Your communication language

One of the main themes of this course is understanding that you have a unique language with which you speak and feel and communicate. We've talked about it with how you feel supported, your love language, and now, your communication language. So much of love is about communication. You need to understand yourself and how you communicate, but you also need to understand how others might communicate as well. You might remember a kid in elementary school who was the "class clown" and was always being silly with people and getting in trouble for not following rules or being quiet. Maybe you were that kid! Or you might remember the person who would take charge in group projects and got everything done, the person who was doing doing doing. These are both examples of ways we communicate. Of course, by communication I don't mean just speaking. Most of our communication is done non-verbally, and that's where we get in trouble.\The Process Communication Model is what we'll be working from in this session. What is the PCM?
According to the research of psychologist, Taibi Kahler (1988), each of us possesses a personality structure made up of six distinct personality types. The relative strength of each type differs from person to person. No type is smarter or better than any other type. via

So what are the six types of personalities?

Personality Type




Compassionate, Sensitive, Warm

Recognition of person; Sensory


Responsible, Logical, Organized

Recognition for work; Time structure


Dedicated, Observant Conscientious

Recognition for work; Conviction


Reflective, Imaginative, Calm



Spontaneous, Creative, Playful

Playful physical contact


Persuasive, Adaptable, Charming

Incidence (action)

The process communication model teaches that none of us are just one of those personality types. We probably have a dominant one or two (similar to the love languages), but ultimately we possess all of those traits at differing levels. For instance, I am primarily a Dreamer, and then probably my secondary traits are Do-er and Funster, and I don't identify very much with the Believer and Feeler descriptions.

Here are some more involved descriptions of the different personality types, so you can figure out which ones you (and loved ones) may primarily possess:

* Make contact with the world by reflecting and imagining
* Need privacy and their own space
* Are reflective, imaginative, and calm
* Have the ability to be introspective
* Work well with things, tasks, and work requiring hand skill
* Prefer to be alone and like work environments which provide solitude
* Are externally motivated for goals
* Prefer clear, concise direction without emotion or intimidation
* Like precise commands with specific time frames
* Are recharged with solitude: time and space alone to refocus
* In times of stress:
  • Withdraw and does not take initiative to make independent decisions.
  • Believe they are not OK and others are OK.
  • Generally do not initiate communication.
  • Feel inadequate or unimportant
  • Believe others can make them feel bad
  • Believe other people or things are in charge of their thoughts and feelings
* Make contact with the world by evaluating and judging it.
* Prize values, loyalty and commitment
* Are dedicated, conscientious, and observant
* Have an ability to share opinions, beliefs, and judgements
* Focus and work well alone, but also look for others with whom to share opinions and discuss values
* Are internally motivated for goals
* Prefer to weigh in with their opinions and values, and want decision-making to be consistent and meaningful
* Desire confirmation that their dedication, commitment, and hard work is noticed.
* Want their beliefs respected, and an invitation to share their opinions
* Will often focus on what's wrong instead of what's right
* Need recognition of work
* In times of stress:
  • Ask complicated, overly detailed questions, expecting others to answer precisely (i.e., be perfect)
  • push beliefs
  • attack
  • believe they are OK and others are not
  • believe they can make others feel bad to get what they want
  • express righteousness, arrogance, and/or suspicion
  • critical and distrustful of those who don't believe the same
* Take in the world by experiencing situations and making things happen
* Generally charming and use persuasion and charisma
* Prizes resourcefulness and self-sufficiency
* Are adaptable, charming, and persuasive
* Have an ability to be firm, direct, and resourceful.
* Are directors who give imperatives. They command and direct without attack or intimidation
* Prefer to move from group to group, looking for excitement and opportunity.
* Prefer small groups and cliques.
* Are externally motivated for goals
* Prefer precise, task-oriented direction that leads to action
* Need plenty of action, healthy competition, challenge, and risk
* In times of stress:
  • Withdraw support and leaves teammates to fend for themselves
  • Blame
  • Manipulate
  • Believe they are OK and others are not OK
  • Believe they can make others feel bad to get what they want
  • Express emotions such as vindictive anger and jealousy
  • Creates negative drama and bends/breaks the rules
* Experience the world through their emotions, with guidance from their heart
* Value family, friendships, and compassion
* Are compassionate, sensitive, and warm
* Have the ability to nurture and give to others.
* Are good at creating harmony
* Have a warm and welcoming smile
* Are natural comforters who nurture or support with caring.
* Often have open and accepting gestures and posture
* Like being with others (family, work groups, clubs, organizations)
* Are most energized when they are with people they like, and with whom they feel comfortable.
* Internally motivated for goals
* Prefer a caring and supportive leader who joins them in their work
* Want to feel cared for and valued as a person, offered affirmation, support and empathy.
* Need acceptance without strings, conditions, or performance required
* Want to be appreciated and included as part of the group
* Prefer an environment that is pleasant to look at, melodious, comfortable, and relaxing
* In times of stress:
  • Over adapt, aren't assertive and won't ask directly for what they want
  • Are hesitant and doesn't make firm decisions which might hurt someone else's feelings
  • Feel like they are not OK and others are OK
  • Believe that others can make them feel bad so they will do what others want out of guilt or shame
  • Express feelings of sadness, confusion, or worry, rather than authentic anger.
  • Make mistakes
  • Invite criticism
  • Lack assertiveness
  • Experience self-doubt
* Make contact with the world through unfiltered likes and dislikes
* Value humor, originality, and authenticity
* Are spontaneous, creative, and playful
* Have the ability to be novel and to enjoy the present
* Express emotion
* Are spontaneous, unfiltered, and playful
* Can express healthy positive or negative emotions
* Prefer small groups, cliques, or two or more buddies
* Are energized by having fun with small groups of people they like
* Are externally motivated for goals
* Prefer a non-directive, unstructured environment that invites each person to take on as much responsibility as they can handle
* Are emotive and offer an energetic, animated, and non-teasing exchange
* Need an environment that is lively
* Want upbeat, stimulating interactions with others and the world around them
* In times of stress:
  • Do not answer questions directly
  • Invite others to think or do for them by seeming not to understand
  • Will often delegate inappropriately and haphazardly
  • Blame
  • Believe they are OK and others are not
  • Belive they can make others feel bad to get what they want
  • Express emotions such ass vengeful anger and boredom
  • Are unaccountable
* Make contact with the world by gathering data, thinking about it, analyzing it, connecting it, and drawing logical conclusions.
* Value logic, data, and information
* Are logical, responsible, and organized
* Have the ability to think logically. To take in facts and create new ideas
* Prefer one-on-one interactions or to be alone
* Seek organization and efficiency. While their space may not always look orderly to others, they have a system and can find what they want
* Are internally motivated for goals
* Prefer to weigh in with their ideas and analyses, and want decision-making to be fair and logical
* Like to be asked about their thoughts and ideas
* Need recognition of work and time structure
* Desire confirmation. They seek that what they have done is noticed and appreciated
* Are goal and achievement oriented
* Need to know what is to be done and when. Being on time and using time efficiently is important
* In times of stress:
  • Make complicated or over-qualifying statements by using big words or over-explaining
  • Does not delegate well and micromanages.
  • Attacks
  • Are overcontrolling
  • Think they are OK and others are not
  • Act as if they are smarter and can think better than others
  • Think they can make others feel bad in order that they will think more clearly
  • Express emotions such as frustration and rage
  • Are critical of people who are irresponsible, tardy, make mistakes, or are unorganized or unprepared
You'll probably identify with a few of those personality types, but usually one or two will stick out as your dominant communication methods. Knowing these methods of communication can help tremendously when interacting with others. These different personality types will need to be encouraged, supported, and loved in different ways. Here are some examples of ways which you can support people who exhibit certain personality types more dominantly:

* Offer them solitude
  • "Work on this project on your own for two hours. Come tomorrow with two questions"
  • "Go to your office, reflect for one hour and come back at 3 pm"
  • "Reflect on the question. Come tomorrow with any discussion points"
*Offer them recognition of Work and Conviction:
  • "I admire your conviction"
  • "Your hard work and dedication is appreciated"
  • "I admire how you adhere to your beliefs"
  • "I respect your beliefs"
  • "I value your opinions"
* Offer them incidence:
  • "You're the one that can make it happen"
  • "Get the work done, go home early."
  • "Go tell them directly"
  • "Take the lead here"
  • "Tell me your plan"
  • "Make it happen:
* Offer them recognition of sensory needs
  • "You are an important part of this group"
  • "Being with you is the most important thing"
  • "We care about you"
  • "No matter what we do, let's do it together"
  • "I appreciate you being here"
  • "I care about how you feel"
* Offer contact
  • "Lets take a break!"
  • Physical contact, such as a high-five
  • Avoid power-struggles, move forward with playful problem solving
  • "I don't like it either"
  • "Wow, this stuff is hard!"
* Offer recognition of work and time
  • "Thank you so much for your hard work"
  • "I really appreciate your organizational skills"
  • "I value how attentive you are to details."
  • "We benefit from all your ideas and hard work."

Something interesting to note is that we all have all six of these personality types within us. We can access all of them, but we won't be very capable of accessing the ones which we least identify with if our main personality type isn't being fulfilled. So, for instance, I'm mostly a Dreamer, but I can access the Feeler parts of me. However, if I'm stressed out or am not able to have my alone/reflection time, it will be very hard for me to be able to stretch myself into that part of my personality. This is why it's very important to make sure you're giving yourself what you need to recharge. You will be significantly less able to communicate effectively to others with personality types different than yours if you aren't first taking care of yourself!

This is why self-sacrifice and love aren't the same thing. If you're sacrificing yourself, you won't be able to love others fully. Instead, think of it as expanding yourself. You're expanding yourself into the areas that don't come naturally to you in order to love and communicate with someone else in their love/communication language. But you won't be able to expand yourself if you haven't first "filled your tank" by doing what you need to recharge. If you're running on empty, you're going to have a very hard time expanding into those unnatural areas, as you won't have enough of yourself to expand! You'll be spread too thin, as they say. As Ru Paul says, "If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?" It can sound like a trite saying if you just take it at face value, but when you look at it through the lenses of love languages and process communication personality types, it makes total sense! We have to first and foremost know ourselves and then seek to understand how others communicate and feel. Once we understand all of that, we'll be much better lovers of both ourselves and others!

If you want to look more into PCM, here are a few links. I took most of the definitions from the PocketPCM iPhone app, which is a pretty handy little app for quickly looking up the PCM personality types!