Why communication style matters for business: Communication style survey

Stylized drawing of many people sitting and talking with empty speech bubbles overlapping each other.

Would you say communication is a "soft" skill?

Think again – research shows that poor communication costs some of the biggest American companies $2 trillion annually. This means that a company can be losing well over $15,000 per employee due to miscommunication.

So where does this misalignment lie? We believe mismatched communication styles are at the root of the issue, and great communication boils down to recognizing the communication style you’re dealing with.

Everyone communicates in their own unique way. When we acknowledge this difference in communication styles, we get closer to speaking with people in a language they understand. That is effective communication!

We at PowerToFly are here to help you do just that with a communication style survey that can provide a roadmap on how to go about assessing and harnessing your team’s communication style.

But first, let's talk about why communication should be at the forefront of your business considerations. It's not merely a "soft" skill, communication is actually a high-impact hardcore business skill. Here’s how:

Poor communication means losses

Alright, so we already know that communication errors can cost. A lot.

Think about…

  • Time lost in meetings (This could have been an email!) or long email chains that could be resolved with a meeting
  • Employees who resign because they feel disengaged and distressed
  • Projects that could have been completed in five days instead took three times as long Improper expectation setting or wrong hires? (Hint: it’s ineffective communication!)
  • Customers who never returned because of unsatisfactory customer support
  • Million-dollar marketing campaigns that failed because communication failed

Companies are losing time, confidential assets, employee well-being, employees, leads, customers, and sales, all to one culprit.

Poor communication.

Employee engagement and productivity

McKinsey reports that productivity goes up by 20–25% when employees feel heard and valued. A healthy flow of communication throughout the organization helps align each stakeholder with the business and its values. When that happens, team harmony and sync follow.

On the other hand, gatekeeping information and distancing (even accidentally) can lead to disengagement. In the past year, 59% of the workforce admitted to quiet quitting, but we also know that a motivated employee is 87% times less likely to quit.

Better risk mitigation

New government regulations, pandemics, and literal disasters can all be challenging for your business if you aren’t prepared well in advance. Good communication means better preparation. Businesses that establish fail-proof risk mitigation strategies and protocols before the problem strikes have a better shot at survival. However, even after the processes have been set up, good communication is needed to ensure that the whole organization has received the memo.

Information should flow from top to bottom, so that no employee feels cornered or excluded. Employees who feel left out tend to be the first to leave. Including everyone in the flow of information also gives you the advantage of quicker implementation. When everyone is in the loop and kept updated, it’s easier to process change as a unit.

Inter-departmental communication

No two departments in a business are truly independent. If the marketing team doesn't direct a lead to the sales team in time, the company may lose an opportunity. If the product development team fails to share knowledge effectively, the customer support team will fail to resolve queries. All the departments have to work in tandem with one another to make a successful unit. Yet, only 14% of companies have been able to achieve seamless collaborations between their teams.

Remote work

Post-pandemic, only 5% of the workforce wants a full-time on-site job. A whopping 54% of employees want to work remotely. 41% will prefer hybrid over on-site jobs. Working remote may shift from a perk or choice to being the de facto standard in the next few years. To manage a remote team, businesses should already start devising the sharpestremote work communication strategies.


An important part of making the right communication strategy is understanding your audience. What communication style does your colleague fall under?

Most people we meet at work are likely to fall under one of these 4 groups:

1. The Energizers

This is the energy of the group, the go-getters. Focused on the goal, the Energizers are all about action and accomplishment. Quick, direct, and efficient, the Energizers can come across as impatient or insensitive. However, it’s important to remember that they are just trying to get the work done as soon as possible. So, when communicating with an Energizer, a team leader has to adapt to their agile and goal-oriented mindset.

Be brief; talk about important points first. Cut all the fluff out. State the goals before you state the process.

2. The Systemizers

A Systemizer is more about the journey and less about the destination. They want to understand and fine-tune each stage of the system. They are heavily interested in numbers, statistics, and facts. So, when you want to communicate with a Systemizer, you want to speak their language, and that’s the language of data. It's better to map out the journey as minutely and factually as possible for them to follow through seamlessly. The Systemizers have one thing in common with the Energizers: the love for brevity. Straight-to-the-point conversations are their preferred style.

3. The Associators

As you might guess from their name, Associators prefer an empathetic people-first approach. They want to understand the emotions, motivations and human needs that lie underneath a goal. Naturally, when communicating with them, you would want to focus on those attributes. Instead of numbers, case studies and testimonials would strike a chord here. Word-of-mouth is a real winner for them.

Unlike the Systemizer and Energizer groups, the associators enjoy small talk. It’s better if you don't jump on the topic right at the start. Remember, the way to win them is via relationships — be it in data or chats.

4. The Innovators

The Innovator is the idea factory of your team. They want to break the mold and be the pioneer. While their ideas may sometimes be seen as impractical, this is also where breakthrough innovations are born. The Innovators are likely to be sound on facts and data, and one way to strike a chord with them is to allow them to ideate and discuss at length at their own pace and time. Also, if you have to give an Innovator feedback, it helps to root it in data.

Want to know which group you fall in? Sign up below to take download our communication style quiz! You will also find info on how to work with each one of these different communication styles in more detail.

Good communication is the language of leadership, and the good thing about any language is that it can be learned anytime. With practice comes proficiency. Communication is no different; practice and perfect it withPowerUp. Curated by communication coaches and business experts, our detailed course on inclusive communication is for leaders, who lead the way with compassion and set new benchmarks! Learn more about ithere.

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