Communication Styles: Introduction, The Communication Styles Matrix with example for each Direct, Spirited, Systematic, Considerate Communication Style : Pharmaguideline -->

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Communication Styles: Introduction, The Communication Styles Matrix with example for each Direct, Spirited, Systematic, Considerate Communication Style

Passive, Aggressive, Passive-aggressive, Assertive, Filters and frames, Corner styles, Blended styles.

Communication styles: introduction

Individuals have unique ways of communicating, ways of interacting and exchanging information with others. Assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and passive-passive are the four basic communication styles. A variety of communication styles exist, each with advantages and disadvantages. According to research, the assertive style is the most effective communication method because it incorporates the best features of all the other communication styles.


Passive communicators typically behave indifferently, yielding to others. Passive communicators are usually incapable of expressing their emotions and needs, which can lead to others not expressing theirs. Oftentimes, passive communicators avoid communication, which can result in misunderstandings, anger, and resentment. Nevertheless, these communicators tend to avoid confrontations or defer to others when a conflict occurs, so they can be safer to converse with.

It is common for passive communicators to show poor eye contact, poor body posture, and a lack of ability to say "no." Passive communicators also act as though "people don't care about my feelings." As passive communicators follow others and "go with the flow," they are also easy to get along with.


Someone who communicates aggressively is often obvious. You can usually hear it. You'll notice it. Maybe even feel it. In an aggressive communication style, the speaker speaks loudly and clearly in a demanding tone, maintains constant eye contact with the other, and controls or dominates them by intimidating, criticizing, threatening, or attacking them.

In aggressive communication, the command is often issued, questions are posed rudely, and no attention is paid. A leader with respect is also seen as someone who commands respect.


A passive-aggressive communication style user may appear passive on the surface; however, they will sometimes feel powerless or trapped, resulting in feelings of resentment that lead to seeing a thing or expressing anger in subtly indirect or secret ways. In most passive-aggressive situations, the communicator will mutter to themselves rather than confront the situation or person. They are unable to acknowledge their anger, they use facial expressions that don't correspond to their feelings, and sometimes they even deny the problem exists.

The body language of passive-aggressive people is often used as a means to convey their feelings, as is failing to communicate openly with others, including giving someone the silent treatment or slandering them behind their back. It is also possible for passive-aggressive communicators to appear cooperative while doing the opposite in an underhanded manner. The passive-aggressive communicator knows what they need but sometimes has trouble communicating.


According to experts, assertive communication style is the most effective type of communication, as it provides an open channel of communication without being overbearing. Communicators who are strong take into account the needs of others as well as their own needs, ideas, and feelings. Assertive communicators consider how their rights and the rights of others should be balanced in a situation. In assertive communication, "I" statements are important, such as "I feel frustrated when you are late for an appointment," or "I dislike having to explain this over and over again." Individuals show ownership of their feelings and actions in these statements without blaming themselves for them.

The communication style matrix

It would be relatively simple to understand your style if you only used one of the four basic communication modes. The situation may require switching between two or three styles. This is similar to walking. There is a natural pace you walk at. In order to keep up with the person in front of you, you shift gears. Communication is no different. Different people prefer to communicate in a certain way. As a rule, we stick to the style that we're most comfortable with. Our backup style is also available.

Those who vacillate between their primary and secondary styles are referred to as having a backup style. The two styles are combined into our overall style. A concoction made from lemons and tea has a unique flavor all its own.

Director Initiator CharmerEntertainer
Explorer Persuader Diplomat Socializer
Investigator Organizer CouncellerNurturer
AnalyzerSupporter Provider Pleaser
  • Director, initiator, explorer, persuader = director
  • Charmer, entertainer, diplomat, socializer = expressor
  • Investigator, organizer, analyser, supporter = thinker
  • Counceller nurturer, provider, pleaser = harmonizer


Director Expressor
Thinker Harmonizer


Expresser + harmonizer = screens for feelings
Director + thinker = screens for facts

What the Communication Style Matrix Is

The Matrix can be divided into equal quarters, or quadrants, where each quadrant represents a particular style: Director, Expresser, Thinker, or Harmonizer. The quadrants each contain four more squares. Your particular square within each quadrant is based on your secondary style.

Director InitiatorCharmerEntertainer
Explorer Persuader Diplomat Socializer
Investigator Organizer CouncellerNurturer
AnalyzerSupporter Provider Pleaser

In order to explain how it works, let's use the Organizer as an example:

Investigator Organizer

Step 1: Your primary style determines where you belong in the Matrix.
  • Directors tend to fall to the upper left quadrant.
  • Expressers are located to the upper right.
  • Thought-provoking individuals are in the lower left.
  • Those who harmonize are in the lower right.
The Organizer belongs to the lower left quadrant of the model because his primary style is Thinker.

Step 2 - After you have identified your quadrant, cover up the remaining three. Pretend they are not there. Using the above method, we would cover the top half of the Matrix and the right side of the Matrix. That would leave just the Thinker visible.

Step 3 - There are four smaller squares in the Thinker quadrant. Each square is labeled with a name, such as an Investigator or Supporter. In the first and third steps, there is no difference. Your square represents you if you are a Director. If you are an Expresser, then the square represents you if you are also Thinker. If you are a Harmonizer, then your square is the lower-right square. This person is an Organizer since their secondary style is Expresser.

Filters and frames

In a single glance, you can see how all sixteen styles relate to each other using the Matrix. In a single glance, you can see how all sixteen styles relate to each other using the Matrix. The left-handed are most analytical, while the right-handed is more intuitive.

Corner styles

Approximately one in a hundred people fits one of the four "corner styles." These are the Director, the Entertainer, the Analyzer, and the Pleaser. A person who scores higher on one of their basic communication styles than on any of their others is considered a corner style.

People with corner styles have particular challenges to overcome when trying to develop their communication skills. They are less adaptable and flexible because they don't regularly use a secondary, backup communication style.

Blended styles

The Matrix is really a matrix of two styles, and some people occupy two spaces in it. The term 'blended style' is used to describe the case of a person's high score being identical for two of the six communication styles. Someone with a Thinking and Direction score of 35 would combine the elements of an Explorer and an Investigator.

Don't worry if your style is blended. As a result of the way the survey is constructed, it's a perfectly natural development. By taking the survey again, you may find that your score is slightly different and that you are better suited to a particular square on the Matrix. You will have the best idea of your style once you take the survey for the first time. Straight Talk can be of just as much use to an individual occupying a single square on the Matrix as someone who has a blended style. In the Matrix, you are not categorized into a particular group or labeled; rather, you are encouraged to improve your communication skills.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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