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Accommodating Different Communication Styles

People communicate differently.

This module shows how people vary in the way in which they are best able to understand and interpret communicated messages. It outlines in practical steps how those people creating messages can ensure that they account for the individual style of their listeners and can make sure that they accommodate for a broad variety of communication styles when creating messages for groups. The module also imparts the importance of change management leaders understanding their own prominent communication style.



11 page facilitator guide
3 engaging training activities
20 slide presentation deck
03:30 min summary video
11 handouts
5 resources in reading guide



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Materials included


Summary Video


Explains concepts in a concise, memorable manner. Includes a bulleted summary at the conclusion and matching job-aid handout PDF.


Facilitation Guide


Comprehensive yet easy-to-follow instructions for facilitating workshops with the above training activities. Includes useful tips and sample answers to questions. No expertise in the topic area is required.


Presentation Slide Deck


For use during workshops in both PDF & editable PPT formats. Slide numbers for each activity are referenced in the Facilitation Guide.


Reading Guide


Useful for participants wishing to deep dive into the module topic with links to the web's best articles, books and tools. PDF format.


Activity Handouts

Everything you need to facilitate successful training activities.

  • Commitment to change postcards
  • Homework – Pick the communication style
  • Homework- Pick the communication style SOLUTIONS
  • Homework- Tailor the Message (2 pages)
  • Jigsaw puzzle BLANK (A3)
  • Jigsaw puzzle BLANK (Ledger size)
  • Jigsaw puzzle WITH PICTURE (A3)
  • Jigsaw puzzle WITH PICTURE (Ledger size)
  • Job-aid summary
  • Comms Channel Matrix – Glenvale Scenario


Tools & Templates

Used during training activities. These can also be used for change implementation.

  • ‘Tailor the message’ worksheet


This module will activate your organization to:

  • use an easily understood framework to understand the four different styles of communication that people typically display
  • assist process-oriented individuals to understand why individuals who are outcome-focused may become frustrated with their communication style, and offers suggestions for how those process-oriented individuals can tweak their style in order to promote understanding and avoid conflict
  • help brief managers and supervisors in order to help them understand their own style of communication to ensure that they account for any natural bias they may have when communicating about a change initiative with their team members
  • explain the importance of accounting for all communication styles when creating messages directed at large audiences, such as speeches, presentations, mass-emails, newsletters
  • show team members who are participating in a change process in order to create a common-language and awareness among their work team about the four main styles of communication, encouraging them to consider what their colleagues’ dominant communication styles might be when communicating with them
  • continue to benefit from the one-page job-aid sheet that can be posted on a noticeboard or on the wall in order to act as an ongoing reminder of the different styles of communication

This module will empower your teams and individuals to:

  • an awareness that there are four identifiable ways to structure information; in terms of actions, in terms of processes, in reference to people and in the context of an overall idea
  • understand that different individuals will display a preferential propensity to comprehend information structured in a one of those manners
  • be able to construct a message using any of these four communication styles
  • be aware that messages destined for groups should accommodate recipients with preferences for all four communication structures

This module is ideal for use at this stage of change implementation:

Pre-implementation During Implementation Post-implementation
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Training Activities


Summary Video & Discussion

TARGET AUDIENCE: All learners SUGGESTED TIMING: 15 - 30 minutes

The module subject-matter is introduced using a short animated video. The knowledge check and personal reflections questions are then used to explore learners’ understanding and experience before moving on to other connected activities.

Facilitators can make use of a range of techniques such as brainstorming or debates to explore the knowledge check questions.

Use examples of learners’ experiences in the supplementary activity which follows.


Communications Jigsaw


This activity uses a jigsaw puzzle to demonstrate the importance of good communication. Both teams have a jigsaw puzzle. One jigsaw has the picture on it, the other does not. The team with no picture is able to ask questions of a go-between in order to figure out which piece goes where. The aim of the activity is to get people thinking about clear communication, asking good questions, and teamwork.


Tailoring the Message

TARGET AUDIENCE: All learners SUGGESTED TIMING: 45 – 60 minutes

This activity builds on the change communication matrix and sample messages which learners completed in the Communication Channels Module (either in the crafting your message activity or the nuances activity). If learners have not done this module, use the communication matrix from the generic scenario and have them create messages from this; you should allow additional time for this.

The learners review the messages they wrote to see how many of the communication styles they fitted with. They then work to reformat messages in the four different styles.

Following this first stage, learners should experiment with these messages to see how many styles they can fit in the same message. Where it has not been possible to accommodate all four styles, learners should return to the change communication matrix. This shows them whether they can use the combination of different channels they identified for each message, in order to cover all four communication styles.

The activity should end with a group discussion on how best to tailor messages to accommodate all the styles.




Compatibility Guide

This module will boost engagement levels during the following change methodology stages:

Change Management Methodology Stage / phase
AIM (Accelerated Implementation Methodology) Communication
Kurt Lewin’s Three Stage Change Model Unfreeze: Manage and understand the doubts and concerns
Prosci Enterprise Change Management Model Implement integrated plan
Prosci Change Management Levers Communications Lever
Bridges Leading Transition Model for Change Letting Go: Describe change reasons
Beckhard and Harris Change Management Process Communicating and engaging
John Kotter Eight Step Model for Change Communicating the Vision for Buy-in
ADKAR Model for Change Management Knowledge
The Change Leader’s Roadmap model Phase VII – Implement the Change
Kubler Ross Change Curve Model Denial
LaMarsh Change Management Model Implement the Change
People Centered Implementation (PCI) Model Powerful Engagement Processes
Viral Change Roadmap Model Engagement
General Electric Change Acceleration Process (CAP) Creating A Shared Need

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