Which person would you rather spark up a conversation with?

Byte Author Uploaded Image Mr. Approachable

Byte Author Uploaded Image Mr. Intimidating

Why does it matter?

Communication style is how you build relationships with the people around you - friends, family members, peers, co-workers, and yes, fans if you have any! 

To build relationships you need to attract people not repel them.

Differentiating between the two allows you to be intentional in how you communicate.

What's Your Experience?

Think back on people who intimidated you and why you felt intimidated.

  • Was it something they said or did? 

  • The way they looked?

  • Their tone of voice or words they used?

  • Their accomplishments?

  • Their role, or professional or social stature?

  • Their gender or race?

Regardless of what it was for you, different people find different things to be intimidating.

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True or False? Oftentimes, the people who intimidate us have no idea how we see them.

5 Key Factors That Define Communication Styles


The way you look can contribute to how you present to other people.

First impressions are made on the basis of:

  • gender

  • race

  • ethnic background

  • physical size

  • hair style

  • choice of clothing

It's all relative.

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In the clip above, what's intimidating about the appearance of the man on the right that makes the other man run off?

Body Language

How you move speaks volumes.

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Body language is what's known as non-verbal communication cues.

It's communication through one or more physical behaviours:

  • posture

  • crossed or relaxed arms

  • mannerisms

  • gestures

  • head tilts

  • facial expressions

  • eye contact


JJ, who’s young and a bit shy, just started as a volunteer with a community organization. What behavior could help JJ come across as approachable?

Tone Of Voice

How you speak opens up or shuts down conversation.

Tone of voice is a combination of:

  • volume (loud vs quiet)

  • timing (pauses vs run-on)

  • pace (fast vs slow)

  • inflection (ups and downs)

  • use of sounds that convey understanding (uh huh, ahh)

It's not just what you say, it's how you say it.

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If you wanted to collaborate and invite conversation which of the following would help you do that?

Use Of Physical Space

What's the right amount for you?

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Are you giving people the space they need or want?

The right space depends on:

  • culture

  • situtation

  • nature and closeness of relationship


If you wanted to intimidate someone using physical space which of the following would you do?

Social Or Professional Status

Who you are, where you live, and/or what you do for a living can have an impact.

These things communicate for you:

  • profession

  • role

  • place of residence

  • belongings (car, jewelry)

  • fame/celebrity

  • wealth

  • credentials

  • accomplishments

Can you be both approachable and intimidating at the same time?

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What makes our celebrity above - Nick Jonas - feel approachable?

Take Action

Approachable and intimidating are two communication styles you can use in different situations and for specific objectives.

How do people experience you?

Byte Author Uploaded Image

Consider how you currently present:

  1. What about your appearance might make you approachable or intimidating?

  2. What body language habits do you have?

  3. How do you use or adjust your tone of voice for friends, family, others?

  4. How do you use physical space when talking to someone?

  5. What's unique about your social or professional status that might have an impact on others?

Armed with this insight, you can be intentional about how you present in future interactions.


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