Image with the text: Managing different communication styles

In a dispersed team, communication is key. However, managing different communication styles can be difficult. Some people are proactive and engaged, while others are shy and introverted. It is important to make sure that all team members feel heard and have the opportunity to communicate necessary information. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

What is a communication style?

A communication style is a way of expressing thoughts, feelings, and ideas. It can be verbal or non-verbal, and it is based on individual preferences. There are two primary communication styles relevant in the workplace: proactive and engaged, and shy and introverted.

Proactive, assertive communication involves initiating conversations with others, while an introverted communication style is more reserved. Proactive communicators tend to be more outspoken, while introverted communicators are often quieter and prefer one-on-one conversations. Both styles of communications come with unique challenges: proactive communicators can sometimes be too aggressive, while shy and introverted people may not use opportunities to express their thoughts.

To access the valuable knowledge and experience of each team member, it can be crucial to understand the needs of different types of communicators.

How can different types of communication styles be managed in a dispersed team? 

In order to ensure that all members of a dispersed team feel heard and have the opportunity to communicate necessary information, it is important to manage communication styles. 

One way to do this is by creating an environment of mutual respect. Team members should be encouraged to recognize and appreciate each other’s communication styles, while simultaneously being open to learning from one another. The team should also take time to understand the individual preferences and needs of each member and make sure everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings.

It is also important to create a framework for communication. Set up regular check-ins with the whole team and make sure they are well communicated in advance. This will help ensure that everyone has an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions and ask questions if needed. 

In addition, use different communication tools for different types of communication. For example, you could use video conferencing for more engaging conversations and email for quick updates or announcements. This will help ensure that everyone feels comfortable using the communication tool that best suits their needs.

Finally, it is important to create an open atmosphere where all team members feel comfortable speaking up and voicing their opinions. Encourage everyone to contribute and participate in the conversation. Make sure that everyone can express their ideas without feeling judged or unheard.

Adjusting communication to match another person's style

Sometimes, the best way to find common ground and avoid misunderstandings is to make slight adjustments in communication style to match the other person. It is also important to be aware of differences in communication styles and act accordingly. When engaging with someone who prefers a different communication style than yours, show respect and patience while listening to their ideas. Make sure to focus on understanding their points of view, instead of trying to make your own point.

Communicating with proactive and extroverted team members

Try to match their energy level (to keep it high). When communicating with proactive and extroverted team members, it is important to match their energy level in order to keep the conversation engaging. Ask open-ended questions that encourage them to give more detailed answers, and be prepared to think on your feet as the conversation progresses. 

Also, make sure to acknowledge their contributions and give them the opportunity to express their ideas. This will show that you are actively listening and appreciating their input. Finally, be flexible and open to different perspectives. The goal here is to encourage extroverted team members to keep doing great work.

Set boundaries. It is important to set boundaries and let the extroverted team members know that their communication style should not dominate. Make sure everyone has a chance to be heard, and discourage any dominating behavior.

Show appreciation. One of the best ways to ensure that proactive and extroverted team members feel comfortable expressing themselves is to show appreciation for their contributions. Acknowledge their ideas, even if you do not agree with them. This will help create an environment where everyone feels respected and valued, and allow creative juices to flow.

Make things a little silly. Memes can be a fantastic tool for team building. Share funny memes from time to time to lighten up the atmosphere and make everyone feel at ease. 

Communicating with shy and introverted team members

Focus on building trust first. Take the time to get to know shy team members better and understand their communication style. Avoid pressuring them to share their thoughts right away and give them the opportunity to take part in conversations at their own pace. 

Also, be aware of non-verbal cues when communicating with introverted team members. Showing interest and appreciation for what they have to say can make all the difference. Finally, respect boundaries and be mindful of the other person’s feelings.

Encourage open communication. Even though introverted team members might find it difficult to come up with ideas or speak out in meetings, they could have valuable insights that need to be heard. Encourage them to participate by offering support and letting them know their input is always welcome. Ask for their opinions and do not argue against them. Instead, work with them to determine how their ideas can bring value to the company.

Show interest in their ideas. Ask introverted team members to elaborate on their ideas and show genuine interest in what they have to say. This will help them feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts with the group.

Allow for time to think and process. Give introverted team members enough time to think about their ideas and process the information before responding. Allow for pauses in the conversation and avoid rushing them into answering questions or making decisions.

Show appreciation. Even if their contribution is small, take the time to thank and show appreciation for what they have said. This will make them feel more confident in expressing their opinions and ideas in the future. 

Show respect and allow for ownership and responsibility. When working with introverted team members, make sure to show respect and give them the opportunity to take ownership of tasks and be responsible for their own work. This will empower them and help them feel included and valued in the team.

Schedule breaks during longer meetings or workshops. Longer meetings and workshops can be overwhelming for introverted team members. Make sure to schedule regular breaks so they have the opportunity to take a step back and recharge their energy levels.

Do not force conversations. Last but not least, do not pressure shy and introverted team members to engage in conversations that make them feel uncomfortable. Respect their communication style and try to find other ways of gathering the information you need.

Additional tips for managing different styles of communication

Organize regular meetings and events. Regular meetings and events can be a great way to encourage communication among different types of team members. For example, you could organize virtual coffee hours or happy hours for team members to get together and chat informally. This will provide an opportunity for introverted and shy individuals to get to know their colleagues in a more relaxed setting. 

Encourage conversation unrelated to work. To make sure that all team members, regardless of their communication style, are comfortable talking to each other, encourage conversations unrelated to work. This will help build relationships and create a more pleasant working environment.

Building a more cohesive team through better communication

By taking into account different communication styles, managers can help ensure that everyone on a dispersed team has an opportunity to express themselves effectively and be heard. Making adjustments in the way communication is handled and encouraging open dialogue can help build a more cohesive team, regardless of the geographical distance. With the right strategies in place, teams can learn to work together collaboratively and effectively as one unit. 

One of the most important rules at DEVTALENTS is that we are not afraid to say harsh truths and offer honest feedback. This makes it even more important for all of our team members to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Our approach is less about protecting their feelings - we do not move away from conflict in some cases - and more about achieving effective communication. We strive to pay attention to communication styles of all individuals in the team and ensure they are respected and that their valuable contributions are noticed.

Olga Trąd

Marketing Manager

Fascinated by the spirit of innovation that permeates the IT industry, Olga has never abandoned her roots as an IT content marketing specialist. She draws on years of experience in the technology sector to shed light on interesting trends, solutions and practices.

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