How to Communicate with Your Colleagues

Take a look around your office. It’s probably easy to see that it is filled with people with different personalities who communicate in different ways. For example, you may know that you will always get a lunch invitation from your desk mate because he likes it when the team spends time together. Or maybe you have that one coworker that always comes over to you to explain something rather than emailing it. Or maybe you know your boss just wants important details without fluff when you are explaining a project. What you may not know is that you can identify your desk mate as an amiable, your coworker as an expressive and your boss as a driver.first-5-icon-07

These behaviors stem from each colleague’s communication style. The four main communication styles are analytical, driver, amiable, expressive. Each one of these has particular attributes that make them unique:

  • Analytical: Well-organized and orderly, analyticals are fans of details and getting things done right the first time. Analytical people are also deep, thoughtful, and purposeful. In the office, analyticals are good for parsing out the details on projects.
  • Driver: Confident and move quickly to action. However, they are not typically detail-oriented. Drivers are also very determined and independent and are good at making decisions and getting things done. Additionally, they are particularly helpful in pushing projects forward and making sure decisions are made and things get done.
  • Amiable: Easygoing and like to make sure everyone on the team is included. Amiables are typically sympathetic, patient and conflict adverse. These people are especially good for the workplace because they can drive team morale. Amiables are good at making everyone in the office feel included and making sure no one is left out of a project.
  • Expressive: Talkative and fun to be around, expressives are the social butterflies of the office. Expressive communicators are usually very outgoing and charismatic, and love being included. They are also great for making sure every aspect of a project is discussed and fleshed out.

Now that you know about the different communication styles, the key is identifying yours and your coworkers communication styles so you can foster better communication. This useful chart shows you what to look and listen for when identifying communications styles:


While identifying how you and your coworkers communicate can be immensely helpful, you should also be careful not to stereotype people based on some common misperceptions associated with the communication styles. For example, analyticals can be misperceived as not having feelings or that they don’t know how to have fun; drivers are often labeled as impersonal and pushy; amiables are perceived to place too much emphasis on relationships and lack decision making skills; and expressives are thought to be flighty, and not serious or task-oriented.

Once you know how you communicate and have identified how your coworkers communicate, you can start making an effort to improve discussions throughout the work day. Here are some tips on working with each of the communication styles:

  • Analytical: Establish priority tasks and commit to firm time frames before you start a project with an analytical. It can also be beneficial to cut down on socializing and get down to the details while translating your vision into specific, data driven goals and tasks.
  • Driver: Organize your work around major themes and have an executive summary of a project prepared when preparing to sit down with a driver. If they seem brash, don’t take it personally—this is often just their demeanor. Additionally, come prepared to every meeting with your vision translated into actionable steps with a timeline.
  • Amiable: Start conversations on a personal note to feed their need for connections in the workplace and gradually move towards the specifics of a project. When discussing the project, make sure they know how important the team is to making your vision for the project a reality.
  • Expressive: Focus on the big picture and include them in the development of your vision with expressives. It can be beneficial to build in some flex time into your meetings with them to allow their creativity to flourish.

Are you ready to determine what personality you and your coworkers are? Take this quiz and share you’re your coworkers so you can start fostering better communication in your office today.

This post is part of GovLoop’s millennial blog series, First 5.

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