Gallup's CliftonStrengths Communication definition: People exceptionally talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
If you have Communication among your Signature Themes, you might find yourself saying this often as you seek to find the perfect wording or phrase to express an idea. Those with Communication desire to "make it plain" -- to give instructions or directions in such a way that the audience has a better understanding of a concept or process.
Communication thinks in stories and telling those stories in great detail is one of this theme's hallmarks. Individuals with Communication in their Top 5 "think out loud"; they come to clarity about what they are thinking by verbally expressing their ideas and seek out partners whom they can bounce ideas off of.
Once clarity is achieved, Communication can often paint the picture with words so that others can see it as clearly as they can.
Communication: Helps and Hinders
When coaching those with Communication in their Top 5, helping them claim both the "helps and hinders" of the talent theme is critical to productive aiming. Some common helps and hinders of Communication include:
- You have the ability to bring attention to important messages. When you connect a story to an issue, you make everyone in the room smarter.
- You can generate dialogue and build consensus in team settings. You likely excel at summarizing information that can help teams find common ground.
- You naturally look for ways to fine-tune and maximize your message, creating energy, acceptance and understanding.
- You have a natural talent for putting your emotions into words and you can help others find the right words to express what they are feeling.
- You like to talk and tell stories, but be careful about dominating the conversation. Allow others to contribute.
- Even though talking comes easily to you, remember that you don't have to be the one to convey the message. Use your ability to find the right words to empower others to communicate better and share their thoughts and ideas.
- Great communication skills don't involve just talking -- they also involve listening. Remind yourself to listen, reflect and encourage dialogue.
- Your ease with words and descriptions can influence how people perceive others. Be careful what you say about others -- be positive and encouraging, as your words carry weight.
Communication: Self-Awareness, Self-Expression, Self-Regulation
In order to productively aim Communication -- or any -- talents at a particular goal, an individual must have: 1) self-awareness about the theme's power, edge and vulnerabilities; 2) an understanding of how the theme finds expression in day-to-day thinking, feeling and behaving; and 3) the ability to regulate the theme to maximize the potential positive outcomes that can be realized through intentionally applying a strengths-based approach. Coaches can help clients with strong Communication talents by exploring the following:
- The Power and Edge of Communication: Those high in Communication can find words not only for their own thoughts and feelings, but also for the thoughts and feelings of others. This enables them to reach out and connect with others in meaningful ways and to powerfully communicate important messages.
- The Vulnerabilities of Communication: Because they derive satisfaction from conversing, those with strong Communication talents need to be aware of and sensitive toward those who are more reserved and less verbal in their social interactions. Learning to listen intentionally is a prime way to turn Communication talent into a strength.
Coaches can assist clients in realizing and claiming the expression of Communication by helping them explore instances in the past where this theme has been particularly useful. To facilitate this exploration, coaches can ask the following questions:
- What is your favorite story to tell? When did you last tell it?
- When was the last time you struck up a conversation with someone new? What did you learn about them?
- When did you last help someone understand a difficult concept? How did your Communication strength help?
- When looking for a partner for a project, what qualities do you value most?
Self-Regulation occurs when individuals know which of their talents to use in particular situations, or know which talents to combine to either sharpen, accelerate or soften a specific talent. For example, those high in Communication find they need to "talk it out" in order to clarify their thinking. While that may be the best option for them, others may need to "think it through"; they need time to ponder and reflect before giving voice to their ideas and can get distracted, confused or even annoyed with too much talking. It is then that a coach can help the client identify other talents to "lean into" to be a better partner. Coaches can also help clients explore different theme combinations to either accelerate or soften Communication, such as:
- Themes that tend to accelerate or sharpen Communication: Woo, Positivity, Activator, Command, Ideation, Significance
- Themes that tend to soften Communication: Relator, Empathy, Intellection, Learner, Deliberative, Analytical, Focus
Communication: Five Powerful Questions for Productive Aiming
- When you are talking with someone, what clues do you look for to know you are being understood?
- Who has a story to tell that the world needs to hear? How can you help them convincingly tell it?
- Who helps you know when it's time to speak -- and when it's time to be quiet?
- What lessons have you learned in your life and who needs to hear your story?
- How can you communicate better at work -- specifically, your team's successes to the leaders of your organization?