Types Of Communication Styles: The Art Of Assertiveness





Future of Work


Some communication styles can generate conflict. This can be an issue if you want to build a healthy culture and productive team. Get more out of daily interactions by learning how to spot each type and react accordingly.

Assertive, passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive are the most common types of communication styles. If you want to nurture clear, direct, and respectful interactions, then prioritizing the assertive conversation style is key.

This article walks you through the following:

  • Defining types of communicators
  • Assertive communicators: benefits & how to become one
  • How to interact with other communicators

Read on if you want to master the art of assertiveness.

You can also get started with our free template with a step-by-step process to master the art of assertiveness. 🎁
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Different types of communication styles: definitions

To master your communication skills, it's essential to understand common 4 styles of communication. Recognizing communication patterns allows you to take action and stay confident and productive in conversations.

What is your communication style? Let's dive into the 4 most common conversation styles:

  • Passive Communication: Often characterized by avoiding conflict, passive communicators may not express their thoughts or feelings. They prioritize others' needs, sometimes at the expense of their own.
  • Aggressive Communication: Aggressive communicators express themselves forcefully, often dominating conversations. They may disregard others' opinions, feelings, and overall presence.  
  • Assertive Communication: Striking a balance, assertive communicators express themselves openly and respectfully. This style fosters clear communication, healthy boundaries, and positive relationships.
  • Passive-Aggressive Communication: This style involves the indirect expression of feelings. Passive-aggressive communicators often use sarcasm or subtle actions to convey their message.

Embracing the art of assertiveness is key if you want to be effective and efficient in your communication.

Assertive types of communicators nurture effective and respectful conversations. Qualities of assertive speakers are often related to leadership communication styles. Let’s dive further into that!

Types of communication styles: the art of assertive communication

Assertive communication is a game-changer. People who have perfected this conversation style perfectly balance between passive and aggressive types of communication styles. Assertive communicators express themselves confidently while respecting others.

No more tiptoeing around issues. Assertiveness empowers you to state your needs and opinions. Communication with this style is about honest, open conversations.

"Assertiveness is not what you do, it's who you are!" - Shakti Gawain

How can someone master assertiveness you ask? Embrace active listening, clear language, and empathy. Here are some types of communication strategies for assertive speakers:

  • Active Listening: Understand others' viewpoints. No more misinterpretations or assumptions. Pay full attention, provide feedback, and ask questions.
  • Clarity:  Assertiveness demands straightforward, concise expressions. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Avoid jargon, over-complicated phrases, or beating around the bush.
  • Empathy: Put yourself in others' positions. Acknowledge their feelings and viewpoints without judgment. Assertiveness is about mutual respect, not bulldozing over others' opinions.

Assertiveness is often associated with leadership communication styles because it embodies a balance of respect for oneself and others

Combine the aforementioned skills to master assertive communication patterns. We share a hands-on workflow you can start with today to become a more assertive communicator. Get started now or read on to see what’s included!

Becoming more assertive: 6 actionable steps you can implement today

Being an assertive communicator is easier said than done. People, ever-changing social environments, and internal mood factors can all play into how you communicate.

There is no “one-fits-all” path to becoming an assertive communicator. Nevertheless, we’ve gone ahead and summarized 6 activities anyone can start with today that will put you on the right path:

  1. Observe and Learn: Identify assertive types of communicators you admire. Observe their techniques and demeanor. Try booking between 1 and 3 coffee chats to discuss assertive communication with your role models.
  2. Prepare and Plan: Before engaging in challenging conversations, prepare and plan. Outline your key points and desired outcomes. Anticipate potential objections and responses.
  3. Embrace Assertive Phrases: Incorporate assertive phrases into your vocabulary. Examples include: "I believe," "I would like," and "I prefer." These statements convey conviction and self-assurance.
  4. Give and Receive Criticism: Learn to provide and accept constructive criticism. Focus on behavior, not personal traits. Offer suggestions for improvement, and receive feedback gracefully.
  5. Watch TED Talks: Watch TED Talks on assertiveness, communication, and confidence. Learn from inspiring speakers, and apply their wisdom to your life.
  6. Use Affirmations: Recite daily affirmations to reinforce your assertiveness. Positive statements like "I am confident in expressing my needs" help rewire your mindset.
Curious to learn more about each activity? Get started with the “Art of Assertiveness” template! The step-by-step template includes more details, checklists, notes and more resources, all for free.
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How to effectively collaborate with other types of communicators

Assertive communicators possess the skills to articulate thoughts and emotions with clarity and respect. Nevertheless, to collaborate effectively, you must adapt to the diverse communication profiles found within your team or network.

Next up, we delve into strategies that enable successful interactions with passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive communication patterns.

By honing this adaptability, you can cultivate thriving relationships with different conversation styles, significantly improving relationships across the board. The next sections cover types of communication strategies for managing other communicators.

Empowering Passive Communicators: Encourage Openness and Confidence

Passive communicators tend to avoid expressing their thoughts, feelings, and needs directly. This can lead to misunderstandings and unaddressed concerns. As an assertive communicator, you can play a pivotal role in empowering passive communicators.

Foster an environment that encourages openness and confidence in conversation styles by implementing some of these strategies:

1. Create a Safe Space: Establish a supportive and non-threatening atmosphere where passive communicators feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. Show empathy, maintain a non-judgmental attitude, and actively listen to their concerns.

2. Use Open-Ended Questions: Encourage passive communicators to open up by asking open-ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. This approach demonstrates your interest in their perspective and support for them to share their thoughts.

Example: Instead of asking, "Did you agree with the decision?" try "What are your thoughts on the decision we made?"

3. Provide Reassurance and Validation: Validate the passive communicator's feelings and opinions to help build their confidence. Reassure them that their input is valued and essential to the team's success.

Example: "I appreciate your perspective on this issue, and I think it's important for us to consider all possible angles."

4. Encourage Gradual Assertiveness: Help passive communicators develop their assertiveness by providing opportunities to practice expressing their thoughts and needs. Start with smaller, less intimidating situations and gradually progress to more challenging contexts.

5. Offer Constructive Feedback: Provide feedback on the passive communicator's progress, highlighting their achievements while offering guidance for further improvement. Be supportive and patient as they work towards becoming more assertive.

By empowering passive communicators to express themselves with openness and confidence, you can enhance collaboration and foster stronger, more effective relationships within your team or network.

Become an assertive communicator, get started now with “The Art of Assertiveness” template!
Types of communication styles assertive work template

Managing Aggressive Communicators: Navigating Confrontation with Tact

Aggressive communicators often express their thoughts and feelings in a forceful manner, potentially leading to conflicts and strained relationships. Here are some strategies you can employ to manage interactions with aggressive communicators.

1. Remain Calm and Composed: When faced with aggressive communication, maintain your composure and respond calmly. Demonstrating emotional control can help de-escalate tensions and encourage more constructive conversation styles.

2. Practice Active Listening: Ensure the aggressive communicator feels heard by actively listening to their concerns. Use verbal and non-verbal cues, such as nodding or summarizing their points, to show that you are genuinely trying to understand their perspective.

3. Set Boundaries: Assertively communicate your boundaries, making it clear that you expect respectful and professional behavior. This may involve interrupting an aggressive communicator and stating your expectations.

Example: "I understand you're upset, but I would like us to discuss this issue respectfully and calmly."

4. Use "I" Statements: Express your thoughts and feelings using "I" statements to reduce defensiveness and convey your perspective without placing blame.

Example: Instead of saying, "You're not listening to me," try "I feel unheard when my concerns are dismissed."

5. Focus on Common Ground: Identify shared goals or interests to redirect the conversation toward a more collaborative and solution-oriented approach. By emphasizing common ground, you can foster a sense of teamwork and mutual understanding.

6. Know When to Disengage: Recognize when a conversation with an aggressive communicator is unproductive or emotionally draining. If necessary, disengage from the conversation and suggest reconvening at a later time.

Example: "It seems we're not making progress right now. Let's take a break and come back to this discussion later with fresh perspectives."

By employing these strategies, you can effectively manage interactions with aggressive communicators. Navigate confrontations with tact, and maintain a respectful and productive environment.

Become an assertive communicator, get started now with “The Art of Assertiveness” template!
Types of communication styles assertive work template

Transforming Passive-Aggressiveness: Fostering an Assertive Mindset

To help passive-aggressive communicators adopt an assertive mindset and enhance collaboration, consider these concise types of communication strategies:

  1. Identify Signs: Recognize passive-aggressive behaviors, such as subtle criticism or avoidance.
  2. Promote Directness: Encourage open, honest communication by asking open-ended questions.
  3. Validate Emotions: Acknowledge and validate their emotions and perspectives to build trust.
  4. Lead by Example: Model assertive communication in your interactions.
  5. Offer Feedback: Provide constructive feedback on their progress towards more direct communication.
  6. Create a Supportive Environment: Foster a non-judgmental atmosphere that encourages open dialogue and assertiveness.

Implementing these strategies can help transform passive-aggressive behaviors. This can lead to improved collaboration and stronger relationships within your team or network.

Become an assertive communicator, get started now with “The Art of Assertiveness” template!
Types of communication styles assertive work template

Leadership Communication Styles: Time To Go Assertive

Now that you understand the 4 styles of communication it’s time to take action! Adopt leadership communication styles to employ effective communication strategies. Nurture productive work relationships and create a thriving team or network environment.

Keep all the important resources close to you with our “The Art of Assertiveness” template. Inside, we offer a workflow for becoming more assertive and resources on different communication patterns.

Get started today and invite team members or other contacts to join you in the space and discuss. Work with tasks, notes, files and meetings in the same space, all for free!

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