The Three Basic Communication Styles


Effective communication relies on a high degree of self-awareness. By developing awareness and understanding your own communication style can help to build quality relationships with other people and handle conflict. Let’s have a look at the three basic communication styles.

The Three Basic Communication Styles

The three basic communication styles are:

  • Aggressive communication,
  • Passive communication, and
  • Assertive communication.

1. Aggressive Communication

Following is an outline of some of the behaviours of a person who is using aggressive communication –

  • Stands up for their own rights and ignores the rights of other people,
  • Dominates communication process and in some cases humiliates others,
  • Makes decisions without considering other people’s rights, and
  • Can be hostile or defensive in their attitude.

2. Passive Communication

Behaviours of someone using a passive communication style include –

  • Ignores their own rights and allows others to infringe their rights,
  • Does not state and is unsure of their own needs, ideas or feelings, and
  • Is emotionally dishonest / unsure – actions and words do not align with feelings, leading to suppressed anger and resentment.

3. Assertive Communication

Some behaviour of the assertive communication style include –

  • Stand up for their own rights and recognises the rights of other people,
  • Understands and expresses their own needs, ideas and feelings, and
  • Relates confidently to others.

Assertive Communication is Key

Assertive communication is a skill that can be learnt and needs to be practised. It enables people to express their thoughts, feelings needs and wants about a situation openly and directly with respect for the other person’s thoughts, feelings, needs and wants. It allows people the space to express difference.

Yes, assertive communication is the most effective communication style. However, it is important to remember that it might not be the best style to be used in all situations. It comes down to individual choice and safety is paramount. Before using assertive communication, it is important to take in to consideration –

  1. Situation – identify the situation and decide if you want to do something about it or is it an option to do nothing in the situation?
  2. Location – where is the best location to have the discussion (i.e in private, with another person present or ???),
  3. Timing – when is it best to discuss the situation? (i.e. time of day),
  4. Relationship – some people find it more challenging to be assertive with family and friends than usually it is easier to be assertive with distant relationships than with close friends, superiors or family, this is up to personal judgement.
  5. Importance – is it really worth pursuing?

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to the three basic communication styles. Which one do you resonate with? If you have any further questions, please write them below or contact us here.

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