The five styles of communication are: assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, manipulative and submissive.
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The well-known business adage, ‘people choose to do business with people they like’, should remind us all that the consulting profession is above all a people business.
It should come as no surprise then, that successful client outcomes are most often achieved when consultants demonstrate the professional behaviours and values that are fundamental to the concept of consulting excellence such as integrity, fairness, honesty and respect.
Collectively, these attributes help define a consultant’s personal brand and represent what clients can expect to get when they use their services. The successful consultant, therefore, is the one that recognises the need to sell the ‘who’ well before selling the ‘what’.
Excellence through effective communication
Throughout the course of their engagements, consultants will often need to be able to lead, coach or follow depending on the situation and consequently, being able to explain or inform, challenge, educate or persuade.
If consultants are to succeed in these roles, they will need to possess excellent communication skills.
Clarity, completeness, timeliness and relevance, the key principles of effective communication, will be paramount – but if they are to develop open, honest and enduring client relationships they will also need to understand the psychological aspects of human communication.
Communicating professional behaviours and values
The way in which consultants communicate with their clients and other stakeholders is just as important as the message itself; with every message passed, so too is a part of the consultant.
Non-verbal communication is a prime example of how individuals communicate their feelings either consciously or sub-consciously through their body language, tone, gestures, facial expressions and postures.
Consultants need to recognise that the style of their communication will have a significant bearing on how they are perceived by others.
The five styles of human communication
From the world of psychology we now know that there are five different styles of communication that individuals can choose to adopt:
- Passive aggressive
Want to know more about each communication style? Click here to have a look at the entire article.
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