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Communication Style Inventory - An Effective Assessment From HRDQ - HRDQ

Communication Style Inventory - An Effective Assessment From HRDQ

Effective communication in the workplace is extremely important. When communication breaks down, work will suffer and success is at stake. Managers and employees need a resource to help them develop better communication if their own efforts aren’t helping. This is where What’s My Communication Style comes in.

Research shows that each of us develops a preference for communicating in a certain manner. This is commonly referred to as a communication style. Understanding communication style is an important first step in learning how to communicate effectively with others.

This communication style assessment tool provides practical and easy-to-use advice that allows participants to gain mastery over their own communication behavior and shows them how to interpret the behavior of others in any situation. What's My Communication Style is part of the bestselling HRDQ Style Suite and is a powerful centerpiece for management development and interpersonal skills training.

Understanding Personal Communication Style

If you want to bring about meaningful improvements in communication skills, the best way to begin is to build a better understanding of personal communication styles and their effects on other people. What's My Communication Style is a proven training assessment that identifies an individual's dominant communication style and the communication behaviors that distinguish it.
It goes without saying that excellent communication is important in the workplace. Team members need to work together and communicate effectively in order to meet goals and provide value to the organization. Having an effective communication style will help.

There are four distinct aspects of communication:

  • Verbal – the words used to communicate. People can complete the words they use, but they can't control how those words are understood by others. Differences can result in differing interpretations of the same statement. Therefore it's better for people to understand their own style and the styles of others.
  • Paraverbal – the manner used to communicate meaning, such as tone and inflection. Paraverbal cues help people interpret the meaning of what someone is saying. Without these cues, they would be unable to interpret speech forms such as sarcasm.
  • Body language – the way people use their bodies to communicate, such as the way they shake hands or maintain eye contact. Body language can communicate true feelings, attentiveness, emotions, and reactions.
  • Personal space – interpersonal distance, or one’s preferred physical space in relation to others, as well as one’s appearance and arrangement of their work or home spaces.

To bring about meaningful improvements in communication skills, the best way to begin is to build a better understanding of the types of communication: personal communication styles and their effects on other people. The four communication styles are:

  1. Direct. People who take charge, in control, competitive, fast-paced, authoritative, leaders.
  2. Spirited. People who are enthusiastic, friendly, motivators, high-profile, decision makers.
  3. Considerate. People who are warm, counseling, cooperative, reliable, caring.
  4. Systematic. People who are accurate, objective, factual, organized, problem solving.

How it Works

What's My Communication Style starts with a self-assessment (a communication style inventory) that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Participants respond to 24 different items relating to both verbal and nonverbal communication by selecting the statement that best reflects their own communication behavior. Each response is scored, providing individuals with a total summary for each of the four personal communication styles: direct, spirited, considerate, and systematic.

The majority of participants will show a clear preference for one of the communication styles, which becomes their dominant style. This communication style inventory is followed by a one hour of interpretation of scores, topic discussion, debriefing, and action planning. The What's My Communication Style facilitator guide also offers a workshop outline that expands the assessment into a 1.5-hour classroom training program.


What's My Communication Style can be used with anyone and is equally effective for personal and management development. The communication assessment can be used as a standalone training development tool, or it can be incorporated into a more comprehensive training program on communication skills. This communication assessment is an effective foundation for determining types of communication, and it offers a variety of soft-skills training topics, including communication, leadership, team building, and supervisory skills.

The Results

After completing the program, participants will be able to identify a preference for one of four communication styles, uncover the characteristics of each style, discover how style affects communication, learn how to "speed read" a person's dominant communication style and understand how to "flex" their own style for effective communication with others.

When the program is complete, participants will be able to:

  • Identify a preference for one of four communication styles
  • Uncover the characteristics of each style
  • Discover how style affects communication
  • Learn how to "speed read" a person's dominant communication style
  • Understand how to "flex" style for effective communication with others 

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.