- is there a gender communication code to crack?
Whether women or men in business are being heard and taken seriously or not, has many facets: ranging from deep engrained (false) belief systems, the level of our self-confidence and self-efficacy, our self-awareness, the way we deal with our strengths and weaknesses, our leadership skills, our communication style our behaviors under stress, the culture we come from, the corporate culture, history and much more.
In this blog, I have chosen to focus on one single facet: how we communicate and the impact we have on the other person with our communication style.
Whether a woman or a man is being heard and taken seriously, is often NOT a question of competence, but a question of delivery. It’s not so much WHAT he or she says, but HOW he or she says it.
Let’s have a look at some facts & figures to solve the mystery:
These facts are based on the fully researched Process Communication Model® (PCM) by Dr. Taibi Kahler. PCM was the chosen psycho demographic tool in the election campaign for President Clinton in his 1996 Presidential Campaign. The data are official statistics and representative for the population in North America. Our data in Europe indicate a similar distribution.
At the core of PCM is learning to identify another person’s primary, or “Base” personality type, primarily through the language that he or she uses, the unique communication styles, psychological needs, behaviors and other characteristics of each of the six personality types. Please note that nobody is just “one” personality type. Everyone of us has access to the six personality types within our unique personality architecture. However, through our “Base” personality type, we first perceive our world and communicate our content through our perception using a specific vocabulary.
The following demographics show the “Base” personality type spread.
1. Do women really come from Venus and men from Mars?
Based on the figures above, you can see that the largest group in the population are 30% Harmonizers-Base People. 75% of these are women who feel first and 25% are men who feel first. Thus, we also have a minority of men, coming from Venus (smile). That also leaves 70% of the other five personality-base types where we also find both men and women represented.
As you can see from the language examples, the six different base types communicate the same content, using their own vocabulary.
If Angela, project leader and harmonizer-base meets her boss, John, thinker base and says: “I have a good feeling with this project.”, Angela risks not being heard – or worse, not to be taken seriously.
Why is this? John, her boss is a thinker base and uses a different vocabulary. He will say “I think the project is successful because 1)…. 2)…. 3). Because John has a thinker-base, his brain is wired to listen for thinking words, facts, data and information and the logic of things.
Miscommunication starts to happen, when we don’t speak the language of the receiver – irrespective of our gender. The process that happens unconsciously is that our filter (in John’s case thinking and logic) filters the preferred vocabulary and the logic. The feeling words of Angela get filtered out and he literally doesn’t hear her. The same process will happen if not Angela sends the message, but her colleague Bob, also Harmoniser-base.
On the demographics chart you can see that 25% of the population have a thinker-base of which 75% are men and 25% are women. If Angela would be a thinker-base person, she would use the same vocabulary as John, give him the logic of why the project is successful and she will be heard.
2. Is there a gender communication code to crack?
The secret is that we find all base-personality types in both men and women. As you can see from the percentages, there are more women who feel first and more men who think first. Generalizing that all women would be feeling first and all men would be thinking first would be a huge mistake.
Angela, our project manager, Harmoniser base is not only a Harmoniser. Her whole personality structure is made up of all six types. A part of her is the thinker. Understanding the dynamics of communication processes, she can authentically connect with her thinker part and establish positive communication in John’s way, so that he can “hear” her.
Being heard and being taken seriously is much more a matter of different base-personalities and less of a gender issue. The communication code to crack is to be open and listen to how the content is being delivered to you. What words are being used? Part of communicating intelligently is the ability to be broad in one’s communication style and make adjustments when you want to be heard.
In respect and to do justice to the Process Communication Model, I would like to mention that the language and the vocabulary we use from our base personality type is just one aspect of the whole Model and that it encompasses much much more.
Let’s not label women to come from Venus and men from Mars, and create a gender separatism in our heads. Instead let’s celebrate the richness of diversity in women and men and crack the communication code to connect with each other!
P.S. Do you want to learn how to crack the communication code? Contact me at +41 43 888 55 01, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or secure your place at our next public seminar in September!