Discovering Your Unique Communication Style – Understanding Yourself and Others

As Assistants, we work in such busy, fast-paced environments; it can be easy to forget that how we communicate is vital to how we are seen and interact with those around us. Communication really is the thing that connects our thoughts, emotions and intentions with the world around us. For so many Assistants, communication is the skill that makes all the difference in how we stand out in our role and how we are seen for the value we bring to our organisations.

Everyone has a unique communication style. But how often do we pause to reflect on how we communicate? How do we convey our ideas, and how do others receive them? How do you start discovering your unique communication style?

The essence of personal communication

Every individual communicates in a unique way that is distinct to them. Over time, we add or remove pieces, build different strengths, and constantly evolve and reshape our communication style. These changes are influenced by our experiences, beliefs, values, and even our genetic makeup. The key to effective communication is understanding this personal style and harnessing its power.

The power of self-awareness in the Assistant role

We’ve often said that self-awareness is a critical skill for Assistants to master. We have to mirror our Executive’s communication preferences, but before we can do that, we have to know our communication style and the gap we have to fill to make it work.

So, before truly understanding others, we must first understand ourselves. I hate to use the J word, but it is a journey of self-discovery that you have to take. As Assistants, you have to take the time for introspection but also make use of external tools that can offer insights. Personality and communication tests, such as love language assessments, strengths finder tests, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, can be invaluable in helping you understand how you communicate and your preferences. You should also ask if your Executive has completed these tests and if you can see the results.

For example, while I always felt a little uncomfortable around new people, it was a personality test I took a few years ago that said I could make strangers feel comfortable around me. I work hard to make people feel like we are old friends even though I feel pretty shy myself. I know how they feel, so I try to put them at ease. Recognising this strength has really helped with my business, networking, and making new friends.

It is worth saying that self-awareness isn’t just about recognising your strengths. It’s equally crucial to identify areas where you can improve. By acknowledging these weaknesses, you can take proactive steps to address them, ensuring they don’t become barriers to communicating.

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CV Template for Assistants

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Networking Questions for Assistants

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Effective interpersonal communication

So self-awareness is a massive step forward in understanding your unique communication style. The next step is understanding how to communicate effectively.

Effective communication is a two-way street.

It requires you to understand the person on the other side of the conversation. When we are rushing around, communicating quickly and trying to get our point across so we can move on to the next thing, taking the time to understand the other person is easier said than done. However, recognising the personality traits and communication preferences of others can make the difference between a productive conversation and a frustrating one.

For instance, someone with a dominant personality might prefer concise, direct communication. We all know that person! Bombarding them with excessive details might lead to disengagement from the conversation. On the other hand, a person with a more analytical mindset might appreciate a thorough breakdown of information. By tailoring your communication style to match your audience’s preferences, you can ensure your message is not just heard but truly understood. This makes for very effective communication.

Adapting and evolving

Communication isn’t a static thing. For those of us who love communication in all its forms, we know it is a dynamic skill that we can adapt and evolve. And, as we grow as Assistants, develop more skills and have more confidence in ourselves, our communication style changes, too.

By continuously seeking feedback, staying open to change, and adapting to the needs of your Executive and those around you, you can ensure that your communication remains effective and impactful. It really is about taking the time to be aware of how you communicate and the impact you can have.

In your Assistant career, please hear me when I say that effective communication can be a game-changer. It can open doors, forge strong relationships, and pave the way for personal and professional success.

By investing time in understanding how unique communication styles are and adapting to the needs of others, you can harness the true power of communication. If you want to learn more about how communication opens doors in the Assistant role, check out our Confident Communicator Course.