What Type of Communicator Are You?

View all blog posts under Articles

Effective communication is vital to the success of any organization. Communication between employees streamlines processes, and communication between an organization and its audience guides organizations toward achieving their goals.

After fostering the adaptive communication skills and learning the foundational theory provided by a master’s program in communication management, communications professionals aren’t done. They must also recognize the strengths that come with the type of communication they favor. Which one of the three types of communicator are you?

  • A communication pioneer, who aims for innovation in their own communication and in the communicative practices of their organization.
  • A communication veteran, who combines experience with a drive to stay ahead of competition to improve communication technology and techniques.
  • A communication coach, who changes their organization by leading both employees and leadership to more effective and beneficial communication.

An online Master of Communication Management will help any of the three types of communicators succeed in a range of organizations. Communication professionals need a combination of skills and theory that allows them to adapt to a dynamic and rapidly evolving workplace.

One significant advantage of a degree in communication is that these professionals can pave a career in many fields, from non-profit management to public relations to marketing and much more. Alumni from USC’s communication management program have forged careers across a broad spectrum of organizations, such as State Farm, General Electric, the City of Las Vegas, Brown and Caldwell and Merck.

How Communication Types Differ

Which of these positions students choose to pursue will likely depend on the type of communicator with which they identify. A communication pioneer, for example, will want to push the limits of current communication practices and technologies, seeking to be innovative and groundbreaking in his or her organization. The online Master of Communication Management preps pioneers by teaching the most current communication channels, theories and trends. With that knowledge, communication pioneers can seek a position where they can use this digital age to stimulate evolution in their organizations.

Communication veterans, on the other hand, may already be confident in their communication skills and have considerable experience in the field but want to update their communication techniques to foster a competitive edge over other organizations. USC Annenberg’s MCM program provides students with these current practices, such as the mastery of communication through social media, and teaches students modern methods to more deeply understand their target audience. With these skills, communication veterans will be able to pursue positions where they can keep their organization ahead of the competition.

Communication coaches will want to develop the abilities necessary to lead teams toward best practices. That requires a detailed knowledge of both current and past research methods, communication theory, and effective leadership and mentorship skills. The MCM online program gives students with these leadership goals the theoretical and practical knowledge and experience, as well as the problem-solving and critical skills, to succeed in a communication career and to train future leaders.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Communication Pioneer

You may be a communication pioneer if you want to be a leader in developing and implementing both current and groundbreaking communication technologies and techniques. Pioneers want to improve the overall communication process with new methods and practices. They have a drive to experiment, to recognize the faults and benefits of a process, and to correct those problems.

Within an organization, a communication pioneer may seek to facilitate streamlined communication across the organization. For example, a communication pioneer may analyze the training program that their organization uses to help its new employees successfully integrate into the business. Through his or her analysis, this pioneer may recognize that the company’s knowledge could be easier for the new employees to access. They may, as communication technology developer Axero Solutions suggests, make “internal knowledge easily available via documentation on your social intranet,” which Tim Eisenhauer at Axero says “is a great way to keep effective communication flowing.”

Communication pioneers also help their organizations implement the latest communication technology, perhaps by using social intranet software. With that software, employees across an organization can communicate and collaborate more effectively and efficiently.

A communication pioneer’s work, however, doesn’t end with technology. For instance, a pioneer may recognize the need to adjust the physical organization of the office to create better communication. He or she may notice that the current cubicle layout isn’t conducive to effective communication since the partitions isolate employees from one another. This communicator may suggest rearranging desks to make the office space more open and thereby create more opportunities for inter-employee communication and a better overall work environment.

Communication Veteran

Communication veterans may not be as new to the field as pioneers. You may be a veteran if you bring with you a wealth of well-established foundational communication principles and practices to your work. In addition to the tried-and-true, however, veterans seek to supplement their experience with updated techniques that allow them to stay competitive and to get ahead in organizations that may be stuck using outdated practices.

Within an organization, a communication veteran may analyze current communication practices and adjust them for better results. As Eisenhauer suggests, “It’s not easy to improve something if you don’t know what’s holding you back. Communication methods such as email, telephone, messaging, [and] in-person communication can all serve a valuable purpose and come along with a variety of benefits. However, some may be more useful than others. Email, for instance, is probably not the best way to have a conversation with someone.” Instead of using only email to communicate, a veteran may implement social intranet software or improve social media use.

While veterans will often turn to technology for communication improvements, they may also use content to both improve communication within their organization and to create content that will give their business a competitive edge. They may encourage employees to create and publish high-quality content, which brings with it a wealth of benefits: Employees can interact with the content of other employees, the organization’s audience can use such content as a resource, and the company’s search engine optimization (SEO) will likely improve.

Communication Coach

While a communication pioneer and veteran can certainly be strong leaders within their organization, a communication coach’s central goal is to lead both by example and by positive influence.

Coaches may apply this leadership by creating a strong relationship of trust between employees and organizational leadership. Eisenhauer suggests, “One of the biggest obstacles that employees face is how they can communicate with managers and CEOs. They may not feel comfortable approaching the boss, and as a result of this apprehension, many employees may choose to avoid bringing up important points, thus blocking the flow of effective communication.” Communication coaches can encourage an “open door” policy that facilitates communication between executives and employees.

More than anything, a communication coach will likely want to spend much of their time collaborating with employees. They will want to foster efficient professional relationships founded on strong communication. Coaches will recognize and establish an effective means of working with the different types of communicators, as outlined by Forbes‘ Mark Murphy:

  • Analytical communicators, who look for data and facts and tend to use very precise language.
  • Intuitive communicators, who more often look at the big picture and may not be as concerned with fine details.
  • Functional communicators, who see things as a process and think in terms of the next steps.
  • Personal communicators, who are more concerned with building relationships and understanding others.

Why Pursue a Master of Communication Management?

Did You Know?

You may be surprised by the number of organizations and individuals within those organizations who experience problems related to communication. Research from The Economist Intelligence Unit has recently revealed that 86 percent of leadership in U.S. organizations report communication breakdowns that “lead to losses in productivity, missed project deadlines, and sales deals that don’t close.” Every type of effective communicator is absolutely necessary to reduce the high percentage of breakdowns.

Each type of communicator brings unique strengths and motivations to their organizations. These communicators can bring greater success to their businesses, though each success may vary depending on the communicator’s emphasis.

The tools and skills that an online Master of Communication Management degree at the University of Southern California delivers can prepare students to better develop their communication styles. Read more about Annenberg’s MCM degree online to draw out the best of your communicator type.


Axero Solutions

Forbes (Karl Sun)

Forbes (Mark Murphy)