My communication style is the best.
Working in Public Relations has taught me that the secret to longevity lay in where the message comes from, meaning that the person that delivers the message is more important than ever. Is this person reliable, are they here for the wrong reason, do they have experience? Who would the person be if you stripped away their eloquent words, title, and their sense of fashion? All the orators and great public speakers of the past, such as Cicero, Quintilian, Isocrates, and even the eloquent peasant in ancient Egyptian literature identify the importance of the speaker as needing to be a reliable source.
And for that reason, I argue that the supportive communication style is the best style of communication to incorporate within the line of Public Relations work; especially if you plan to be respected and have longevity. In this business, your words can and will be used against you if you rub someone the wrong way, or if you make empty promises. The way we treat people is another assurance of our style. Applying the supportive communication style will not only keep us abreast the minds of our audience in a positive manner, but also gives us an upper hand on navigating different audiences.
Here are three reasons why it is the best communication style:
- You are revered as calm, steady, sincere and gentle. Being calm is detrimental to portraying a reliable character when dealing with potentially sensitive or privacy oriented materials. If your audience sees that you are uneasy, this may give the impression that you are not sure of yourself, what you are talking about, or the information you are given. This is about presence and delivery.
- The 2nd benefit to this communication style is that it empowers you with active listening skills, which portrays you as being cooperative, dependable, and loyal. Being able to hear what your peers are saying is important, why else would you be talking with them? Take the time to repeat what it is they have said in return, make sure you have understood their message. If you notice their tone changed with a story about something that enriches their story, such as their pets at home, ask them about that and engage in their interests.
- You apply a high priority on close relationships and do not like conflict, but are quick to mediate when necessary. This reminds me of my company commander, Captain Smith. As a ‘boot’ or new Marine to my unit, Captain smith made it a point to have all us new Marines report to his office where he asked us questions about who we were, where we were from, and if we had girlfriends or kids. Captain Smith would then remember everyone’s name, and where they were from. At a future promotion ceremony, we would not be surprised to hear him ask about a girlfriend or family member.
The Caveat to the best communication style:
Even though I claim to have the best communication style for my job, I have to point out the caveat to my style. However, if you become aware of these 3 imperfections below, you may be able to side-step them, or address them head on, so that you can show mastery.
What to look out for: People may view this style or this type of person as disliking changes, so they may appear to be indecisive. My wife says it to me all the time, I’m sure other husbands in the room can understand. But it’s not because we’re haters, it’s because we dislike changes.
Also, this person may not know how to accept praise in a public forum, they tend to be modest and would prefer a more personal, one-on-one compliment. We need to learn to accept compliments, we have worked hard so why not acknowledge this? Offering a thanks and a quick explanation does not mean you lack modesty, in fact, sharing your thoughts/processes may help even more people understand your message.
The last challenge to this style is that this slow and steady attitude may become susceptible to loud or tense environments. The challenge here is to find a way to personalize the experience and overcome the fear/tension in the room.
The Most Important Communication Tool
In summary, our communications are at the root of all outcomes. What we say, how we say it, and even where we say it can either have a negative impact, or a positive impact, depending on our intent. Words can drive Nations to war, and words can drive lovers to arms. I would like to highlight a quote written by the famous poet, Maya Angelou:
“people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”Maya Angelou, Writer and Poet
I have used this expression as a guide for the way I carry myself when representing an organization or another person.
The main image used in the heading for this article is a photo by Warren Wong at Unsplash.