This Ted talk by Princeton University neuroscientist is a fantastic overview of the cutting edge research on how different people’s brains respond to communication. Very much worth the 14 minutes, you will be surprised by some provocative discoveries to questions such as;
What components of human interaction predict whether people will connect, remember, and experience the information you are communicating?
How can the smallest tweak in communication prejudice another brain to selectively hear and remember a certain slant on reality?
Over 40 years ago a developmental psychologist by the name of Taibi Kahler discovered and mapped the behavioral correlates of interpersonal communication and identified six distinct personality types. These types are distinguished by the process of how they communicate, thus the name Process Communication Model. His discovery has been used by NASA, a past US president, Pixar Studios, and thousands of leaders around the world. PCM training covers some concepts that relate directly to Hasson’s research:
The filters we all carry with us that predispose a person to experience and interpret reality in a specific and predictable way. Adapting communication to match another person’s perception greatly increases connection, rapport, and the likelihood that a person will respond positively to communication.
For example, a person who’s primary perception is Thoughts will be predisposed to data, information, and time frames. They will look for logical patterns in things, and seek to understand the world by organizing it in rational ways.
A person who experiences the world through Feelings, however, will be predisposed to connection, relationships, and emotional signals. They will consult their heart and gut for information about how people are feeling.
These two people will experience the same situation, story, or event in dramatically different ways. A communicator wishing to sync with them will speak differently to each one.
Parts of Communication
Parts are the constellation of behavioral cues (words, tones, postures, gestures, and facial expressions) that must be combined in specific ways to sync with different personality types. Kahler discovered that the more personality-specific behavioral cues that are present, the more likely that effective communication will occur.
Channels of Communication
Channels are the mechanics of how perceptions and parts are combined to communicate with any other person. The power of channels is that they are not only a strategy for improved communication, they are also a diagnostic tool for recognizing when “syncing” is not happening, and what to do next to make adjustments.
For example, some people prefer the Requestive Channel, a channel that exchanges information through curious questions. Other people prefer to communicate with the Emotive Channel which includes lively and upbeat exchanges of reactions. Using the Requestive Channel with a person who prefers Emotive may get a response such as “I don’t know,” or “Nothin’.” Using Emotive with a person who prefers Requestive may get a confused look or they may even disengage.