Communication is one of the most important skills you can have as a leader and a manager. Effective communication can save you time and effort, improve your team’s effectiveness, and build trust among coworkers. However, not all employees are easy to communicate with. Some people are hard to reach or have different expectations from you on effective communication.
For example, some people prefer phone calls over emails; some find one way more convenient than another. In this article, we’ll discuss how to approach each type of person. You’re always ready to communicate effectively no matter who you’re talking to—whether an employee or client.
Listening is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone; however, it’s something you can learn when communicating with different people. The next time you’re conversing with someone, try putting down your phone and giving them your full attention.
If they mention something that interests you, ask questions about the topic instead of trying to tell them your own story. This may help you learn important information about the other person and show them you respect what they say.
When you’re talking to anyone, you should always be yourself. This may seem obvious; however, many people forget this when communicating with others. They try to be someone they think will impress others or someone they think that person wants them to be.
However, being yourself will allow for more genuine communication because you won’t have any lines or actions that are forced and unnatural. The best way to communicate effectively with another person is by listening closely. Then, ensure your message is clear and not misunderstood by either party involved in the conversation (i.e., speaker and listener).
Listening intently, we can understand what our conversation partner says without filtering it through our biases or beliefs. We then receive a complete comprehension of their message as intended by them.
Give Your Undivided Attention
- Don’t multitask when communicating with different types of people.
- Don’t check your phone or attend to other matters while talking to someone.
Be Patient, Understanding, and Non-Judgmental
You will likely encounter people with different communication styles in your first few weeks at a new job. Being patient, understanding, and non-judgmental will help you get along with everyone.
- Be patient with slow learners who need more time to absorb information than others. These people may also need more time to respond to questions, or they may request clarification on instructions given before they can proceed.
- Also, use your emotional intelligence and be patient with emotional individuals who express their feelings openly during discussions or give immediate feedback on issues raised in meetings or conversations. While this behavior isn’t appropriate in every situation, you should not judge them for expressing themselves openly (unless they’re being overly critical). Such people feel sufficiently comfortable in the workplace environment to express themselves without fear of being labeled ‘emotional’ or ‘sensitive.’
- Be patient with those who are going through a busy period. There may be many things happening at once. Someone may be unable to focus on more than one thing at a time, having multiple tasks and responsibilities to see to at any given moment. Again, someone may simply be trying hard not to make mistakes! We’ve all been there…it happens!
Everyone has a personal perspective on the world, as every leader must acknowledge. People have many different ways of expressing their feelings, making it difficult to understand what they mean unless you take time and put yourself in their shoes. To do this effectively, follow these steps:
- Be open-minded: Don’t be afraid of being wrong or receiving feedback from others; if anything, try to welcome it!
- Understand where others are coming from: Try to see things from their point of view by identifying with their situation. This can help prevent communication breakdowns when dealing with various personalities.
- Use active listening skills: Listening carefully shows respect for others’ ideas and feelings. As a leader, you give them the space to speak freely without being interrupted too often (if at all).
When you are curious, you are interested in the other person and what they say. It also helps you learn about the individual to connect better with them. This is especially helpful when building rapport with those who are quiet or shy. When communicating with someone calm, ask open-ended questions to encourage them to speak up and share their thoughts. For example:
- What do you think about this?
- How would you approach this problem?
- What would be your first step?
Summarize the Current Situation
Do this by giving examples of what you have heard. Also, ask the person to confirm that you understand and check whether you have missed anything.
Ask Questions and Listen to Answers
Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions start with ‘how,’ ‘what,’ and ‘why’ and are designed to uncover more information than a simple yes or no answer. Open-ended questions are also great for building rapport, essential to effectively communicating with others.
- Listen to the answers and try to understand the other person’s point of view. Ask for clarification if you don’t quite understand what someone is saying. Don’t assume you know what they mean or jump ahead in the conversation for fear of annoying them if you don’t participate immediately.
- If possible, follow up on conversations by email or text message so that there is written evidence of all agreements made during the discussion—especially if these are critical business deals!
Let People Know that You Hear What They are Saying
You may have heard the term ‘active listening.’ This means you are trying to understand what another person is saying by repeating their message in your own words. This shows that you are listening and not just waiting for your turn to talk.
- If someone says, “I feel like I’m always cleaning up after him,” you might respond with, “So what does that mean?” or “How does it make you feel?”
- If someone says, “I love how much time we can spend together now that our kids are grown up,” you might respond with, “That’s great! What made it possible?” or “That’s awesome! I’m so happy for both of us.”
Use a Practical Approach to Problem-Solving
Problem-solving is a vital part of communication, especially when communicating with different types of people, and it’s essential when working with people with different viewpoints. To be effective at problem-solving, you must ensure your goals are clear. What do you want? How do you want to achieve them? What resources are available?
You can Effectively Communicate with Different Types of People if You Keep an Open Mind and Are Willing to Adapt
Communicating with different types of people requires an open mind and a willingness to adapt. For example, if you’re talking to someone timid, you may have to speak more loudly and slowly than usual. If you’re speaking with someone very excited about something, you can use a soothing tone of voice and words that are slow and easy to pronounce; this will calm them.
When communicating with people of a different culture or background than yourself, try thinking about how your culture influences how you think, feel, and act in certain situations. This may be helpful for those trying to learn English as a second language, for example. This reflection helps us realize how our cultural background shapes our worldview. We can then better understand others’ perspectives since everyone has personal and unique experiences!
Conclusion: Communicating with Different Types of People
Understanding how to communicate effectively with different types of people is a skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life. By keeping an open mind and being willing to adapt, you’ll be able to communicate with anyone and make them feel heard.