by Catherine Stothart

This is a serious book for anyone who is serious about being able to communicate effectively with others.

Communication is complex and it is not easy to communicate effectively. So I know the author set herself a challenge in writing a book that offers a formula to enable effective communication with anyone.

The author achieves her objective by using a model that categorizes personality styles into four types. It’s an effective way of chunking individual communication preferences down to manageable parts.

In part 1 the styles are described and we are given ways to help identify our own style.  This includes assessing our

  • Preference for responding or initiating in any interaction
  • Preference for introversion or extraversion
  • Communication polarity in the way we influence others, using directing or informing styles of communicating
  • Using an outcome or process focus when interacting with others to do something.

The four styles are summarised in terms of outer behaviours and the author provides tables that identifies the typical physical and verbal behaviours and inner motivations of the four styles.

The final four chapters of part 1 give detailed descriptions of each of the styles.

Having identified in the previous chapters one’s personal style, the objective is for the reader to read the one chapter of the four that relates to their own personal style. In the relevant chapter there is more detail about the styles impact, the strengths and challenges of the style, triggers for negative emotions, responses to conflict and stressful situations.

Part 2 focuses on recognising, from their behaviour, other people’s likely styles. 

The advantage of recognising the personal styles of other people is that you can understand their motivation and communication preference, and adapt one’s own style with the benefits of being able to communicate more effectively and to potentially build better relationships.

The author identifies what can go wrong between styles – potential areas for conflict, and how the different style preferences can be used effectively, for example, to get more effective outcomes when team working,  or from meetings.

The final four chapters of Part 2 outline how to live and work with each style, and each follows the same format:-

  • Building rapport
  • Adapting your behaviour to connect
  • Conflicts and tensions with the other styles
  • Triggering positive emotions
  • Team contribution. 

I found these chapters particularly useful, and will refer to them when I am in situations where it’s important to be aware of other people’s personal styles and communication preferences both when in groups and communicating one to one.

Examples of applying the information

  • When working in groups, delivering training sessions, to consider the needs of every style, especially those different from my own, so that potential stress is avoided.

  • One to one, I applied the information to recognise the style of my partner. I realised we had different styles (I’m an ‘energiser’ and he is a ‘synthesiser’) and recognised that we had different approaches, for example, in making decisions. In recognising his preferences I could explore different ways of discussing decisions that we needed to make and that he had been reluctant to make (giving him options and time to consider them).  This resulted in decisions being made.

Part 3 focuses on how to apply the styles in work and life. 

This covers five areas that are critical in being able to communicate effectively, build relationships with others and positively influence:-

  • Strategies for positive influence and impact
  • Engaging communication
  • Power and charisma
  • Enhancing your self confidence
  • Building your resilience and re-energising.

Each of the five chapters follows a similar format of identifying issues that impact on the area, some strategies and techniques for developing and maintaining the area, and then some tips that would be helpful for each of the four styles in developing the area.

In these chapters the author excels in her ability to pinpoint the information about each area that is of real use.  Being succinct and selective in what she presents for each area means that it is easier to identify what needs attention and how to do it.

Relating the areas to personal styles means that the techniques or ideas can be more tailored to the particular reader.

The techniques are easy to understand and apply, and I will be using some of them on a regular basis.

The author encourages interaction with the information in the book, asking the reader to consider personal preferences, or identifying situations where the information can be applied. This insight means the actions identified at the time of reading can be easily accessed later.

There is space in the book where required for the reader to make notes,  respond to the authors questions or to apply the information.   There are useful summary tables to enable a quick review and reminder when required.

A very useful book that will repay the reading effort.



The book image links to Amazon*


© Krista Powell Edwards 2021