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Are you more of a Bill Gates or a Bill Clinton?

November 7, 2013

What is the difference between Ted Turner, Bill Gates and Bill Clinton?

All right, there are probably several differences, but one main difference is their communication styles.

Most of us know how important communication is–in theory. But it’s something we do so frequently that we are not always aware that we are communicating at all. As leaders, it’s important to assess our communication skills so we can improve upon them and become more effective.

Our style plays an important role in how we interpret a situation and how we are perceived by those around us. Leaders tend to fall into one of three communication categories: Expressive, Conventional and Strategic. Not sure which one you are? Be sure to test your style.

Expressive speakers tend to say it like it is. We sometimes describe them as not having a filter. They are blunt, to the point, and are not overly concerned with tact. Ted Turner and Joe Biden could both fall into this category. I’m sure it’s easy to imagine the downside for these types of communicators. Offending your audience can be detrimental to how your message is received. On the positive side, if you are an Expressive you are seen as trustworthy, since you say exactly what you are thinking.

If you are in the Conventional category, and most of us are, you are a good communicator who pays a lot of attention to circumstances around you and tend to respond in an appropriate manner. Some examples are Al Gore and Bill Gates. On the downside, Conventional communicators can be seen as being reactive to context and not proactively managing the situation at hand.

And finally, there are the Strategic communicators. These leaders have a heightened sensitivity to language, and are rather precise when using it. Some examples are Dr. Martin Luther King and Bill Clinton. They are masters when it comes to shaping context and looking for alternative possibilities, but their skills can also lead them to be viewed as manipulative.

To learn more about improving your leadership style through communication or to spark up your style in order to engage more effectively with your team, view our recorded webinar, “How to Develop Your Charisma as a Leader.”

Do you agree that there are three types of communicators? What tips or tricks have helped you improve communication with your employees and peers?

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