Better Business Communication

I am now a few weeks into my business management course, and it continues to be a great growth experience for me (both personally and professionally).

This past week we covered “Better Business Communication” — and it’s no wonder why so many companies struggle to remain productive and profitable. There was a ton of awesome advice that our teacher gave us, and I’ll attempt to relay that here within the context of my own experience: working at a tech company.

Communication Styles

Before going into class, we all completed a communication strategy assessment which is essentially just a multiple-choice exam (roughly 10 questions) where you rank the choices on a scale of 1-4 (1 being lowest, 4 being highest). After ranking the choices for all questions, you sum the totals for each choice. The choice with the highest total is your communication style.

In this case, I was a clear “D”. But what does that mean exactly?

As far as I can tell, there are multiple interpretations (e.g. 1, 2) of the “communications style” quadrant. Our class covered the following styles:

  • Driver: focus on big picture, productivity
  • Promoter: focus on big picture, people
  • Analyzer: focus on details, productivity
  • Supporter: focus on details, people

My results put me squarely in the “Driver” style: I’m (allegedly) direct, to the point, and function professionally by making statements. I use a high amount of eye contact, am action-oriented and focus on producing results. I’m a problem solver who takes charge.

The important thing here is not necessarily the “good” skills that come along with being a Driver; it’s actually in knowing my communication style’s weaknesses, and learning how to best connect with co-workers in the other quadrants.

Strategies to Improve Communication

Working in the tech/software industry, it comes as no surprise that many of the people I interact with are either Drivers (like me) or Analyzers. Software engineers are notorious for being focused on details and tasks – and generally want to be left alone to get their work done!

But the clear downside to having so many Drivers and Analyzers in the software industry is that people are often neglected. Ask any woman or minority in the tech industry and I’m sure they’ll agree — people, their feelings and their ideas are getting marginalized.

As a Driver, I need to become more aware of people because Supporters and Promoters are absolutely essential to the success of any company. Listening to others and responding to their feelings allows everyone to cooperate and contribute.

About 

With nearly 20 years of software engineering and operations experience, Arthur Kay offers an extraordinary set of leadership skills and technical expertise to develop meaningful products and high-performing teams. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, VC-funded startups and companies across a wide variety of industries to build cutting-edge software solutions.

Arthur is a successful entrepreneur, technology professional, and mentor. He is a full-time family man, part-time consultant and spare-time musician. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago and currently lives in greater Chicago-land.

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