What's Your Communication Style?
[00:00:00] Today is all about communication styles. If you have ever had miscommunication issues with someone, whether it's your partner, your business partner, friends, clients, team members, this episode is definitely for you. Whether you have felt misunderstood before, but you feel like you're communicating clearly.
Or whether you have had an experience where people accuse you of being aggressive with your communication, but you feel like you're just being direct and clear. This episode is definitely for you. So stick around. We're gonna talk about what different communication styles are, the three components of your communication style, and then how do you navigate communication with people who maybe have a different style than you.
When I learned this, it opened up so many avenues for me in terms of communication. I could understand where certain communication conflicts. Began in my life with different people. And once you learn it and you become consciously aware of it, you can become a more [00:01:00] effective communicator by learning to be flexible within your style.
And that's really the key. We want to become flexible communicators. So stay tuned. That's what today is all about. You are listening to Success in Mind with Teri Holland, the show for high performing entrepreneurs, leaders, and change makers ready to take your. And your business to the next level. If you're ready for whole life success, keep listening.
What is your communications style? This is a question I think not a lot of people have considered before thought of, and I'm gonna share this with you today, in the hopes that this helps to improve your communication with those people around. And also to understand yourself better and how you interpret information that is given to you.
Your communication style has three components to it. There's your listening style, how you listen to information. There's [00:02:00] your speaking style, how you deliver information, and then your internal processing style, which is how you process that information. So we hear information given to us in a certain way.
We process it a certain way and we deliver it in a certain way and. Before we dive into what these three things are and how to discover them, which I'll take you through by the end of this episode, you will know what kind of listener, speaker, and processor you are. So before we get into that though, I wanna clarify a couple things.
One, this has nothing to do with gender. A lot of times when I talk about these communication styles, people want to attach rules to them and they wanna make it about a male female thing. This has nothing to do with gender. So we're not gonna do that. We're not gonna say, all men are like this, or all women are like that.
Even if you notice trends within the males in your life, or the females in your life, or the non-binary people in your life, even if you notice certain [00:03:00] trends, we're not gonna go there. This actually has nothing to do with gender. sometimes people make a correlation between communication styles and neuro divergence.
We're not gonna go there either. We don't wanna put people in boxes. People are already in enough boxes. We're not gonna add to those boxes. So if you're listening to this and you're neuro divergent and you think, oh, that's me because I'm neuro divergent, maybe just, maybe you have this particular listening style and you're also neuro divergent, or you have this speaking style and you're also neurotypical.
So we're not going to correlate the two. We're gonna just put an and in the. Okay, so before everybody starts coming at me afterwards and saying of course I'm this way. I'm neurotypical, or I'm neuro divergent, or because I'm male or because I'm female, we're not playing that game. People have enough boxes around them already.
We're not putting you in another box. This, the aim of this is simply to explain how [00:04:00] you communicate most typically what is your default communication style, because everyone is capable of. All of these things. So what is your default communication style? And then once you understand that, is there room to become more flexible?
Because the more flexibility you have in communicating, the greater communicator you will become. So let's dive in. I'm super excited to share this with you today because this really changed things for me. This changed how I communicate, how I receive communication, how I process communication. And it went a long way to improving my relationships, including with my husband, because once I learned this and realized what kind of communicator I am, what kind of communicator he is, then we could talk about it and I could understand things differently.
So let's get into it. Are you ready to learn what your communication style is? Let's start with your speaking style. So the question is, if someone you knew quite well were to say to [00:05:00] you, I'm thirsty, what would your automatic response be? Would you find it interesting or just think of it as a fact, you know they're thirsty.
Okay. And not think of it much further than that. Or would you feel really compelled to do something about it? To go get them a glass of water, put on some tea. Which one is. So this is about what you would do. This is someone you know really well. So we're taking out the social norms, the social expectations.
This is someone you know really well, you're comfortable with them. Would you just think, oh, okay, they're thirsty, or would you feel really compelled to do something about it? Now, if you chose the first answer and you just thought, okay, they're thirsty. Then you are most likely a literal listener. [00:06:00] A literal listener is someone who takes everything at face value.
You're not busying yourself by reading too much into it. You're not making stories up in your mind about what it can mean. You're not preoccupied with thinking. Do they want a glass of water? Should I get them a glass of water? Do they need water? Maybe they want tea. What else do I have to offer them?
Are they implying that I should have offered them a beverage right away and I didn't? Are they saying I'm a bad hostess? You're not thinking about any of that. It's simply they are thirsty. It's just information to you, and nothing more than that. The plus side of being a literal listener is that you're less likely to make mistakes because you are just receiving the words that they say.
You're not interpreting them in any sort of way, and that means you can't misinterpret them either. So that is the literal listener. The downside of being the literal listener is that you might miss, well, not might, you will miss subtext. So if somebody is being indirect in their communication, if they're [00:07:00] hinting, implying, giving you clues and expecting you to understand them, you will completely miss that.
If there's a hidden meaning in what they're saying, you're not going to catch it. And so sometimes people who are of a certain type of communication style in terms of their speaking style, so someone who is an inferential speaker. They will hint, imply, and they'll give you clues, and they might think that you as a literal listener are not paying attention to them.
You're not getting it. You're not really hearing what they're saying, or what we should say is you're not hearing what they're not saying because you are quite literally hearing what they are saying. You are only responding to the words coming out of their mouth. When I was in personal training, I had a client who was a great literal listener.
And she was a literal listener. Intentionally. She was very conscious of how she listened to people and received information. I never read anything into what anybody says. I just listen to what they say to the words [00:08:00] that they use, and I accept it as that. So if I ask someone how they're doing and they say I'm fine, I just accept that they are fine.
And if they're not fine, it's up to them to tell me that they're not okay. And she said, this has caused me. A great deal of peace of mind because I don't worry about it. I don't read into it. I just accept everything at face value. That is a pure, literal listener. Now, if you answered the opposite, if you answered that, you would feel really compelled to do something about it, then you are most likely an inferential listener.
An inferential listener will read into what is said they read between the. The benefit of being an inferential listener is that you won't miss things. You will hear what the person is saying, but you'll also hear what's not being said. This is really great if you're a coach. If you're a counselor, then you pick up on what your clients aren't [00:09:00] necessarily giving you upfront.
So this can be a really great skill. The downside of being an inferential listener is that you can get it wrong. You can misinterpret what someone says. I posted about this on TikTok and a couple of the comments from people who are inferential listeners said, it is exhausting being an inferential listener, and it is exhausting being an inferential listener because if you are constantly thinking about what did that mean?
What are they saying? Does that mean they want me to get them water? Should I get them water? Did I not get them water quickly enough? What is it they want? imagine every communication you have with people, you are constantly looking for the hidden meaning, the clues, what's going on behind the words.
That is exhausting and you can get it wrong. So you can misinterpret what someone says and that can lead you down a whole path that you don't wanna be on of miscommunication. So we have the literal listener and the influential listener. Now the question always comes up, can you be both? Certainly [00:10:00] that's the ideal is that's the flexibility is if you can navigate both.
Now, there's probably one that you default to, and then the other one is one that you've learned. So a common scenario is maybe a person is a literal listener by default, but they have learned to become an inferential listener because their job required it or because they're with a partner who isn't a very direct communicator, and so they needed to learn how to hear their partner.
And how to listen to what they're not saying or listen to the meaning behind it. Or it could be that in their family it was expected that you do certain things. And so they developed the skills of inferential listening. It could also be brought by trauma. Now again, we're not putting people in boxes, and I've seen people try to say that inferential listening is a trauma response.
And to that, I would say it can be for some people. Some people learn inferential listening because of their past traumas. Absolutely. But it inherently is not a trauma [00:11:00] response. It's just a listening style, a way that people listen. Now, neither one of these is right or wrong or good or bad. They just are.
And that's the same with all of these. So when we talk about the speaking style, when we talk about the processing style, There is no right or wrong in any of these. They just are. And the more we can understand how we communicate and how the people around us communicate, the better communicators we can become, and we become consciously aware of this.
Until now, you might not have known what your listening style was unless you trained in nlp, and then you might have known already or you worked with an NLP coach. But if you didn't already know that, then how could you be aware of how you're listening or how other people around you listen? But once you're aware of it and you're conscious of it, now you can become flexible and you can adapt.
So can a person do both? [00:12:00] Absolutely. I'm one of those people. My default is a literal listener, like extreme literal Listener. And I learned to become a really good inferential listener because of the work I do, because of my training in N L P and because of the work I do with clients, I needed to learn how to read between the lines, how to hear what's not being said.
Now, my husband is more of an inferential listener by nature He would expect me to pick up on things that he wasn't saying because that's how he hears the information. But that's not how I heard it. And here's a classic example. Before I learned how to be a good inferential listener, here's a really good example of communication in our home.
So our previous dog, Rufus, we used to cook his food and one night Greg was making dinner and he was also starting to make Rufuss food. And he asked me if I could [00:13:00] take the meat out of the fridge for rufuss, like the, it was ground beef, I think, that we were making him that night. And he said, can you take the meat out of the fridge?
And I took it out of the fridge and I put it on the counter, and I walked away and he said, can you open the package? And I said, sure. And I came back and I opened up the package and I walked away and he started laughing and he said, can you put that in the pan and cook it? And I said, oh yeah, sure. And so I put it in the pan and I cooked it.
And then not long later, he looked at me and he said what? What about his vegetables? And I said, what about the vegetables? And he said are you gonna cook those too? And I said, you didn't say anything about the vegetables? And he said, I thought that was implied. I asked, Take the meat out. I thought you'd cook his food while I cook us dinner.
So that's a classic example of an inferential speaker and a literal listener. So I heard him [00:14:00] say, can you take the meat outta the fridge? And to me, I did that and then he gave me the next set of instructions and. And that was it. Or another time he had asked me if I could put his laundry in for him.
He was super busy day, rushing around, needed some clothes washed, and he said, can you put my laundry in for me today? Do you have time? And I said, yeah, sure, no problem. And so I gathered his laundry and I put the laundry in. I put it in the washing machine, I turned it on, put the soap and turned it on. I got that far and then that's all I did.
And then later when he came home and he went downstairs to his clothes, he said oh, you didn't put it in the dryer. And I. No, you asked me to put your laundry in, so I expected that you would flip the laundry later. And he said no I needed my clothes like washed and dried so I could wear them tonight.
And I said, oh, you should have said that. He didn't say I was a very literal listener and that is my default. When I'm working with clients, I'm a great inferential listener. When I'm relaxed in my home environment, [00:15:00] I will slip back to being a literal listener and can move back and forth between the two.
But I know this, so I also know that if I need more information, I need to ask more questions to get the information. So now that same scenario in the kitchen, if he said, can you take the meat outta the fridge? I would probably. If this were today, I would say, okay, do you need anything else or do you want me to cook it?
And I would ask for more information because I have learned that. Otherwise I'm just I'm missing out on what's actually being communicated. Okay. So let's talk about the speaking style. This is the part of the communication style that is speaking. So the question here would be if you had to give somebody some feedback, And this could be on the job in your business.
This could be if you're teaching something, this is maybe your partner. If you have to give someone feedback, do you hint, imply and give them clues, [00:16:00] or are you direct and to the point in your feedback? Now, if you answered that, you would be direct and to the point, then you are a literal speaker.
Or sometimes we say a direct speaker. So you get to the point, you give clear instructions. The positive of this is that it's really hard to misinterpret if you're giving instructions to someone, it's really hard to misinterpret that information because you're clear, you're to the point, you're direct.
The downside is that if you are a literal speaker and you are speaking to a very inferential listener, especially one who is unaware that they're inferential in their listening style. They might think that you are being too direct, or they may even call you aggressive. So they might say to you, oh, you're being really aggressive with me, or Are you angry at me?
That's a really common one. They'll say, are you angry? Have I done something wrong? Because again, the inferential listener, they're making stories and connections in their head that might not be [00:17:00] accurate. So when they hear you delivering really clear, Precise communication. They may interpret it as, you're mad at me.
You're angry. I did something wrong. What have I done? What's the problem here? And they may say that you're being aggressive with them when you're just communicating directly. Now, if you answered the opposite, if you said, in order to give someone feedback, you would hint, imply, and give them clues.
If that was your answer, then you are an inferential speaker. You have a hard time getting to the point and being direct with it. You tend to soften your language and you're going to beat around the bush, so to speak. You're not going to be direct and to the point. The plus side of this is that communication can often be easier to receive on the receiving end because it's a softer approach.
The downside is that it's easy to misconstrue what you're saying, so people may misinterpret [00:18:00] it. So one scenario would be we have a inferential speaker, so you're hinting and plying and giving clues. And a literal listener, the literal listener, will miss what's being said because they'll just take it at face value.
And if it's an inferential speaker speaking to an inferential listener, and if both of them are unconscious to the fact that they're inferential speakers and listeners, then they could interpret it in a completely different way than what's intended. And both are having different conversations. you can start to see how this leads to massive miscommunication.
Until we become aware of it. When you're aware of it, it makes a world of difference because then you can step back from it and look at the situation more objectively as, okay, what is actually being communicated here? Do I have all the information that I need? Maybe I need to ask some questions to get further clarification.
In a scenario, a workplace scenario, let's say we have a literal [00:19:00] speaking boss and an employee who's an inferential, listen, The boss will give instructions and say, okay, we need to clean up the office today. And the inferential listener may hear something like the boss is angry today. They don't like the office space.
I did something wrong. Am I too messy? Am I going to lose my job now? Maybe I'm gonna get fired. That would be an example of what can happen with a literal speaker and an inferential listener, but all the bosses communicating is, the office is messy. We need to clean up today. That's it. There's no, nothing more intended.
If the literal speaking boss was angry, they would say that they are unhappy about something and they'd be really clear about it. Or let's say we have an inferential boss and a literal listening employee, the inferential speaking boss might say sales are down this month and the literal listening employee might think, [00:20:00] okay, sales are down, and they'll just go ahead doing whatever it is that they were doing.
And the inferential speaking boss is sitting there thinking, why aren't they getting on their sales calls? I just said, sales are down. They should be taking action and doing something to drive some sales today. Why aren't they making sales calls? And so the boss is gonna think they're not doing what I told them to do.
They're not listening to me. And yet the employee is thinking, okay, sales are down. All right. And they're just going about their life So you can see how in, in any scenario, this can create massive miscommunication. Imagine in a school setting, an inferential speaking teacher, trying to give instructions to a student.
Who is a literal listener or vice versa. Or inferential. And inferential, which by the way, that's what passive aggressive communication is when someone is very inferential. So they're hinting, implying, giving clues. They're never saying what it is that they mean. So this can create a lot of [00:21:00] problems within all kinds of relationships.
And then we have the processing style. So processing style is how do you process information that's given to you? And the question for this one is, when you are faced with a challenge or you're having a problem, is it absolutely necessary for you to sit on it and think about it by yourself? Or is it absolutely necessary for you to talk about it with another person?
So think about times in your life where you've had a problem. Did you go to your friends or your spouse, partner, coworker right away and have to talk about it in order to solve the problem? Or did you need to keep it to yourself and process it internally? So if you kept it to yourself and you needed to go through it on your own [00:22:00] in order to solve that problem, You are an internal processor and if you really needed to talk about it with someone else, for you to understand the problem and get it out, then you are an external processor.
So the internal processor processes internally. The external processor processes externally by getting the words out. I am an external processor. And I know this because since I was a little girl, for me to understand any problem that I'm having or to work through anything, I need to talk about it. And the thing with an external processor is you don't need the other person to solve it, to answer it, to give you suggestions, advice, anything.
You just need them. To hear the words come out, you need to hear the words come out for yourself. They need to just be there to witness it and to hold space for you. But the words need to leave your mouth. And the act of doing that allows you to process your feelings about it and to understand the situation and come to your own point of resolution.[00:23:00]
The internal processor does it all internally, and in fact, if you're talking to a really good internal processor and you ask them about how they feel about something, At the moment of conflict. So let's say they're in the moment of conflict. There's something happening and you're like, how are you feeling?
I need you to talk about your feelings. They're going to tell you, I don't know, just leave me alone right now. Because they don't even have the language yet. The words aren't coming to them consciously. They need to go through their own internal process. They can't talk about it right now. And this is where it gets really interesting with relationships.
So if you're listening to this and you're thinking about your own relationship and whether your spouse. A literal listener or inferential, or a literal speaker or inferential speaker, or an internal processor, or an external processor, and I had this on TikTok when I was talking about the listening styles on TikTok.
People were commenting and saying, [00:24:00] oh my gosh, you just explained my marriage to me, or you just explained my relationship to me. Someone even said, I think you just saved my relationship because now I understand how my partner is listening. There's the old saying that opposites attract, and it's partially true.
What I say is opposite communication styles attract. We tend to partner with our opposites. So if you are a literal listener, your partner is most likely an inferential listener. If you're a literal speaker, they're probably an inferential speaker. If you're an internal processor, they're probably an external processor.
So we tend to partner with our opposites. And by the way, you can be a literal listener, but an inferential speaker. So don't think that you have to be literal inferential. No. You [00:25:00] can be a mix. You can be any combination of these three. And again, it has nothing to do with gender. So if you're thinking, oh, all men are literal listeners, that is not true.
I am a female and I am a literal listener by default, who has learned to be a good inferential listener. So we tend to partner with our opposite communication styles because we need each. We balance each other. We can also frustrate each other quite a bit. So when you think about in your relationships where you've had issues communicating, it's probably around these three points.
I am an external processor. I need to get everything out. My husband is an internal processor. He holds it in an external processor, will partner with an internal processor. Because the external processor needs someone to listen. Someone who's an internal processor often they're really good at holding space and listening, [00:26:00] so the external processor needs the internal processor.
And the internal processor needs the external processor to pull it out of them so they don't bottle up everything inside so that once they've had time to process their feelings internally, the external processor can pull it outta them and get them to start talking about it so that they're not holding onto everything.
So we tend to partner with our opposite in communication styles, and that can lead to a lot of conflict in a relationship when this is unconscious. But when you start to become conscious of how we communicate, And we learn these things that in a healthy relationship over time, you'll balance each other out.
So one of the reasons I've become such a good inferential listener is because my partner is a great inferential listener. So I have learned that from him, and he has become more. A literal communicator, probably because he's picked that up from me [00:27:00] and he's become more comfortable talking about things and getting stuff out.
Probably because he's been with an external processor for the past 18 years, and I've become better at sitting with my feelings and instead of having to talk about it right away, but actually letting myself internally go through a process. Because I've been with an internal processor. So in a healthy relationship where we become conscious to how we communicate, we start to level each other out and balance things.
So this is why again, on my TikTok posts, I had some people saying can you be both? And the people who I knew I, I know a bit about their lives, who are commenting. I like, it makes, it's no surprise to me because I know that these are people who have been in a relationship for a very long time, so they've probably balanced out with their partner.
So we tend to do that. We tend to seek out our opposite, and then as we come together in partnership over time in a healthy relationship, we tend to level each other [00:28:00] out and we improve our flexibility and communication. In an unhealthy relationship, however, where people are not very conscious or very self-aware to what they're doing, these could be the points that actually pull a relationship apart.
So when I have coached couples on their relationships this is one of the first points I address is I wanna find out who's literal, who's inferential in speaking, who's literal and inferential in listening, who's the internal processor, who's an external processor, and teaching them about each other's communication, because that's really key.
So if you know that your partner. And I'm talking right now about romantic partnerships, but also think of this as your business partnerships and your teams and your clients. So if you're, if you know that the person that you're working with or that you're in a relationship with of any kind, if you know that they're an inferential listener, then you want to be very direct with them in your communication.
[00:29:00] And you might wanna give them some reassurance and say for example, if I go back to that boss scenario, the boss saying, We need to make more sales. You wouldn't wanna hint and imply and give them clues. You would wanna just say, okay, sales are down this month. We need to make some more sales.
What are some things we can do to drive more sales? Let's everybody put down what you're doing and let's get on the phones and start driving some business today. We really need it. So you'd wanna be really clear with them and you might need to get, if they're very inferential in their listening, you might also want to give them some reassurance that you know everything's okay or it will be okay that they're doing a great job and you appreciate them.
You might need to do that, just soften it a little bit. But you would know that, okay this is an inferential listener. I need to be really direct and clear, or we're gonna have a miscommunication . And I wanna make sure that they don't think that I'm angry at the same time.[00:30:00] And with your relationships, with your partners, with your kids, just know what is their style and make sure that you are doing what you can to communicate clearly and effectively.
Listen, when it comes to communication, if every single person took a hundred percent responsibility for their side of the communication, We would have no issues. So as the communicator, when you are the ones speaking or communicating, you need to take a hundred percent responsibility for how you communicate to that person.
And if you sense that they're not getting it, that your message isn't getting through, it's a hundred percent on you to change how you communicate in that moment for that person. And it's a hundred percent the responsibility of the person receiving the communication. To receive it in a way that's healthy and acceptable for them.
So they're responsible for how they interpret that communication. So if you communicate something and it upsets that person, [00:31:00] you are responsible for how you communicated it, and they are responsible for how they received the communication and for their own feelings about the communication. And if everybody took a hundred percent responsibility for how we communicate.
We would have such open, clear, and healthy communication across the board. What a world that would be. So I hope that this gave you some insight today into how you communicate, how the people around you are communicating, and the goal is to become more flexible. So ask more questions. If you need clarification, learn nlp.
NLP is the best way to become a great inferential communicator. And not an inferential communicator who makes mistakes, if learning NLP will open your eyes, becoming a really good inferential communicator so that you can interpret things correctly for the most part. Not that we don't make mistakes, but you're less [00:32:00] likely to make mistakes once you learn NLP and practice sufficiently.
So I hope this gave you some insight today into your style, the people around you, and I hope you found it useful if you did find it useful. Leave me a five star review and also let me know, join me on Instagram, come hang out with me there and send me a message. Let me know what is your communication style, what did you discover from this, and how are you going to apply it into your day-to-day life with the people around you?
And if you have any questions as well on this, cuz I love talking about this stuff. I think it's so fascinating and it's really, in my opinion it's really life changing in terms of your relationships. So if you liked it or if you have any questions, Come follow me on Instagram at the Teri Holland and let me know what you think and let me know what your questions are.
Also, the breakthrough to success is back and it's starting on April 25th. I'll [00:33:00] put the link in the show notes if you wanna become a really great communicator. That's a good place to hang out for eight weeks. So click on that for more information or reach out to me again and I will happily answer any questions you have regarding it.
So thanks for hanging out with me today. Hope you have a fantastic day, and I'll be back again soon. Bye for now.