At a birthday party there are two ice cream choices: vanilla, chocolate. There is one ice cream scooper. The outspoken/direct communicators have taken the scooper and are using it to get chocolate ice cream. The quiet/reserved communicator doesn’t like chocolate ice cream, but doesn’t want to impose upon anyone to take the scooper, wash it, and use it in the vanilla ice cream. So the quiet reserved communicator eats the chocolate ice cream, but doesn’t like it.
This analogy describes two of four communication styles: outspoken/direct, quiet/reserved, thoughtful/analytical and friendly/unassuming. In order to effectively communicate with others it is important to realize that there are several communication styles. In the analogy, a solution could be to provide two ice cream scoopers in order to acknowledge that there are different tastes. Similarly in group settings, we need to be aware and receptive to differences in communication. In today’s world for example, employers might look for certain personality and communication traits instead of being inclusive and recognizing strengths and weaknesses in these different communication styles.
There are many misconceptions about these different styles that can lead to false assumptions of a person. People might assume that direct communicators are rude or inconsiderate, but they might just be thinking out loud. Quiet communicators may seem to be uninterested but they prefer to listen and be flexible. Analytical communicators like to gather information first before acting but can be interpreted as over analyzing the situation. Finally, friendly communicators aim to please everyone but maybe are considered pushovers. In order to best communicate with others keep these assumptions in mind and be respectful of person’s communication style.