How To Adapt The Way You Communicate To Different Situations

Today you’re going to learn how to adapt the way you communicate to different situations.

To be a good communicator, you need to adapt what you say and write to different circumstances. You need to change your communication style to meet the expectations of your audience. It means that you should try to behave clearly, politely, and professionally in your work.

If you are dealing with an emotionally charged situation, instead of presenting your own thoughts, focus on validating the other person’s emotions. Whether you are speaking to a large group of people or giving a presentation, stick to a clear format, emphasize key topics, and work with your audience to keep their energy and attention.

How To Adapt The Way You Communicate To Different Situations:

1. Make sure the vocabulary you use is appropriate for your audience. 

It is important to be able to communicate in a variety of forms, including professional and casual. At work or in your professional life, you need to appear educated, knowledgeable, and elegant. On the other hand, your friends may expect you to have a more laid-back style. Adjusting your vocabulary to fit the occasion can help you interact more effectively with others.

Make sure you use language that the other person can understand.

For example, street jargon and slang may be fine when talking to friends, but when used in the office, it can have a negative impact on your career. Similarly, while using big words and professional language at work may make you seem more intellectual, when talking to friends it can be off-putting and isolating.

2. Use the same language and gestures as the person you are talking to.

Paying attention to a person’s behavior can make them feel more at ease. It also improves your persuasion skills. You can imitate her movements, posture, and choice of words.

You can only imitate certain movements and choices of words. If you start mimicking someone too closely, they may become annoyed.

When it’s not appropriate, don’t imitate someone. If you are a guy talking to a woman who is carrying a purse, it is not a good idea to keep your hand to yourself as if you are also carrying a purse.

3. Change your tone according to the situation.

Tone can reveal a lot about a situation to the listener. When you’re talking about work-related issues, you can use a serious tone; when you’re evaluating an employee, an encouraging tone; and when you’re out with friends, a casual tone.

When you change your tone, make sure your nonverbal and vocal communication are in sync, as this shows sincerity. For example, a hard, serious tone could be received strangely if you smile and hunch over. An encouraging tone will go along with nodding and waving your head, while a serious tone will go along with a stern expression and restricted movements.

4. Hold face-to-face meetings to discuss new or difficult issues.

Even if you think you can address an issue in an email or report, opt for face-to-face meetings. This will give individuals the opportunity to ask questions and provide clarification as needed.

For example, you may believe that by sending an email or posting the rules and regulations in the breakfast room, you will be able to adequately communicate the new restrictions on employee breaks.

You can make sure everyone knows the rules and can be held accountable if you have a direct conversation with the staff.

5. Hold individual meetings with subordinates to discuss difficulties.

Avoid chastising them in the presence of co-workers, as this can lead to hostility. Since e-mails can be misunderstood, it is better not to try to solve employees’ problems in this way. Instead, arrange a meeting where you can have a private conversation.

Make sure you use language that the person understands.

“John, I wanted to meet with you to talk about some problems I’ve noticed at your job recently and how we can work on them. This is how you can start the discussion. Instead of being overly critical, give it a firm but forward-looking tone.

After the meeting, write a summary and send it to everyone involved. This will bring a new level of clarity to the message.

6. Use social media in a professional manner.

Avoid using social media to communicate personal complaints or confidential job information. In short, maintain a professional demeanor. If you typically use social media to keep in touch with friends, this may require a change in tone and content.

Keep a cheerful tone in your workplace social media posts: “Hey, come to the Fitness Club today for 20% off all nutrition!”

Avoid personal attacks, tirades, complaints, and inappropriate images when interacting with co-workers, employees, or customers via social media.

Accept that everything you post online can be seen by anyone.

Many people choose to have different social media accounts for personal and business purposes.

SEE ALSO: How To Stop Making Excuses: 13 Fast Tips To Make a Change

7. If you are not speaking in person, double check what you want to say.

Read the email or text message before you hit the “send” button. If you need to talk to someone on the phone, make some notes about what you want to say before you call. Because you don’t have contextual cues, such as tone and facial expressions, communication that isn’t face-to-face can be difficult to receive. Make sure you are being completely clear.

Put the main point of your email in the subject line or at the beginning of a paragraph if you’re writing at work. The recipient will appreciate that you took the time because you were sincere.

Think carefully about the subject line of your email. Avoid ambiguous or unambiguous subject lines, such as “message from work.” Instead, use descriptive names, such as “Meeting with Make Johnson on April 20!”

When you’re on the phone, use clear voice cues, such as “Anne, I’m calling to discuss declining sales figures” and “Chris, I want to make sure I understand correctly. Would you please discuss the subject line with me again?”

8. If you are an introvert, carve out time for small talk.

Try to engage in small talk so that others feel comfortable talking to you in any situation. Even if you are an introverted person who finds it difficult to have social conversations, it is not difficult to discover methods to have neutral conversations with others.

Stick to topics that are unbiased and non-controversial. For example, you can talk about famous TV shows, cuisine, or the weather, to name a few topics.

“Hey, what did you think of the latest episode of X?” is a good example.

Small talk can make employees feel that you can relate to them and are available to them if you are in a supervisor or management position. Small talk with a manager or supervisor helps build rapport, making it easier to discuss more difficult or serious issues later.

9. Make statements that begin with “I” rather than “you.”

Reframe your message to focus on what you are feeling or thinking rather than what another person has done. This will prevent the interviewee from feeling attacked. Consider the following example:

Instead of saying, “You don’t understand how this works,” you might reply, “I remember learning this as a new employee.”

Similarly, you should not say to a colleague, “You’re too sensitive.” Instead, say something like, “I feel like this is something you are very passionate about.”

10. Make contact with the person who is unhappy.

Do your best to create common ground in emotional situations, even if someone is making you uncomfortable or you are just trying to be a mediator between two parties. If the situation is emotionally intense, creating a bond can help individuals avoid feeling like they are being attacked. It can also help a person avoid becoming defensive (1).

The way you express your thoughts emphasizes cooperation. For example, use “we can do this” or “we’re all in this together” statements.

11. Instead of criticizing the other person, express empathy for them.

When people are angry, sometimes they just need someone to listen to them. You need to show that you care about the other person’s concerns and are open to learning more about what’s going on. This means you will need to change the way you communicate and put more emphasis on mirroring what the other person is saying.

Try phrases like, “I totally understand why you’re mad” or “You were right, anyone would be annoyed by that.”

Even if you really feel that way, refrain from saying things like, “You shouldn’t care about that” or “I don’t understand why it bothers you.”

12. Go above and beyond to show respect.

To defuse an emotionally charged situation, first recognize the value of others so they don’t feel helpless or unimportant. Share statements such as: 

You put a lot of effort into this, didn’t you?

“I think you approached it with a lot of patience.”

SEE ALSO: Self-Compassion: Be a Friend To Yourself

13. Tailor your presentation to your target audience.

It is very important to understand your target audience so that you can tailor your message to them. You need to know who will be in attendance, know some basic information about them, and why the audience is going to the presentation. By having additional information, you can better tailor your presentation.

For example, if you are presenting to a group of executives higher up in the business hierarchy, the language should be professional and polished, without jokes or slang. If, on the other hand, you are speaking to a group of people lower in the business hierarchy, you can use jokes, slang, and colloquial language to reduce the tension in the room.

Be mindful of your audience’s background so that you do not use offensive words or examples.

14. Prepare a rough outline of what you want to convey.

Unlike a simple conversation with a few people, when speaking at a large gathering, you need a strategy for what to say. Otherwise, there is a risk that the audience will lose interest (2). Develop a plan:

The main points you want to emphasize For example, if you are presenting your company’s new 3-point sales strategy, try to speak a little louder the first time you say each point.

There are situations where you should exercise restraint (such as when introducing new or complicated information).

There are natural moments in the speech where you can pause, such as after you have presented each point of the three-point sales approach. This gives the information a chance to be assimilated.

15. Highlight the most important points of the presentation.

Use keywords to highlight the most important aspects of your presentation. Oral presentations can be difficult to follow, but these “signposts” can help listeners stay on track. Here are some phrases to use:

“Moving on…”, says the narrator (to introduce a new point).

“As I mentioned earlier,” (to draw listeners’ attention to the main point of the program).

“And now we conclude…” (to make it clear that you are almost done)

Let others know when you are available to answer questions. Please save your questions until the end, and I will make sure they are covered. You might say

16. Use visual tools to highlight important ideas.

Prepare a basic slideshow. The slideshow should highlight important ideas, not discuss them in depth. Otherwise, the audience will be more interested in the slides than in what you are saying.

Include a small amount of text or graphic information on each slide. If you are presenting the organization’s three goals for the coming year, prepare a slide that reads, “Goal 1: Increase membership by 10%.”

This is enough information to remind your audience of the argument you want to make without losing their attention.

17. Engage the audience in conversation:

Provide breaks in your presentation, and ask and encourage questions about the content. You can also address listeners directly by mentioning their names or looking them in the eye. This increases the audience’s engagement with the presentation, keeps their attention, and increases the amount of information they will remember from the presentation.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to adapt the way you communicate to different situations. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here