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We’re now well into the first month of the Year of the Tiger, the third in a 12 year cycle of zodiac signs.

The Cognito APAC team this year assembled a communication guide based on the zodiac. Since the start of a new year also means re-setting goals, organising creative sessions to promote fresh ideas or testing out new solutions to old problems. Each of these situations calls for a different way of working and communicating to get the intended result. 

So, if you’re looking to shake up your communications approach as you head into the year of the Tiger, we’ve created a useful guide to help effectively communicate with work colleagues, clients and peers, based on their Chinese Zodiac signs. If you need your boss to buy into an idea, want to land a meeting with an important investor, or get a teammate excited about a new project, then why not give this a try! 

Look below to see your preferred communication style and then match it up with that of your boss, client or colleague. Be warned – you will need to know the year of their birth!

The Rat (2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948)

Personality: Rats are adaptable and optimistic, which makes them great problem solvers! They make great planners and are usually the engine that helps teams to overcome challenges. 

Effective communication style: When speaking to rats, matching their optimism and positivity goes a long way in getting them excited. Even if there’s bad news, try to focus on opportunities and optimistic outcomes.

The Ox (2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949) 

Personality: Oxen are persistent, straightforward and devoted. They move towards fixed goals and are generally unaffected by changes in their surroundings. This makes them dependable, albeit stubborn at times.

Effective communication style: People born in the year of the Ox are “do-ers” - so get to the point! They work well with action-oriented language that lays out a clear roadmap ahead.

The Tiger (2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950) 

Personality: Tigers are charismatic leaders that use their charm, personality and ideas to inspire others to follow them. Tigers are popular and empathetic, so are often well-trusted by their peers. 

Effective communication style: Tigers are inspired by aspirational language – so always bring your message back to the lofty goals that a Tiger has set their sights on.

The Rabbit (2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951)

Personality: Rabbits are the cheerleaders and caretakers of their groups. Although they are often extremely likable and loyal, they may be overly cautious when it comes to making decisions. 

Effective communication style: Rabbits respond best when they understand how new developments might affect the team. Need their buy-in on a new project? Make sure you highlight how their team will benefit as a whole.

The Dragon (2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952)

Personality: Dragons are natural leaders who show courage, determination and charisma. They are logical and unflinching in their decision-making, which makes them great at handling crises but can also make them inflexible at times.

Effective communication style: Appeal to a Dragon’s logical nature. Always show the data you used to develop your plans and they’ll be more convinced of your ideas.

The Snake (2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953) 

Personality: Snakes are creative, mentally sharp, and intuitive. They enjoy challenges and their intuition always drives them to find innovative and effective solutions.

Effective communication style: Because of their creative nature, Snakes like to explore different outcomes. When communicating with Snakes, always come with multiple options that they can weigh and delve into.

The Horse (2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954) 

Personality: Horses are thought to be self-reliant and energetic. They are also cheerful and known to use their excellent social skills - like humour - to create a positive vibe. It’s no wonder they are so popular!

Effective communication style: Horses are motivated by positive energy and encouragement. Acknowledging how everyone on their team is adding value to a project can go a long way in getting them excited!

The Sheep (2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955)

Personality: Sheep are reserved and deep thinkers, which make them strategic and good at planning long-term goals. They can be a bit indecisive though, sometimes overthinking when making important decisions. 

Effective communication style: Sheep prefer to communicate face-to-face and in-depth, so always make sure you take the time to sit down with them to deep dive into a challenge.

The Monkey (2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956)

Personality: Monkeys are versatile and curious, and they like to explore and test boundaries. Like all adventurers, they chase their passion, have powerful imaginations and always seek excitement – flexing their daredevil side. 

Effective communication style: Monkeys are curious, so focus on what’s new when communicating with them. Be prepared for when they come back with bold new ideas on how to tackle a challenge!

The Rooster (2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957) 

Personality: Those born in the year of the Rooster are thought to be observant and hard-working. They look at the big picture and seize every opportunity. They are also reliable, and work to exemplify truthfulness, making them very responsible members of their communities. 

Effective communication style: Roosters are straightforward and value honesty – so avoid hyperbole and just cut straight to the heart of the matter! Don’t be afraid to give them the naked truth.

The Dog (2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958)

Personality: People who are born in the year of Dog are loyal, honest and selfless. They enjoy harmonious social relationships and are often in tune with other people's feelings, however oftentimes this means they ignore their own needs in order to please others.

Effective communication style: Dogs are sensitive and always have team dynamics in mind. When speaking to them, always explain how team members can come together and contribute. 

The Pig (2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959)

Personality: Those born in the year of the Pig possess a genial personality and try their best not harm others. They are usually easy-going and get along with most people. Because of this, they are usually the peacemakers in an organisation.  

Effective communication style: Pigs’ friendly nature means they love to chat, so don’t skimp on the small talk! They like personable language, so feel free to be a bit more informal in your communications with them.

Ian Lee is an associate director based in Singapore