Communication Styles Paper

Jane Smith

Nova Southeastern University

HSDD 5500: Disability Services Administration

Dr. Alina Gonzalez

July 6, 2021


Communication Skills Required for Success

Shayna Gaunt, MA, BCBA, is the founder and executive director of Kid Mechanix, Inc.,

an ABA therapy centre providing a variety of programs and services to children with autism

spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families (interview, June 24, 2021). She has over 20 years of

experience implementing the science of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) with individuals

with ASD, Downs Syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and various other learning

and developmental disabilities. She has been certified as a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst

since 2005 (interview, June 24, 2021). Shayna holds an extremely important administrative role

in this company, as she oversees all operations for the entire organization, including day-to-day

scheduling, staff hiring and training, client intake interviews and assessments, and so much more

(interview, June 24, 2021). Speaking with Shayna, she identified key communication skills that

are necessary for success and advancement in the field of developmental disabilities, which

include; clarity, being concrete and concise, empathy, and the ability to listen (interview, June 24,

2021). Being clear, concrete and concise in the language you use is essential to avoid

miscommunications, which is essential in setting expectations and boundaries as an

administrator, especially within a human service agency. The ability to empathize with people

and the ability to listen to others, including coworkers, employees, clientele, and any other

primary or secondary stakeholders, is critical in developing a deep understanding of the

challenges and successes of those around you (interview, June 24, 2021). This is vital as it helps

to guide services and all future interactions. These communication skills are not only necessary


for success in the field of developmental disabilities, but are also transferable to success in

everyday life (interview, June 24, 2021).

My Current Communication Skills

I believe that, of the above-mentioned skills, I currently already possess the ability to

empathize and the ability listen to others. Not only do I feel that I possess these specific skills,

but I do believe that these are some of my biggest strengths with regards to my communication

style. I have the ability to really hear what people are saying, internalize the information,

empathize with those individuals, and problem solve when necessary. However, I have a

tendency to be more passive in my communication style and focus more on listening, as opposed

to those who are more straightforward and assertive communicators. For this reason, I feel that I

need to develop and continue to improve on my ability to be clear, concrete and concise when

communicating with others.

De Vries et al. (2009) found that there were seven main dimensions of communication

styles; preciseness, reflectiveness, expressiveness, supportiveness, emotionality, niceness, and

threateningness. Preciseness consists of clarity, conciseness, efficiency, and composure (De Vries

et al., 2009). Reflectiveness consists of engagement, analytical reflectiveness, and philosophical

or poetic communication behaviours. Expressiveness reflects a mix of talkativeness, certainty,

energy, and eloquence (De Vries et al., 2009). Supportiveness consists of accommodation,

admiration, and stimulation. Emotionality reflects the components sadness, irritability, anger, and

tension (De Vries et al., 2009). Niceness consists of the friendliness, modesty, and cheerfulness.

Finally, threateningness consists mainly of abuse and deceptiveness (De Vries et al., 2009). After

analyzing these dimensions of communication and examining the important communication


skills outlined by Shayna Gaunt, I feel that she most strongly values preciseness, expressiveness,

and supportiveness. I think the De Vries et al. (2009) effectively outlined various types and levels

of communication, as well as the most critical attributes of each communication style. One of my

biggest struggles in communicating clearly and effectively is my preciseness and expressiveness.

I often find myself searching for the right words to accurately describe what I am thinking or

how I am feeling, and this often causes misunderstandings due to my lack of clarity. Further, I

have a tendency to ramble with my words, and this inability to be concise can also cause

misunderstandings amongst individuals with whom I am communicating. Conversely, I feel that

my ability to listen and empathize with people further lends itself to my proficiency in


Action Plan

Hartman and McCambridge (2011) found that 97.7% of Fortune 500 vice presidents

believe that communication skills had affected their advancement to a top executive position.

Additionally, they found that effective communication skills, including oral, written, and

interpersonal skills, have established a minimum threshold that determines the success of a new

employee and is directly linked to organizational success. Millennials are often characterized as

being technologically advanced and highly capable of multitasking effectively, yet are seriously

deficient in various oral, written and interpersonal communication skills necessary to succeed as

an individual and as part of an organization (Hartman & McCambridge, 2011). Further, success

and advancement in the field relies heavily on a diverse set of communication styles and

techniques to deliver appropriate messages, solicit feedback, and motivate those around you

(Gilley, et al., 2009). In order to learn to successfully communicate in all areas, and with all


people, it is important that I am able to develop and improve in the areas where I am currently

lacking. To do so, I must construct and adhere to a personal action plan with the goal of

ultimately strengthening my ability to communicate effectively.

According to Lukaszewski (2003), one of the most effective ways of addressing unhelpful

and destructive communication behaviours is by labeling and describing them. Doing so enables

recognition of the issue, discourages the behaviours, and ultimately will allow for reflection and

lead to a change in the undesirable behaviour (Lukaszewski, 2003). I believe that this course, and

this paper, has encouraged a lot of self-reflection and has acted as an extremely effective first

step in my personal action plan to enhance my communication skills; identifying the problem.

Through this reflection I have identified, labelled, and described my greatest challenges in

communicating effectively with others, which is my inability to communicate clearly, using

concrete, concise language. I personally learn and grow the most when I am put into situations

outside my comfort zone that put pressure on me to succeed. Therefore, the next step in my

action plan would be to identify areas in my life where I can push myself and my communication

skills further or enter leadership positions where I am required to communicate more effectively

and efficiently.

In order to evaluate my growth and the perceivable changes in my communication skills

and style, I would use a combination of self-monitoring and evaluations completed by others.

The self-evaluation process would include journalling and habit tracking that would provide me

with various insights into the choices I make each day with regards to communication styles,

why, and the outcome. Additionally, I would request assistance from trusted peers, colleagues,

and those in leadership and supervisory positions in completing peer evaluation forms on a


regular basis that would allow me to track my progress from an unbiased, objective lens.

Chiviacowsky and Wulf (2005) state that self-controlled feedback schedules benefit learning as

they are more tailored to the performers’ needs than externally controlled feedback schedules.

Therefore, these two forms of evaluation would provide functional and constructive feedback,

and result in significant increases in my ability to develop new communication skills and

improve upon those I already possess.

Sticky Note



Chiviacowsky, S., & Wulf, G. (2005). Self-Controlled Feedback Is Effective if It Is Based on the

Learner's Performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 76(1), 42–48. https://

De Vries, R. E., Bakker-Pieper, A., Alting Siberg, R., van Gameren, K., & Vlug, M. (2009). The

Content and Dimensionality of Communication Styles. Communication Research, 36(2),


Gaunt, S. (2021, June 24). Interview by J. Stein.

Gilley, A., Gilley, J. W., & McMillan, H. S. (2009). Organizational change: Motivation,

communication, and leadership effectiveness. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 21(4),


Hartman, J. L., & McCambridge, J. (2011). Optimizing Millennials’ Communication Styles.

Business Communication Quarterly, 74(1), 22–44.


Lukaszewski, J. E. (2003). Overcoming destructive management communication behavior.

Public Relations Quarterly, 48(3), 25.

Sticky Note
Only capitalize the first word of the title.