What's My Communication Style E-Assessment & online course
Online report now includes the styles measured by each response option and an individual's selected responses to each of the 24 items.
Online Course giving you the option to deliver the course content as a self-study online learning experience.
What's My Communication Style 4.0 provides employees at all levels insight into their everyday communication with others. This assessment is appropriate for anyone who wants or needs to discover more about themselves and their communication preferences. Individuals identify their preference for one of four communication styles using a 24-item assessment. The instructor-led program then helps participants understand the various forms of communication and learn how to "flex" their own personal style to improve communication. Effective communication is the lifeblood of any organization. It goes without saying that excellent communication is important in the workplace. Team members need to work together and communicate effectively in order to meet goals and provide value to the organization. Yet, workplace conflict remains a constant obstacle. More often than not, a clash in personality is to blame. This is because it directly impacts the way we share and interpret messages. Without an awareness of communication style, we’re susceptible to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Based upon the work of William M. Marston, What's My Communication Style profoundly improves one's interactions and relationships with others. Learners take the assessment (either online or in print) through which they identify their preference for one of four communication styles. Learners then review a detailed interpretation of results where they explore their style's inherent traits, strengths, and opportunities for growth. With the virtual or onsite instructor-led program, or self-paced online learning course, learners discover how to adapt behavioral patterns in order to work more collaboratively with others. If you are familiar with the DISC-based assessments, you will find What's My Communication Style is a more practical and easy-to-facilitate alternative. QuickStart Train-the-Trainer is available to help you successfully launch your style training. Certification is not required.
What's My Communication Style starts with a self-assessment that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Individuals are presented with 24 different statements and are asked to select the response that best represents the way they communicate. There are four response options to each statement, and each response measures one of the four personal communication styles: direct, spirited, considerate, and systematic. Learners are then presented with a profile, detailing their total score for each style.
The majority of individuals will show a clear preference for one of the communication styles; this is identified as their dominant style. The assessment is followed by an approximately four-hour onsite training program where participants reflect on their results through group discussion and application activities and a develop an action plan for using their newfound knowledge to improve their communication skills post-workshop. The What's My Communication Style Facilitator Guide also provides an alternative workshop outline that reduces What's My Communication Style into a 1.5-hour onsite training program.
What's My Communication Style is appropriate for use with all organizational levels from front line staff to senior management. The assessment can be used as a standalone development tool, or it can be used with the included training program on communication skills. This assessment is an effective tool for identifying others’ communication preferences and learning how to flex your own style in order to improve collaboration. It can be useful for training in a variety of soft skill training topics, including:
- Team building
- Supervisory skills
- Conflict resolution
Start training your learners with personality style with a focus on communication – the most critical people skill.
Research shows that each of us develops a preference for communicating in a certain manner, commonly referred to as a communication style. Understanding communication style is an important first step in learning how to communicate effectively with others. What's My Communication Style provides insight into our everyday communication with others.
This assessment is appropriate for individuals at any organizational level who want to discover more about themselves and their communication preferences, including their communication style's inherent strengths and trouble spots.
Individuals identify their preference for one of four communication styles using a 24-item assessment. The instructor-led program then helps participants understand the various forms of communication and learn how to "flex" their own personality style to improve communication.
Based on the well-researched personality theories of psychologists Carl Jung, William Moulton Marston, and others, What's My Communication Style defines communication style with four terms: Direct, Spirited, Considerate, and Systematic. The simplicity of the model makes it easy for trainers to facilitate and memorable for individuals. The result is a tool that boosts individuals' ability to improve the effectiveness of their communication in any situation.
Understanding Personality Style
What makes people act as they do? Why does one person jump at the chance to do a public presentation, while another person avoids it? Why does one person focus on details, while another focuses on general impressions? What drives our actions has been a constant topic of debate. In the past, researchers were clearly divided into two camps: those who believed that personality style determined behavior and those who believed that the situation determined behavior. Those on the style side of the debate argued that personality traits are stable, consistent predispositions to act in a certain way (Wheeless & Lashbrook, 1987). For example, if you are outgoing, you will probably enjoy and excel in public speaking situations. Those on the situation side of the debate argued that people are inconsistent. For example, a person might be open and intimate with friends but closed and professional at work. Situational theorists believed that predictions of behavior are more accurate if based on the situation rather than on personality (Mischel, 1996).
To a certain extent, the debate over personality style versus situation was misleading. Many early studies on the subject were conducted in laboratory settings with severe constraints. Subjects in those experiments did not choose their situations and were limited in their choice of behaviors.
Snyder and Ickes (1985) offered a synthesis of those two previous views, arguing that people’s personality styles determine the situations in which they find themselves. For example, an outgoing person would be more likely than an introverted person to choose a public speaking situation. This view suggests that personality style and situation work together in determining behavior.
Even if people have no choice in the situations they encounter, they react to any situation with a limited set of behaviors (Bem, 1983). Although people’s behavior will alter as the situation changes, their set of behaviors from which to choose is not infinite, and they will display the behaviors within a behavioral set as determined by the circumstances. For example, not everyone is capable of being analytical in situations that call for analysis, but people will choose the best behavioral adjustment from among their set of possible behaviors. This set of possible behavioral reactions is a product of their personality style.
The results of another study spanning 50 years further support this view that personality traits are stable across time but also malleable to some extent as people mature and age due to genetic and environmental influences (Hopwood et al., 2012, as cited in Damian, Spengler, Sutu & Roberts, 2018).
Although debate may continue over the degree of influence personality plays in behavior, we can conclude that it is a significant component. In particular, personality style takes over when individuals have options in both their behavior and their environment.
We define personality style as the way people act when they are able to do things their own way. Does this mean that people act the same way all the time? Certainly not. Even the most boisterous individual would not be loud and jovial at a funeral. But behavior is consistent to the point that it is predictable. For example, everyone acts friendly sometimes. However, when a person acts friendly more than the average person, others start to consider friendliness part of that person's personality and expect friendly behavior from them most of the time.
"What makes people act as they do? Why does one jump at the chance to do a public presentation, while another person avoids it? Why does one person focus on facts, while another focuses on broad impressions?"
The Importance of Personality Style
Personality style affects our interactions with others (Hunsaker & Alessandra, 2008), and it is important in several aspects of organizational and personal life. People with different styles have different priorities and function at different paces. These differences can create problems if they remain under the surface. If Joe is slow and thorough and Jane is fast and decisive, their working relationship will be stressful unless they are aware of each other’s preferences. Knowledge of personality styles prevents misunderstandings and frustration.
Understanding personality style allows us to interpret the actions of others in a nonjudgmental way (Snavely, 1981). If we are aware of another person’s typical behaviors, we can take these behaviors into account when interpreting the other person’s actions. For example, if Fred is generally a friendly and outgoing person, the fact that he gives you an enthusiastic hello should not necessarily be interpreted as a sign of deep friendship. If, on the other hand, Fred is a private person, his enthusiastic hello might be a sign of deep friendship. The knowledge of personality style allows you to understand the behaviors of others; it enables you to accurately attach meaning to the reactions of those around you. Most importantly, you will be able to react appropriately within your own behavior set to the reactions of others and better manage the communication exchange.
Using your knowledge of personality style to understand others better begins by understanding yourself. People who understand their own style will fare better than those who proceed as if all people are the same. For example, if you are aware that you prefer logical, straightforward assignments, you should seek work in such an environment. If you thrive on working with people, you should choose a position in which you interact frequently with others.
Two Dimensions of Personality Style
The concept and basic dimensions of style date back to Carl Jung’s 1914 work (Jung, 1971). Jung was the first person to describe the traits of introversion and extraversion. Since then, many researchers have examined personality style and further developed Jung's ideas (e.g., Marston, 1979; Merrill & Reid, 1999; Schutz, 1966). One clear finding of this research is that the number of styles is not unlimited. Each individual is unique, but there are definite categorical commonalities. In fact, research indicates two basic dimensions of personality style, which we have chosen to refer to as assertiveness and expressiveness.
- Assertiveness is the effort that a person makes to influence or control the thoughts or actions of others. People who are assertive tell others how things should be and are task oriented, active, and confident. People who are less assertive ask others how things should be and are process oriented, deliberate, and attentive.
- Expressiveness is the effort that a person makes to control their emotions when relating to others. People who are expressive display their emotions and are versatile, sociable, and demonstrative. People who are less expressive control their emotions and are focused, independent, and private.
Understanding Communication Style with the HRDQ Style Model
Personality style is determined by a person’s degree of assertiveness and expressiveness. In fact, the various combinations of the degrees of assertiveness and expressiveness result in four possible personality styles. Different names have been given to these styles by various researchers (see, e.g., Alessandra & Hunsaker, 1993; Wheeless & Lashbrook, 1987), but we have chosen to define them as Direct, Spirited, Considerate, and Systematic. These four definitions are the basis of the HRDQ Style Model.
Communication is one manifestation of personality style. The essence of communication is sending and receiving a message. While this sounds simple, frequently, the message that is intended is not the message that is received. One reason this misunderstanding occurs is that the sender and receiver have two different personality styles, meaning they share and interpret messages in two different ways. For example, the sender may intend to communicate a supportive message by saying, "I'd like to help you," but the receiver may misinterpret the message as one of being told they are incapable. To complicate matters, communication is more than just the spoken word. There are four forms of communication: verbal, paraverbal (tone of voice and intensity), body language, and personal space.
Verbal Words themselves may be open to misunderstanding. Differences in age, experience, and background can result in different interpretations of the same statement.
Paraverbal It's not just the words but how people say them that affect meaning. This is called paraverbal communication and includes how quickly a person speaks and pauses, as well as voice tone and intensity. For example, trailing off or lowering your voice can be a sign/signal that it is the other party’s turn to speak in a conversation.
Body language The way people stand, shake hands, and maintain eye contact are all forms of body language that communicate meaning to others. Body language can communicate attentiveness, emotions, and reactions. Facial expressions are another form of body language. The cliché "it's written all over your face" describes it perfectly: facial expressions can reveal the listener's response to what the speaker is saying even before the listener responds in words.
Body language is heavily influenced by communication style. Preferences for eye contact, gesturing, and touch are usually quite pronounced, and it is easier to read other people’s body language messages if you know their dominant style.
Personal space The final form of communication is the use of personal space, which includes not only the space between you and others but also your personal appearance, your choice of decorations, and how you arrange your workspace. Interpersonal distance, or how close people are physically to one another, has been studied extensively, and researchers have outlined four zones of interpersonal distance: intimate, personal, social, and public. How close you prefer to be to others in all of these zones is a function of your communication style. Whether your work or home space is cluttered or neat, organized or disorganized, is also a function of your communication style.
What's My Communication Style can be delivered as an onsite learning experience or as a blended experience using the online assessment. The following are the recommended components for each experience.
Onsite Instructor-Led Training Experience
- Online or Print Assessment
- Print Workbook
- Print Facilitator Guide
- Experiential Game (StylePlay, Playing with Style, Personality Style Toolkit)
- HRDQue Card
- HRDQ Style Model Poster
- Blinky Pins
Blended Instructor-Led Training Experience
- Online Assessment
- Online Course
- Print Facilitator Guide
- Print Workbook
- HRDQue Card
- HRDQ Style Model Poster
- Blinky Pins
Online Learning Experience
- Online Assessment
- Online Course
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