communication styles

Four Key Communication Styles

We have different ways of communication, and some are more appropriate than others, particularly in work situations. This article takes you through the four key communication styles.

Communication Styles

There are four basic communication styles you can use:

  • Assertive
  • Aggressive
  • Passive
  • Passive-aggressive

Some are more effective than others, particularly in work environments. This post takes you through the four different styles, along with how to recognise them, and some examples of them.


Assertiveness is all about:-

  • Being honest with yourself and others
  • Being confident
  • Trying to find solutions
  • Listening to and understanding the other point of view
  • Expressing what you want, need or feel

Typical quotes from assertive people:-

“I’d like to tackle the task in this way. How does that affect you?”

“I know you would like to play more matches. However, that is not the best plan at the moment”

“I understand what you are saying, however, this is not the best time to deal with it. Can we discuss it at the end of the session?”

ASSERTIVENESS is all about saying …………

I clearly express that we both have rights and needs


Aggressiveness is all about:-

  • Getting your own way (at the expense of others)
  • Making sure you come out the winner
  • Not listening to others
  • Giving no consideration to others

It’s not all about raised voices, finger wagging and shouting people down!

Typical quotes from aggressive people:-

“I don’t agree with you.”

“Just get on with it.”

“That’s stupid.”

“Surely you don’t believe that.”

“It’s a load of rubbish – typical of management.”

“I’d like it done now.”

AGGRESSIVENESS is all about saying …………

I boldly (or subtly) insist that my rights and needs prevail


Being passive (or submissive) is all about:-

  • Not rocking the boat
  • Not speaking up
  • Giving in to other people’s requests
  • Never saying “no”
  • Putting yourself down

Typical quotes from passive people:-

“Sorry to take up your valuable time but I’ve got a little problem I need some help on.”(Why is your time less valuable than theirs –even if it is your boss)

“It’s only my opinion, but I don’t think you’re entirely right.”
(Why is your opinion less valuable than theirs?)

“Would you be upset if we cancelled our drink tonight.”
(You have a right to do it)

“I hope you don’t mind if I borrowed your stapler.”
(Whose stapler? It belongs to the company)

PASSIVITY is all about saying …………

Others rights and needs take precedent over mine


Passive-aggression is all about:

  • The appearance of passivity, while subtly acting out anger in a hidden way
  • Muttering under the breath rather than confronting the issue
  • Finding it difficult to admit to anger
  • Using facial expressions that don’t match real feelings

Typical quotes from passive-aggressive people:

“Oh, I didn’t get that email.”

“You didn’t return my call, so I just checked with your manager.”

“That’s not my job.”

PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVENESS is all about saying …………

I am angry/frustrated, but I don’t feel able to express it directly

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