I have to make a last minute adjustment…
A. I withdraw from the situation. I get quiet and retreat.
B. I get frustrated and have a hard time shaking it off. It impacts my mood for a while afterwards.
C. I adjust to the situation and move on as quickly as possible in hopes to make the best of an uncomfortable experience.
10) When I am in line in a crowded retail store and someone with a large amount of items cuts in front of me in line…
A. Say nothing. There’s no point in saying anything.
B. Loudly let her know that she has cut in line and that she had better get to the end of it where she belongs.
C. Tap her politely on the shoulder and casually let her know that she may not have realized it but she has cut in front of you.
If you answered…
Mostly A’s: You are a Passive communicator. Passive communicators tend to be fearful and avoid confrontation at all costs. It might be that you feel that you are not entitled or worthy enough to ask for or receive what you want; or perhaps you are willing to sacrifice your own wishes in exchange for avoiding conflict or confrontation. This style of communication might ultimately lead to feelings of anxiety, anger, depression and helplessness, which can certainly impact your ability to be personally happy and professionally successful. Some celebrities that might score as Passive Communicators: Katie Holmes, George Harrison, Jennifer Aniston
Mostly B’s: You are an Aggressive communicator. Aggressive communicators then tend to be confrontational and angry. Your (very) direct way of expressing your feelings and communicating can leave others feeling unheard, insignificant and even violated. This style of communication may ultimately lead to feelings of isolation, powerlessness and agitation that can ultimately alienate you from getting what you want from others. Some celebrities that might score as Aggressive Communicators: Charlie Sheen, Joan Rivers, Howard Stern
Mostly C’s – Congratulations! You are a Dynamic Communicator, the most desirable form of communicator. A dynamic communicator always wants both sides to walk away feeling somewhat satisfied; they are so successful in their skills that they can easily impact others with their words and style. Translation: Dynamic communicators get more of what they want, more often, with less conflict. A dynamic communicator lets go of the need to win and instead knows that the real winning comes when communication is effective and relationships are solid. Some celebrities that might score as Dynamic Communicators: Oprah, Ellen and Jay Leno