One of the most--if not the most--important skills to have in business is being able to communicate effectively. I see what happens all the time with clients who struggle to convey a message in a way that will influence people to act. It's frustrating.

Even if you believe now that you're a good communicator, chances are you've run into situations where no matter how clear the message, you can feel it in your bones that there's a disconnect with the other person. Is it something you said or didn't say?

Maybe neither. It could be that you don't understand how to properly communicate to another person's personality type--that person's unique and innate way of receiving the message.

To bolster this idea, take this powerful advice from best-selling author and life strategist, Tony Robbins: 

"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others."

Robbins hits the nail on the head. One of the biggest causes of conflict is due to two people operating from different ways they view the world, stemming from different typological orientations. With our differing personality types, we often miss communicating on the same frequency. 

The problem

Therein lies the problem: We are not naturally wired to communicate to each other's style. When you add to the mix generational, cultural, and gender differences of expressions and how each person thinks and feels, things can get messy, and fast.

The good news is that anyone can learn and adapt to the communication styles of other people in order to work better with them. Or, to Tony Robbins' point, do a better job of perceiving the world around us as a guide to help us communicate more efficiently.

Since it's been found that diverse teams have unique individual strengths, it would be in your best interest to get to know each others' communication styles for optimum collaboration.

To raise your capacity further, consider adapting to the communication styles of four prevalent personality types that you may come across daily at work.

1. How to communicate to the driven, take-charge, person.

This team member is all about getting results, seeing the big picture, and focusing on the bottom line. They are prolific and driven communicators who always follow through to get the job done.

They communicate with take-charge language and often come across as "bossy" because it's their natural inclination to direct others and push things through, even if they're not your boss.

Chances are that, in a team of 10, you'll probably have four or five of these personality types and be faced with having to lean to their style of communicating. (And doing so will work to your advantage.)

How do you do it? Be assertive, be candid, speak convincingly, and direct. Remember to get to the point and speak with urgency. Take-charge types want to cut to the chase and get to the bottom line.

The motto to remember when speaking to these people is: Be bright, be brief, be gone.

2. How to communicate to the social, extroverted, people-person.

While you may be far from being wired like this person, connecting with someone of this typological orientation should be your top priority. Plainly put, if you want to really get on his or her good side, invest in the relationship with plenty of social interaction because the more you connect socially, the better your chances of working effectively with that person. 

Remember these rules of engagement: Be agreeable, even if you have to disagree; show empathy and understanding; and be open, expressive, playful, and responsive.

The motto to remember when speaking to these people is: Be available, be supportive, be relational.

3. How to communicate to the creative, out-of-the-box, free-spirit type.

Free-spirited communicators do not like to be tied down by convention. They are experiential, adventurous, and out-of-the-box thinkers. They've thought or said, "You do your thing and I'll do mine." They set and achieve ambitious goals, and they do not like to be told: "You can't."

Since they are fun-loving people with a sense of flair, be the same to them. Show your spontaneity and look at situations and problems in new ways that others may not see.

Since these types adapt well to new and novel situations, try to do your best to support their creative problem-solving skills. Once they see that you have the capacity to lean in their direction and allow them the freedom and movement to think out of the box, they'll show up with uncanny ideas and solutions to problems.

The downside to this style is that they grow bored easily and want to change things up, sometimes on a whim. Their constant need for "the next challenge" can cause conflict with other team members. Remember these tips for successfully engaging the free spirit: Be curious, offer a unique point-of-view, and be open to improvising.

The motto to remember when talking with the free spirit is: Be real, be new, be now, have fun.

4. How to communicate to the task-oriented, no-nonsense type.

These task types have been known to be the pillars that hold the building together. They communicate with one intention: To get the job done, and done right.

They are extremely hard working, dependable, reliable, and take a no-nonsense approach to work relationships and how they communicate with peers. They are very organized and structured in how they function and speak. 

Their major strengths are a strong personal commitment to their work, being precise, punctual, and seeing that others do the same to get the job done right. They take responsibility very seriously, and it shows through in how they express themselves.

If you're wondering what motivates the no-nonsense communicator so you can relate better and speak into their style, focus on two things:

  • Reliability: Because they can be trusted in anything they undertake, they expect others to honor their commitments and be dependable.
  • Predictable: They like everything predictable. Speak in a language that assures them of routine, order, structure, and organization.

The motto to remember for task-types is: Be thorough, be prepared, be tried, be true.