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Five Communication Styles

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Posted 28 May 2015 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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You may find the following will help with your Written Communication skills training.

Five Communication Styles

Communication is the art of transferring your message into the minds of others. If you have an idea, or an opinion, or any "point" to make, you may want to communicate it to another person.

Let us assume, for the sake of this blog, that you have an opinion, or an idea, or a point that you want to express, to another person. How should you best formulate your message?

Let us assume also that your message contains two elements.

  1. The point you wish to make.
  2. The reasons why you believe it to be true.

Every communication or idea you have, needs to have these two elements. We need to learn two things from you, when you speak. We need to know:

  1. What you think, and
  2. Why you think it.

You can picture your message like this:

In this diagram your main point is the "conclusion".

During your lifetime you have arrived at many conclusions. You may have concluded, that chocolate tastes nice; that summer feels nice. That mathematics can be horrible. You have concluded that politicians don't always deliver on their promises; and you have concluded that, annoyingly, you are beginning to look older.

All of your ideas and opinions are here shown as your "conclusions".

For every conclusion you have, you also have reasons for each of them. Don't you?

You can tell us why summer is nice.
You can tell us why you don't trust politicians to make your life significantly better.

We would hope that for every opinion, or belief, or idea that you have, you have associated reasons to believe they are true.

So with this set up, you have five options. Only two of them are any good.

  1. Conclusion first, reasons second.
  2. Reasons first, conclusions second.
  3. Conclusion mixed into the middle of a set of reasons: a buried conclusion.
  4. Reasons stated without any conclusion being drawn.
  5. Conclusions stated with no reasons offered. (Arbitrary statement)

Let me show you an example of each type.

1. Conclusion first with reasons second. (I have bolded and underlined the conclusion statement in this example.

Wealth should be distributed more evenly.
The purpose of distributing wealth must be to produce more happiness. The same amount of wealth will yield more happiness if it is distributed widely than if it is distributed with great inequality. A dollar to a poor man means more than a dollar to a rich man, in that it meets more urgent needs. And therefore produces more happiness per dollar.

This method works well: provided that your first line is not so offensive to your listener, which they would refuse to listen to your reasons.

Sometimes, you may decide to save your conclusion until the end. Like this.

2. Professional footballers entertain millions of people around the world. Their skills brings people much joy and inspiration. Their skill forms the basis for a billion dollar industry that spans the globe. They train hard every day to perfect their skills. They have a relatively short career. Most footballers have finished their career by the age of 35. So professional footballers, DO DESERVE THEIR HUGE SALARIES.

This method works well too. If you want to save your punchline conclusion statement till the very end then your message makes sense.

The next method is no good. You bury your conclusion in the middle of the sentence. I won't bold the conclusion in the following piece; can you spot the hidden conclusion?

3. The human mind can only cope with a certain amount of information at a time. Too many road signs in the form of signals, lights, advertising posters and warnings, though well intentioned, can increase the amount of information presented to the driver to an excessive degree. We should reduce the amount of road signs on our roads. If we did that, the driver would have more time to be looking at what he-she should be concentrating on: the road ahead. Then we might be able to reduce the horrific number of accidents that occur every year.

Can you see the hidden conclusion? It is, "We should reduce the amount of road signs on our roads."

If you did not realise that was the conclusion, don't worry, it was not your fault. It was mine. I put it in the wrong place.

Please don't make the same mistake. Don't bury your conclusions amongst "reason statements".

4. Here is a piece of writing that HAS NO CONCLUSION. The following is simply a set of facts that don't go anywhere. Meaning: no conclusion is offered. Look at this and see how bad it is:

The computer is still evolving. New products and programmes are being released every year. In recent years the demand for computer literate personnel has increased. Students are graduating in computer science at a greater rate than ever before. Some companies find that these graduates require further training before they can do practical problem solving in the context of a real business.

Can you see that the above contains no conclusion? It is an example of purposeless writing.

And finally here is the worst type of communication.

5. A conclusion with no reason to support it.

"Immigration is bad for the economy".

That's it!

No reasons given. No explanation. A pure assertion without any reasons given. If you hear this type, you should disregard it as arbitrary. Any statement should be justifiable in reason. If there are no reasons offered, then you have no reason to believe it.

In conclusion.

You have five options.

  1. State your conclusions first, then your reasons.
  2. Or state your reasons first, then your conclusion.
  3. Bury your conclusion in amongst your reasons.
  4. Offer reasons but draw no conclusion.
  5. Offer conclusions but give no reasons.

Methods 1 and 2 are good.

Methods 3, 4, and 5 are no good.

Therefore: use only methods 1 and 2.

I hope that helps you. If it did, please send it to someone else.

Communication Skills Training

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Do you ever think to yourself, "I know what I mean, but I can't explain it"? You need to be able communicate facts, feelings, information and ideas, in a clear, professional and confident manner. If you want to learn more about our communication skills training, please click here.

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