The following is a recap from WWPR’s Executive Communicators Brown Bag held Thursday, June 16.

What’s your communication style? Perhaps you like the bottom line, or love to get lost in facts and figures. Maybe you’re a storyteller, or you believe compassion is the way to go. Whatever your preferred style, you can use it to your advantage, in both your professional and personal relationships.

Carol Vernon, Certified Executive Coach and Managing Principal of Communication Matters, described how to define and leverage communication styles to approximately 50 professional communicators who gathered at the historic Whittemore House on June 16.

According to Vernon, nonverbal cues account for 55 percent of your first impression. Your actual words only account for 7 pe

Pictured above: Kim Ash, 2011 WWPR Executive Communicators Chair; Carol Vernon, Certified Executive Coach and Managing Principal of Communication Matters; and Kendra Kojcsich, 2011 WWPR President

rcent, with 38 percent relying on your voice.

Vernon designates four different styles of communicating, but stresses that no single category denotes higher effectiveness or success.

1    ) Direct – decisive, pragmatic and quick. Tends to speak formally, with direct eye contact and a firm handshake. Focus is on WHAT needs to be done.
2    ) Systematic – analytical and logical. Prefers details like charts and graphs, and looks at processes. Focus is on HOW to get the job done.
3    ) Spirited – big picture storyteller. Excited about ideas and innovation. Very expressive and persuasive. Focus is on WHY the project is necessary.
4    ) Considerate – supportive listener. Values relationships and is more comfortable with workplace closeness. Focus is on WHO is involved.

Almost half of those in attendance self-identified as Direct Communicators. Famous people who appear to have these characteristics include Hilary Clinton and Suze Orman. The best way to communicate with the direct group? Get to the point and answer the question asked.

Only 2 attendees put themselves in the Systematic category. Alan Greenspan personifies this category.  To communicate with these people, provide a lot of facts and figures.

Spirited Communicators made up about 25 percent of those gathered. Often misunderstood because of their exuberance and storytelling abilities, the best way to relate to this group is to respect and recognize their accomplishments.

About 25 percent self-identified as Considerate Communicators. Charlie Rose and Diane Sawyer personify this category. To communicate with the considerate group, focus, listen and validate their ideas.

Vernon underscores that these styles are preferences and can be changed. Often, to get along in the workplace, people blend their style with another, or even flex their style completely, perhaps to get along with a boss of a different type. Understanding your own communication style as well as other people’s can help in many situations, particularly those high-stakes conversations and interactions.

Theresa Henige Oland, WWPR Member and Tech-Savvy Public Affairs Consultant, is on Twitter and LinkedIn.