The six connection languages: how to communicate better with your learners

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Whether you are a trainer, coach, mentor or learning and development professional, I am sure you have lived through a time where you have struggled to get your point across or not be understood by your learners. It can be frustrating, time consuming and lead to poor results and lack of learning transfer.

But you have the power to change that – it all comes down to speaking in a language that matches the prominent personality type of your learner.

Our personality structure has a strong influence on how we perceive the world, how we communicate, and how we connect with others. When we “match” the “connecting language” with the one our learners prefer, we get our message across, while building a trusting relationship with them. The Process Communication Model (PCM) is a tool that I have used successfully for this purpose.

When we learn to recognize and use other people’s preferred perceptual language, we connect better with them and our message is easier to communicate.

The six personality types used in the Process Communication Model (PCM)

The PCM is a behavioral model of communication and individual personality differences. It has been used and validated by NASA, former US president and is a world leader. It is used successfully to develop better self-awareness, improve communication, manage stress and conflict, strengthen relationships, and build team.

According to PCM, we all have six different “IN us” personality types, organized in a defined order of preference. Our basic type, foundation, already stands out at birth or in the first months of life. The remaining five types are classified by age seven, according to the principles of developmental psychology and social influence.

Legend: The metaphor of a six-story condominium is often used in teaching PCM because it helps us visualize the makeup of each unique personality structure.

The model talks about personality types in people, instead of types of people. Personality models that talk about types of people inherently invite separation and prejudice, rights and prejudice.

The six distinct personality types found in each of us, along with their traits and character strengths, are summarized in the table below:

PCM offers valuable insight into how these types in us influence the way we think, feel, and behave. Each type has their own perceptual filter, a preferred way of seeing the world. Because we have all six types within us, we all have the ability to appreciate and connect with any other type.

The six “connection languages”

Turning to communication, in PCM there are six distinct “connection languages” called perceptual frames of reference or “perceptual languages”. Discovered by Dr. Taibi Kahler, the developmental psychologist behind PCM, perceptions are the “language between words” because the process of communication often carries more information than the content conveyed.

When we learn to recognize and use other people’s preferred perceptual language, we connect better with them and it is easier to communicate our message. It will invite them to hear more and remember more of what we tell them. Basically, then they’re more likely to connect with us.

1. Thoughts: the language of the Thinker

The Thinker seeks to make sense of the world, by organizing, sorting and categorizing the information he receives. They will talk about facts, data, characteristics and ask questions about who, where, when, what and how. They appreciate that others use this perceptual language with them.

Examples of communication with a thinker:

  1. Offer them relevant time slots at the start of the day and stick to them: “this is our agenda today, these are our breaks, etc.

  2. Offer them data, facts, percentages and charts, if possible, when sharing information

  3. Be prepared to answer questions – they have a natural desire to understand the details and logical connections between what you are teaching them

  4. Use expressions such as: “I think”, “what options”, “does that mean”, “will you help make a plan”

2. Opinions: the language of the Persist

Giving opinions, judging and expressing their beliefs is second nature to Persist. They will see things through the perspective of purpose, values ​​and trust, all filtered through their own personal values, beliefs and consciousness.

Examples of communication with a Persister:

  1. Ask for their opinion

  2. Avoid contradicting their opinions. If you don’t agree with them, you can say things like “May I offer my point of view? “Or” Thank you, I’ll take your points into account. ”

  3. Use expressions such as: “in my opinion”, “we should”, “I believe”, “respect”, “values”, “commitment”, “dedication”

3. Emotions: the language of the Harmonizer

The Harmonizer perceives the world by sensing people and situations, using their heart as a compass. They maintain their relationships and ensure the well-being of others. A comfortable atmosphere is important to them.

Examples of communication with a Harmonizer:

  1. I am happy to have you in my training today

  2. I would like you to feel good and comfortable today. i am here if you need anything

  3. I would like to know what you think of this topic

  4. Use expressions such as: “I feel”, “I am comfortable with”

4. Inactions: the language of the Imaginator

The Imaginator sees the world by reflecting on what is happening. For them, life is an open space, perfect for imagining possibilities. While they may appear quiet and inactive on the outside, there’s a lot going on inside. They respond very well when given clear instructions.

Examples of communication with an Imaginer:

  1. Make it clear to them what you want them to do in all the exercises

  2. Give them time to visualize / imagine how they can use what you teach them

  3. Give them clear instructions, using words like: “imagine”, “think”, “visualize”

5. Reactions: the language of the Rebel

The rebel enjoys fun and sees the world by reacting to people and situations with likes / dislikes. They are more reflective than thoughtful, more reactive than responsible, more creative than analytical. They are lively, upbeat and always up for fun.

Examples of communication with a rebel:

  1. Let them have fun while learning

  2. Have fun games included

  3. Play music during breaks

  4. Use expressions such as: “like / dislike”, “wow! – funny expressions, slang, interjections

6. Actions: the Promoter’s language

The Promoter values ​​initiative and action is their mode of operation. They make things happen and you will hear them say “Let’s keep the pressure on”. For them, taking the lead and getting things done is second nature. They will find a way around obstacles, and are always adaptable and autonomous. They take up a good challenge.

Examples of communication with a Promoter:

  1. Include many interactive exercises

  2. Challenge them

  3. Use expressions such as: “.

Change your language to make the connections

So the next time you’re struggling to get your point across when delivering training, coaching, or mentoring, remember these six connection languages ​​and think about which style would work best for you. better to the person receiving it. By adapting your choice of words and your way of communicating, you will have a much better chance of being heard and creating a stronger bond that will inevitably lead to better outcomes for the learner and their development.

Interested in this topic? Read “Human Connections: Creating the Habit of Engaged Learning”.


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