If you are an inferential communicator you say less than what you mean and you expect others to fill in the gaps. You may also use your body language more than your words and often your words don't totally express what you actually mean.
If you are a literal communicator you say only literally what you mean and you often speak in complete thoughts. You may not express much emotion on the outside and you don't hint around things or speak in metaphors very much.
The interesting thing is we often listen with the same style that we communicate in. So sometimes there can be some deep miscommunication happening just because two people have very different styles of listening and communicating. For example, a literal person may be trying to hold an inferential person to what they said but what the inferential person said is only part of what they meant. Then an inferential person is often listening to a literal person and adding their own meaning to what has been said and the literal person just keeps repeating themselves. It can all get real messy and lead to potential problems in communication.
Whether you're talking to a co-worker, family member, partner, friend or client, it's good to take note of people's dominant style because it will give you insight on how to communicate with them better. If you are a therapist or counselor, particularly for couples, this is particularly good to know about. Behavioral flexibility is a great skill. Practice matching other people's style and see if things shift in your interactions and relationships.
What is your communication style, literal or inferential?
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