Communication Style

Match Communication Style With Personality Style

If you match the communication style of your listening audience you will be on your way to building rapport. This is best accomplished by knowing and understanding the personality behavioral styles of the audience.

There are numerous examples of personality types. Some describe us by colors, by descriptive terms, and even animals.

One thing in common, our personality types tend to fall into a maximum of 16 types. The most common and easiest to remember breakdown is of four personality types.

Talking within these four personality types will increase a speaker’s ability to develop rapport with the audience within their style of communication.

Using the CAPS model, note the traits involved with each personality.

Four Styles...Controller, Promoter, Supporter, Analyst


  • Accomplishment oriented
  • Assertive
  • Control oriented
  • Type A personality
  • Decisive decision makers
  • Devoted to workaholic
  • Firm and unyielding in relationships
  • Gets to the point
  • Goal and results oriented
  • Hard working
  • High energy
  • Impatient
  • Innovative
  • Lovers of challenges
  • Opinionated, blunt, and brusque
  • Over achiever
  • Results oriented
  • Stubborn
  • Task oriented
  • Tactless at times
Controllers also known as Drivers seldom listen to others around them, focusing on the task at hand. Only need to know what, usually can figure out how and why.


  • Artistic
  • Creative
  • Communicators
  • Dreamers
  • Excitement about ideas
  • Enthusiastic
  • Quick decision maker
  • Unrealistic goals
  • Seeks approval and needs compliments
  • Makes generalizations
  • Motivators
  • Natural salesmen
  • Outgoing
  • Persuasive
  • Responsive
  • Talkers
  • Warm

Promoters tend to not like isolation and will tend to vie for attention. Tend to exaggerate and or leave out facts and details.


  • Always willing to help
  • Asks Questions
  • Avoid conflict
  • Dislikes risk
  • Dislikes pressure
  • Dislikes conflicts
  • Followers
  • Good listeners
  • Highly sensitive
  • Insecure and likes reassurance
  • Kind-hearted
  • Needs to know why and how
  • Quiet and soft-spoken
  • Resistant to change
  • Tendency toward pacifying
  • The worker bee of an organization

Supporters tend to yield rather than deal with a possible confrontation. Have the ability to blend into any situation well. May appear wishy-washy at times. Difficulty with making firm decisions. Many are music, poetry, and art lovers.


  • Cautious
  • Conservative
  • Detail oriented
  • Follows directions
  • Detail oriented
  • Logical
  • Low pressure
  • Precise
  • Persistent
  • Slow decision maker
  • Tend to be the planners and organizers
  • Technical oriented
  • Thinkers
  • Need to know what, how and why
Analyst will tend to withdraw themselves and quietly gather information rather than make a quick decision. Can have a difficult time making decisions without all the facts. Make great accountants and engineers. May have tendencies toward being highly critical. Will tend to be pessimistic in nature. They can be very perceptive.

Put Communication Style to Work

To establish rapport with the different personality styles requires matching the communication style with the personality.

1. Determine the tendency of your own personality.

2. Determine what the personality style of those being spoken to.

3. Increase or decrease the communication style qualities within your speech to match those being spoken to.

Remember, personality styles are modes of operation we use at given times and in given circumstances. People will tend to change and even adapt depending on the situation and their purpose. When we speak in every day conversation, our communication style will follow our personality style.

Being aware of this quality will allow us to mirror those we are talking to. We could be speaking one on one or to a group. Matching the communication style will improve our ability to reach the listeners.

When Speaking to an Audience

If speaking to an audience, try to speak to each of the personality styles. This can be done by matching your communication style to the personality or listening styles of those in your audience as a group.

How Can You Know?

How can you know which types you're talking to? Think of the audience globally. Are they managers, employees, business people or local residents? The purpose of the talk should give some clue to the motivation for those coming to hearing it. Within that motivation, consider which personality type would typically be interested.

Then focus your speaking to match their listening and personality style. You can try to reach all four but focus the greatest effort to reach the dominant personality of the group.

Try This

If you frequently give speeches, occasionally leave out or decrease one of the four 'What, Why, How, When' and look at what kind of feed back your getting and consider the personality types that are giving it.

One occasion I gave a lecture focused toward controllers. My highest praise came from a Pharmaceutical rep. I received almost no feedback from the supporters.

The next time speaking to the same group, I focused on the supporters and got rave reviews from them to have the controllers tell me it was a bit boring.

Observe the compliments and complaints at the end and the personality types that they come from. This will be a good indicator of speech and communication strength and weaknesses.

What Are the Listening Style of Audiences?

Would you like to learn more on how the personality types listen? Once you know how to reach the various types you can adjust your communication style to reach the entire audience. Learning to reach the four types is an important element of Speechmastery.

Public Speaking Motivation Home Page

Go to The Communication Style Web Site

Lets Connect View Jonathan Steele RN Holistic Nurse's profile on LinkedIn
Lets Connect View Jonathan Steele RN Holistic Nurse's profile on LinkedIn
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