Work Traits

Neutral Communication

Having a neutral communication style means using written or spoken language to communicate with people in clear, precise terms.
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What is neutral communication?

Neutral communication means you’re careful with choosing the words you use, the structure of your sentences and keeping emotion out of your messaging as much as possible. 

You’re careful with the linguistic techniques, names and phrases that you use through a sense of conscientiousness for the listener - you want to make sure they understand you with crystal clarity. 

This can lead to difficulties with how you’re perceived; some find a neutral style cold and impersonal. But you don’t lack emotion or warmth - you just prioritise explicit information over implicit signalling.

We call it: Neutral Communication

Your level of sensitivity to focus in on specific words and their meaning and during communication.

It is an easy mistake to think that non-talkers are non-feelers.

Wallace Stegner

Leaders with a neutral communication style

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

Precision has been a staple of Chancellor Merkel’s career: she holds a doctorate in quantum chemistry from the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, and while speaking her tone rarely fluctuates from a neutral inflection. 

Neutral communication style is a common aspect of German culture, and Merkel is emblematic of that. She’s not a particularly charismatic leader in her public appearances, but is known as calm, reliable and exact in her messaging.

Often described as ’the most powerful woman in the world’, Ms. Merkel’s neutral communication has clearly been a huge asset in her rise to power and subsequent responsibility in Germany’s highest office.

Mark Zuckerberg

Creating a successful global communication platform requires a leader that can share ideas with great accuracy. 

Neutral communication styles often go hand-in-hand with engineering, and Mark Zuckerberg is a prime example of that. A talented software entrepreneur, his experience both developing the Facebook platform and acting as CEO of the global company of the same name show his strength in communicating strait-to-the-point and executing complex technical ideas. 

While he’s sometimes accused of lacking charisma, it hasn’t stopped him from amassing a $100b net worth!

Mark Zuckerberg
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Kimi Räikkönen

Finnish Formula 1 world champion Kimi Räikkönen is known affectionately as The Iceman, for his emotionless delivery during interviews (and calm persona under the huge pressures of a Grand Prix race). Neutral communication is his trademark, and it’s sometimes perceived as bluntness or even rudeness.

However, it’s a trait typical of many Finns; enthusiasm is delivered in the words, not the tone. Precision is the goal, and he doesn’t mince his words. Honesty and clarity are needed during the fast-paced engineering challenge that is a Formula 1 race, and Kimi simply says what needs to be said for the team to achieve its goals. Highly respected by fans and the team supporting him, he certainly doesn’t fail to inspire.

The benefits of having a neutral communication style

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Clear messaging is your forté. Carefully considering your words before speaking means they’re more likely to be understood.

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Writing talent

You have a higher than average aptitude for playing with language, constructing sentences and stirring emotions through the written word.

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You likely have a knack for constructing compelling arguments based on facts (for either side of an issue if required to) a highly prized trait for lawyers.

The blind spots of having a neutral communication style

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You can sometimes be perceived as uninterested, lacking expression, or being cold and withholding - even if that’s not true. To avoid this, try over-communicating with your team.

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You can be difficult to read when you're excited or stressed. Affective team members need to listen carefully to understand how you’re feeling, which can be frustrating for them.

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You might not gel with highly emotive, affective speakers; you could find them abrasive if they rely heavily on non-verbal cues to get their point across, causing you to keep your distance.

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How to be a neutral communicator

1 ) Slow down.

Take a breather. If you’re prone to outbursts, or tend to get excited and interrupt people, focus on holding your nerve and letting them speak. 

It gives you time to consider your words more carefully, and you might find yourself becoming a more persuasive speaker as a result. 

2 ) Focus on the message.

Remember what you’re really trying to get across. Words can be your best asset if you consider them properly. So remember to focus on who you’re talking to. What do they really want to hear? What’s most likely to entertain, inform or persuade them? 

Communication is all about the listener, so target your words to their personality type.

3 ) Get your facts together.

Before proclaiming your opinion of a situation, take time to gather the facts first. Documented evidence and supportive colleagues can help your case much more than emotional rhetoric if you’re trying to persuade someone with your message. Remember: facts are inherently neutral.

4 ) Practice listening carefully to neutral speakers.

Without the typical cues of passionate showmanship, neutral speakers can be a little difficult to appreciate if that’s not your preferred style. But study the words themselves; that’s where the power lies. Even if the speaker isn’t emotive, their words certainly can be - and that’s how they communicate effectively.

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