How To Apply CliftonStrengths Communication At Work

StrengthsFinder Definition - Communication

Often people will ask us, "What does it mean to have the Communication Strength?" First, know that StrengthsFinder will help you figure out your potential. We call them natural talents or natural patterns. We know you're here because you want to turn them into superpowers in your career, so here's the gist: People exceptionally talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters. Here's the full list of CliftonStrengths definitions so you can check out your other talents as well.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

CliftonStrengths Communication - Learn All About It

These 10-15 minute "Theme Overview" videos give you a peek into the awesomeness of your talent theme. They also explore the idea that talent themes represent potential, yet if they are not invested in, they might show up looking raw and unproductive at work.
These “Talent Deep Dive” videos explore the nuance of each talent theme. You’ll learn about its power and edge. You’ll consider potential blind spots. These are useful videos if you have this talent theme at the top of your list, or if you want to learn about a teammate who leads through Communication.

These Career Branding links help you apply your talents to your career. They give you examples of things you might be known for to help your personal branding at work. They also offer some watch-outs to know what situations and cultures can zap your energy.

Your Strengths Will Strengthen Your Performance At Work

In the next section, you'll explore what fuels you up and what drains you. Just like gas (or petrol) in your car, you need to keep your personal tank full to be at your best. Each StrengthsFinder talent theme is energized and drained by different things. When you see the stick figure who looks strong, you can consider how these things fuel you up at work. They're your energy makers. When you see the stick figure who looks weak, consider if these things are draining you at work. They're your energy takers.

Yucks for CliftonStrengths Communication

What's a Yuck?

It's a situation, condition, or behavior you might see at work that zaps your energy. Yucks are also things you see on your calendar or to-do list that make you think, "Yuck, if I never had to do that again I'd be thrilled."

Yuck Situations for Communication

  • Having your expression squashed or shut down
  • Being alone or feeling like people want you to be quiet

Example yuck from client: "My boss told me I was one of the 'talkers' on the team who needed to stop the chitty chat and get more work done. She totally missed the fact that we're talking about work topics. I talk to think, and it actually helps me serve customers better when I can talk an issue out with my peers."

Yays for CliftonStrengths Communication

What's a Yay?

It's a situation at work that boosts up your energy or makes you feel productive. Yays are also things you see on your calendar or to-do list that make you think, “Yay, fill my days with this."

Yay Situations for Communication

  • Connecting people or meaning through words
  • Making meaning or memorable explanations through stories

Example yay from client: "Put me in front of a room to teach or coach or guide. Let me explain to people the hows and whys of something. I can make it make sense for them, and that makes me feel alive. Nothing feels more innately human than teaching something through storytelling."

How CliftonStrengths Communication Can Be Perceived When Starved

What's a Starved Talent?

This section describes how you might be perceived when the shadow side of your talent is showing. It’s when you’re overusing, misapplying, or squashing one of your natural talents rather than turning it into a strength. We often see people starve, squash, or ignore their talent when they assume it is not valued in that role or company culture.

Perceptions of Starved Communication

  • Can't stop talking
  • Impatient with those who need time to think

How CliftonStrengths Communication Can Be Perceived When Fed

What's a Fed Talent?

This section describes how you might be perceived when the best version of you shows up at work. It’s when you’ve invested in your natural talents to mature them into strengths. You can feed your talent by considering “how” you approach each “what” on the job. When you apply your talents to productive outcomes, you’re feeding them.

Perceptions of Fed Communication

  • Brings attention to critical messages
  • Expressive

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Communication Feel Insulted

What's An Insulted Talent?

Usually, talents get offended or insulted by other people who have natural preferences that are different from yours. It also happens if they fail to see their actions have an impact on someone else (you!). You can also insult your own talents if you have a "troublemaker strength" that speaks loudly and overpowers this one.

Things That Will Insult Communication

  • Insult the Communication theme by giving it big doses of solitary time.
  • You'll starve out Communication if you focus solely on data when a story needs a voice.

If your work culture values silence, physically quiet spaces, and a lot of working alone, keep a close eye on those who lead with Communication. The inability to interact with other humans will be extremely frustrating to them. They connect people and ideas by using words, so squelching verbal expression will make this person feel small.

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Communication Feel Honored

What's An Honored Talent?

Usually, talents feel honored when other people acknowledge your needs and potential contributions. Talents feel honored when someone “extends an olive branch” to help you work at your best. You can also honor your own talents by investing in them, by choosing work that naturally calls on them, or by applying your strengths to performance on the job.

Things That Will Honor Communication

  • Honor this talent theme by asking for collaboration, and using this person as a sounding board.
  • Engage this person in storytelling. Ask them to "tell you all about..."

To unleash the A-game of someone who leads through the Communication talent, give the person the freedom to express themselves. They will think and learn best when they can talk things out with other people. Rely on them to engage with peers or customers when a situation needs an infusion of energy.

Personal Brand - 'How' CliftonStrengths Communication Operates At Work

Most people have a good handle on "What" they bring to the workplace. Resumes, CVs, and career development conversations are filled with lists of skills and job titles that show "what" you can do. Nearly everyone misses the "How".

Your Clifton StrengthsFinder talent themes help you communicate "How" you show up. It's how you think. It's how you feel. It's how you act. These are huge differences in each person that are differentiators on the job. Consider these adjectives you might want to consciously put into your personal branding efforts.

We recommend working a "How" description into the Summary section in your LinkedIn profile (if you don't yet use that section, don't worry, most people haven't paid attention to it until now). Of course, make up adjectives or phrases that describe you at your best. Try to avoid words like "motivated, self-starter" because they're so overused that you'll blend in with everyone else. Here are some ideas to spark your thinking:

  • Presenter
  • Transparent
  • Eloquent
  • Captivating
  • Expressive
  • Evocative
  • Poignant
  • Clever
  • Nuanced
  • Conversationalist
  • Entertainer
  • Chatty
  • Collaborative
  • Witty
  • Vocal
  • Word Nerd
  • Explainer
  • Storyteller
  • Writer
  • Interactive

How To Invest In Your CliftonStrengths Communication Talent On The Job

  • Think of your favorite movie plot. Re-watch the film to study how they reveal each new twist. Jot down ideas for how you can use similar techniques to tell stories or deliver company news in way that keeps people on the edge of their seat.
  • Your talent often leads people to think they don't need to prepare because they are naturally comfortable speaking in front of others. Instead, hone your craft. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The more prepared you are, the more natural your improvisations will appear.
  • Start a collection of stories or metaphors. Curate powerful word combinations that move people. Craft these stories so they can be used with customers or peers with a clear story arc and lesson. Rehearse aloud.
  • Listen closely to your audience. Watch their reactions to each part of your presentations. After you deliver, take time to identify the parts that engaged people the most. Tweak your next round to incorporate these highlights.
  • Volunteer for opportunities to present. You can build a personal brand as someone who captivates audiences. The more you successfully deliver on this promise, the more you'll be asked to use the talent.

Tips For Managing Someone Who Leads Through The CliftonStrengths Communication Talent

  • Ask about their life and experiences. They will enjoy the storytelling. You will enjoy the listening. And your relationship will grow because of it.
  • Ask them to come to customer gatherings, dinners, or any events. Tell them about the objective of the event, and ask for their ideas. They are likely to have good ideas both for entertainment and for which conversations will be most important to have.
  • If you have subject matter experts who tend to present dry information, ask the person with Communication theme to partner with these people to bring the information to life. They will be great at framing their expertise in a way that people want to digest it.
  • Get them involved in onboarding new hires. Ask them to learn the folklore within your organization, and then give them the opportunity to tell these stories to new team members. They will bring your culture to life, and thereby strengthen it.

What To Consider When Partnering With A Colleague Who Leads Through CliftonStrengths Communication

  • Ask this person to partner with you when you need a motivator, trainer, or spokesperson to be the face of a message.
  • When your team needs someone to do a lot of talking, this person will usually not tire of teaching, consulting, or being a public relations arm for your projects or product launches.
  • Call on them when you need a memorable presentation, or you want help adding a storytelling element to a currently-bland communication.

Turn CliftonStrengths Communication Into A Strength This Month By Making It Your Phone Lock Screen

Communication Talent Theme LockscreenClick on this thumbnail image of your StrengthsFinder talent theme to link to the full size image. Then save it to your phone or mobile device as your lock screen.

That way, you’ll be reminded of your plan to focus on that talent…oh…about 98 times per day when you unlock your phone. What a great way to keep your intention front-of-mind! This will help you remember to invest in this talent theme so you can take the untapped potential and turn the natural talent into a strength.

Who knew wallpaper images could be so valuable to your career?! Here are all of the lock screen images if you want to grab an image for a different CliftonStrengths talent.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

Take The 12-Week Strengths Challenge

Get stronger performance at work by using your strengths. The challenge is free. You'll get one email per week for the next 12 weeks with a simple question to uncover more of your hidden potential. If you can get your whole team to join along, you'll get crazy-cool insights about each other.

Note: if you're on this page because you're taking one of our strengths classes, you might also be getting an "Activation Course" with that program. This is a heads-up that signing up for this challenge would give you 2 strengths emails per week if you're already slated for the "Activation Course."

12 Week Challenge - Team Icebreakers

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