How to Communicate with Different Communication Styles

Hermione at Pangea.ai
Michelle Newblom
Published: 31.10.2022

Healthy, productive communication in the workplace is essential for the well-being of any company. Productive communication differs from individual to individual, though, as everyone has their preferences on how they like to be approached, praised, and given feedback.

Luckily, you can group individuals into different personalities and communication styles to make things easier. During performance reviews, idea generation, or any other applicable moment, it’s key to be aware of everyone’s needs when it comes to communicating. And, if part of your team — such as the Human Resources department — is outsourced, it’s even more crucial to keep up with productive communication methods.

Why is it Important to Identify Communication Styles?

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to communication, no matter the situation — but this is especially true in the workplace. Different types of people respond differently to certain communication methods, and it’s essential to learn how to best speak with your employees if you want them to thrive.

Certain individuals appreciate blunt, to-the-point feedback — others will not respond so well. When you’re aware of your peers’ communication styles, it’ll be easier to resolve workplace disputes and better collaborate with one another.

Speaking of awareness, Forbes discovered that 90% of top performers are highly self-aware and possess great emotional intelligence. If you want to be a great leader, you need to understand yourself before you can begin to understand those around you.

Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung pioneered many of the modern-day personality tests we use today. He looked at both attitudes (introversion or extraversion) and cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition). From his findings, both Insights Discovery and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessments were formed.

As Jung famously said, “Every individual is an exception to the rule…Conformity is one side of a man, uniqueness is the other.” Just remember, people are unique individuals — personality types and communication styles are simply a way to better understand them, not define them.

Using Insights Discovery Assessment in the Workplace

There are several different models or tests you can analyze to determine personality type, but one of the most effective to use in the workplace is Insights Discovery. Insights Discovery is a psychometric tool that helps with self-awareness and how to communicate with one another.

This specific tool allows you to understand individuals’ strengths, weaknesses, and communication styles. It’s a 4-color model that, when used by your team, can enhance collaboration and de-escalate conflict and tension.

Character Trait Chart sorted into 4 colors - blue, green, yellow, and red.

Source

Fiery Red

Those who identify as a “Fiery Red” personality are often concise and direct, striving for success and expecting the best from those around them. They are striving to be in control and can feel uneasy when there is inefficiency in the workplace around them.

How to best communicate with them:

  • Be direct with feedback and questions
  • Appeal to their goal-oriented mindset
  • Don’t involve emotions

Sunshine Yellow

“Sunshine Yellow” personas are more informal and prefer a casual approach in the workplace. They’re often more open-minded and enjoy engaging with others. These personality types can thrive when they’re not completely restricted by set routines.

How to best communicate with them:

  • Be engaging and enthusiastic
  • Appeal to their openness to ideas and conversation
  • Don’t try to limit them

Earth Green

Individuals who fit best into the “Earth Green” personality category are happiest when there is harmony in the workplace. They also take on a casual approach to situations and try to stay away from confrontation. When they feel appreciated and can sense that others like them, they perform best.

How to best communicate with them:

  • Be patient and offer support
  • Appeal to their considerate mindset
  • Don’t be impersonal or insensitive

Cool Blue

If someone is a “Cool Blue,” they strive for precision and take a problem-solving approach to all situations. These individuals are precise and expect others around them to be the same. If they’re under too much pressure, they may completely withdraw.

How to best communicate with them:

  • Be clear and give them their space
  • Appeal to their logical mindset
  • Don’t approach them flippantly

Insights Discovery 8 Types

Beyond the 4 common color types listed above, there are 8 additional types that are made up of a combination of the colors. These individuals will exhibit their personality type differently depending on the role they’re in — whether that be a management, development, or entry-level position.

  • Reformer: Cool Blue + Fiery Red, Extraverted Sensing + Introverted Intuition
  • Observer: Cool Blue, Introverted Thinking
  • Coordinator: Earth Green + Cool Blue, Introverted Sensing
  • Supporter: Earth Green, Introverted Feeling
  • Helper: Sunshine Yellow + Earth Green, Introverted Intuition + Extraverted Sensing
  • Inspirer: Sunshine Yellow, Extraverted Feeling
  • Motivator: Fiery Red + Sunshine Yellow, Extraverted Intuition
  • Director: Fiery Red, Extraverted Thinking

Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment in the Workplace

Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) based on Jung’s psychology. Individuals answer a series of questions and are given a personality type that consists of 4 letters.

  • Introversion vs. Extraversion: Extroverts replenish their energy by spending time with others and are often more expressive, while introverts recharge with alone time and are typically more reserved.
  • Sensing vs. Intuition: Sensors are more practical and hands-on, while intuitives deal more with abstracts and creativity.
  • Thinking vs. Feeling: Thinkers are concerned with logic and reason, while feelers make decisions with emotions and take into consideration how it will impact others.
  • Judging vs. Perceiving: Judgers are happiest with order and structure, while perceivers appreciate spontaneity.

Based on these 4 categories, you’ll receive a personality type that looks something like INFJ or ESTP.

Rather than take a deep dive into each of the 16 personality options, we’ll explore the 4 temperaments they fall into.

Chart of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) based on Jung’s psychology. Individuals answer a series of questions and are given a personality type that consists of 4 letters. 
Introversion vs. Extraversion: Extroverts replenish their energy by spending time with others and are often more expressive, while introverts recharge with alone time and are typically more reserved.
Sensing vs. Intuition: Sensors are more practical and hands-on, while intuitives deal more with abstracts and creativity.
Thinking vs. Feeling: Thinkers are concerned with logic and reason, while feelers make decisions with emotions and take into consideration how it will impact others.
Judging vs. Perceiving: Judgers are happiest with order and structure, while perceivers appreciate spontaneity.

Source

Sensing Feeling

Sensible feelers (SF) are made up of the ISFJ, ISFP, ESFJ, and ESFP personalities. They do best with actions and performance rather than talking. SFs seek harmony and structure. While the extroverted SFs will gravitate more towards building community through socialization, the introverted SFs are better suited to mediating and conflict resolution.

How to best communicate with them:

  • Be supportive and encouraging
  • Appeal to their feelings
  • Don’t take an insensitive approach

Sensing Thinking

Sensible thinkers (ST) are made up of the ISTJ, ISTP, ESTJ, and ESTP personalities. These individuals love organizing and keeping things running systematically. They respond best to directness, goals, and deadlines. STs like seeing results and taking action.

How to best communicate with them:

  • Be specific and clear
  • Appeal to their ambition and goal-setting
  • Don’t offer vague solutions or instructions

Intuition Feeling

Intuitive feelers (NF) are made up of the INFJ, INFP, ENFJ, and ENFP personalities. NFs are happiest empowering others and feeling useful. In the workplace, you’ll find them recognizing issues and going out of their way to solve them. They implement their creativity into solutions and are very forward-thinking.

How to best communicate with them:

  • Be positive and personal with feedback
  • Appeal to their intuition and problem-solving skills
  • Don’t give them generic praise

Intuition Thinking

Intuitive thinkers (NT) comprise the INTJ, INTP, ENTJ, and ENTP personalities. They are great problem solvers and driven when it comes to their work. NTs are usually not found staying still, as they are constantly looking to clarify things and make systems better.

How to best communicate with them:

  • Be reasonable and open to change
  • Appeal to their intellect
  • Don’t limit or underestimate them

Conclusion

It’s crucial to keep each of your individual employees’ or peers’ needs in mind when communicating in the workplace. Whether you have an internal or external Human Resources team, make sure everyone who plays a role in your company is doing so in a respectful, considerate manner.

You can apply what you’ve learned about the different personality types to how you interact within your company, as well as with customers or potential hires. When working with a third-party vendor, it’s still essential to keep up good, effective communication.

If you need assistance contracting a vendor, we’re here to help. Simply tell us your needs and we’ll match you with 5 companies within 72 hours, for free. Then, when you select your best fit, you can begin implementing effective communication skills.

FAQs:

Q1. Why is it important to understand the type of personality in communication?

Workplaces are made up of diverse, unique individuals that have their own preferences when it comes to communication — understanding everyone’s personality type leads to less conflict and more collaboration. When you’re self-aware of how you like to communicate, and are also aware of how your peers like to communicate, it’s easier to understand one another and work together.

If you’re stubbornly trying to communicate with someone completely different than you — and not making an effort to understand their personality style — you’re more likely to run into conflict and waste time. Appreciate that everyone is different and learn how to adapt to others’ preferences.

Q2. How do you communicate with different personality types?

You communicate with different personality types by being aware and learning what each one needs when it comes to healthy communication. If you’re a more extroverted, spontaneous person, but your colleague is more introverted and precise, you both need to be aware of these differences and take them into account when communicating.

If your workforce all takes a specific personality or communication assessment, you then have a common language to understand each other. Keep in mind that different personalities excel in different areas, and it’s important to maintain a diverse workforce where everyone has unique skill sets.

Q3. What are IBM Watson Personality Insights?

IBM Watson Personality Insights uses AI (artificial intelligence) to analyze an individual’s content — coming from social media posts, texts, emails, etc — and assess their personality and social characteristics.


Many companies use this to better understand their consumers’ needs and wants and better market their products or services towards them. We’re all trying to understand one another better, either as peers or as customers, and AI is one avenue to get there. AI is becoming a more and more useful tool for companies' everyday functions. You can even use AI to automate your code development process.

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