Product Information:

What's My Communication Style? 4TH Ed. Self Assessment

Regular Price: 
27.25 CAD
Code: 0151
Eileen Russo

The HRDQ Style Suite of assessments, classes and learning tools provide personal and team development learning experiences that bring about meaningful improvements in your organization. Based upon the work of William M. Marston, and often referred to as DISC, the HRDQ Style Model provides a simple and powerful model that learners can apply to how they communicate, lead others, manage time, learn, coach and sell. With the Style Suite you can effect a profound impact on the lives of individuals and teams in your organization.

Communication skills are critical if your organization is going to thrive, particularly during challenging times. You can dramatically improve communication skills by building a better understanding of personal styles and their effects on others. What's My Communication Style is a proven process that identifies an individual's dominant communication style and the communication behaviors that distinguish it, then helps individuals learn to flex their style with colleagues.

The What's My Communication Style Fourth Edition program includes an online/print assessment, online course, and classroom course and workbook.

Introducing What’s My Communication Style

What's My Communication Style 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:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Team building
  • Supervisory skills
  • Conflict resolution

Start training your learners with personality style and a focus on communication – the most critical people skill.

Communication Style Characteristics

All these forms of communication are demonstrated in different ways, depending on your personality style. In other words, your personality style determines the characteristics you exhibit when you communicate. The chart below shows how each communication style influences the different forms of communication. Knowing your own style and its characteristics and recognizing others’ styles and their characteristics will go a long way toward minimizing misunderstandings and increasing the effectiveness of your communication.


    • DIRECT: Decisive / Direct speech / Doesn’t stop to say hello
    • SPIRITED: Generalizes / Persuasive / Expresses opinions readily
    • CONSIDERATE: Listens / Close, personal language / Supportive language
    • SYSTEMATIC: Precise language / Avoids emotions / Focuses on specific details


    • DIRECT: Speaks quickly / Loud tones / Formal speech
    • SPIRITED: Loud tones / Animated / Lots of voice inflection
    • CONSIDERATE: Speaks slowly / Soft tones / Patient speech
    • SYSTEMATIC: Even delivery / Brief speech / Little vocal variety


    • DIRECT: Direct eye contact / Bold visual appearance / Firm handshake
    • SPIRITED: Quick actions / Lots of body movement / Enthusiastic handshake
    • CONSIDERATE: Slow movement / Likes hugging / Gentle handshake
    • SYSTEMATIC: Poker face / Avoids touching / Controlled movement


    • DIRECT: Keeps physical distance / Work space suggests power / Displays planning calendars in work space
    • SPIRITED: Cluttered work space / Personal slogans in office / Likes close physical space
    • CONSIDERATE: Displays family pictures in work space / Likes side-by-side seating / Carries sentimental items
    • SYSTEMATIC: A strong sense of personal space / Charts, graphs in office / Tidy desktop

It is important to note that these characteristics are based primarily on Western culture—the US in particular—and as such, may not be completely accurate across all cultures. An example of this is eye contact—in Western culture, prolonged eye contact is an appropriate use of body language to show that you are paying attention to the speaker and is considered a clear indicator of someone with the Direct communication style. However, in some other cultures, any kind of prolonged eye contact is considered disrespectful, so you are unlikely to notice anyone making use of it and it would not be a useful indicator of the Direct communication style.

It’s also important to recognize that there is a difference between characteristics and stereotypes. What we identify in this program are characteristics. There is some link between nationality and personality (Jarrett, 2017). However, when we go down this route, it is easy to stereotype and assume that because someone is a particular nationality, they will hold a preference for a certain style—without taking the time to observe that person’s unique set of behaviors. To avoid stereotyping, stick to using only the characteristics recognized in this program to identify style and observe those characteristics rather than assume someone has them because of their nationality.

Reading Communication Style

Studies have found that the most common reason for ineffective communication is a difference in communication style (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2018). For example, a Spirited person and a Systematic person may have tense interactions because of the different speeds at which they make decisions. Although each of us has a predominant personality style that drives our behavior and our communication, the ability to “flex,” or make adjustments in our own behavior to accommodate another style, helps increase the likelihood of efficient and effective communication. The first step to accomplish this is to learn how to identify another person’s style. Figure 3 shows how to quickly identify another person’s communication style.


    • DIRECT - Gets to the point
    • SPRITED - Tells good stories
    • CONSIDERATE - Doesn’t offer opinions
    • SYSTEMATIC - Precise


    • DIRECT - Poor listener 
    • SPRITED - Doesn't hear details
    • CONSIDERATE - Sympathetic listener
    • SYSTEMATIC - Seeks facts


    • DIRECT - Firm 
    • SPRITED - Enthusiastic
    • CONSIDERATE - Gentle
    • SYSTEMATIC - Brief


    • DIRECT - Maintains distance
    • SPRITED - Likes to be close
    • CONSIDERATE - Likes hugging
    • SYSTEMATIC - Avoids touching


    • DIRECT - Bold
    • SPRITED - Quick
    • CONSIDERATE - Slow
    • SYSTEMATIC - Controlled


    • DIRECT - Suggests power
    • SPRITED - Cluttered
    • CONSIDERATE - Displays photos
    • SYSTEMATIC - Tidy

Flexing Communication Style

It takes willingness and effort for people to expand beyond their own style to interact with others. It is not only appreciated but may also make the difference between success and failure in an interaction. In general, aim to communicate in a way that focuses on the other person’s style strengths and minimizes their trouble spots. Figure 4 shows how to help people improve their communication with any style.

DIRECT • Focus on their goals and objectives • Keep your relationship businesslike • Argue facts, not personal feelings • Be well organized in your presentations • Ask questions directly • Speak at a relatively fast pace

SPIRITED • Focus on opinions and inspiring ideas • Be supportive of their ideas • Don’t hurry the discussion • Engage in brainstorming • Be entertaining and upbeat • Allow them to share their ideas freely

SYSTEMATIC • Focus on facts, not opinions • Be thorough and organized • Provide data when possible • Be precise in your presentations • Avoid gimmicks • Allow time for analysis

CONSIDERATE • Focus on your relationship • Be supportive of their feelings • Make sure you understand their needs • Be informal • Maintain a relaxed pace • Give them time to build trust in you



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