HOW you say Things

13 min read

Summary: This article is about the Process Communication Model®. A model based on 6 different types of communication (personality types) within us, that can be used to manage stress, to communicate more effectively with others in harmony as you tune-in to the world of someone else.

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Last week I was on a flight and met a Frenchman who introduced me to the Process Communication Model (PCM). I had never heard of it but it sounded like a special way of communicating.

NASA uses PCM in their selection procedure and to teach astronauts a way of communicating that is effective and that lets others be in their value. That seems to be a good thing when the men a women get into a conflict in a spaceship costing millions far away from earth.

Only 7% of your message is transferred by words. The other 93% consists of non-verbal signals such as the tone of your voice, your facial expressions, your posture and your gestures.

Good communication helps to improve a relationship by going directly to the essentials and building on what is already your best available communication quality in each of us. If the way of communicating ‘fits’ between 2 people, then they can make decisions together and work together effectively. On the other hand there can be a “missed communication”, a misunderstanding which can lead to no understanding at all and a conflict.

The Process Communication Model® helps you to communicate with others by not only tuning in to others on what they say but also on how they say this.

Taibi Kahler

The Process Communication Model® was developed by the psychologist Taibi Kahler in the 1970s. He discovered that everyone has 6 personality types in communication and that the behavior that goes along with it has a certain order, can be measured and can even be predicted. Very useful when selecting candidates for a particular job or project.

Based on his research and observations, he discovered that there are 6 personality types or preferred styles. You may be familiar with the ‘egos’ from Transactional Analysis (TA) which is the basis for the Process Communication Model®. Within the Process Communication Model® these are called ‘states of mind’.

What is the Process Communication Model®?

If we know what our preferred styles are, then we can act on these and avoid pitfalls. This is especially useful when we are experiencing distress. In that state we are no longer fully aware of reality, we misinterpret messages, become emotional and we often make wrong decisions. PCM offers insight in this predictable pattern and gives you tools to get in positive contact again.

It’s about how you say things rather than what you say. People react more to the ‘music’ behind the words. This is called the ‘process’. It is therefore a matter of choosing a communication style that appeals to the other person so that he/she can hear you better and to avoid a misunderstanding.

For whom?

The Process Communication Model® was validated in the 1980s and is used by many organizations, sales managers, coaches, trainers, by groups and individuals. It is also used by lawyers, recruiters, psychotherapists, universities and in families.

It helps you to discover your preferred communication style so that you can focus on what the other person needs. With the Process Communication Model®, you know what motivates you, where you get energy from and where you can optimally use your character strengths. You recognize the preferences of others more quickly and you are aware of what causes stress. Finally, the Process Communication Model® offers you specific tools to convert miscommunication into effective contact.

PCM is for anyone who wants to learn how to deal with stress on daily behavior and to avoid miscommunication. It helps you to develop and use your own emotional and intellectual tools if you end up in a difficult, stressful situation.

The Process Communication Model® helps an organization to communicate, to motivate and to manage stress.

How do you say things?

First, it is important that you are aware of yourself and that we can condition ourselves in a positive state, in tune with your environment, others and yourself. Each of us would like to know what our needs (recognition, loved ones, heard, seen, …) are and how to fulfill them in a positive way.

Every personality type has its own need. If these needs are not met enough, stress is created. If the needs are met, then communication is possible by using the available personality types for harmonious and effective relationships (both professional and personal).

The 6 floor condominium

The personality types are characterized by a floor condominium. Each floor represents a personality type and we have them all within us. Only different personality types are playing a more important role for each of us. The bottom floor is your basic personality type. It has been determined at an early stage in your life. On this floor you feel most at home. Here we hear the best. The other personality types are also present to a greater or lesser extent and are,  among other things, important for being able to communicate well with others. During the day you can take the elevator to other floors based on the needs of your environment. The structure of the apartment building is different for everyone and there are only 720 (6!) possibilities.

People who develop positively know how and when they have to use the other personality types in addition to their basic personality type.

For the sake of clarity: no personality type is better than the other and none is good or bad. Each personality type has its own core qualities.

If all goes well with you, it is not that difficult to go to the other floors. However, if you are under pressure or stress, it will cost you more energy to go to the different floors to communicate with others and where others can hear you the best.

Your basic floor remains the same but your needs can also change over time. Another floor in your condominium will then become more important (this is called ‘phasing’).

The 6 different basic personality types are the following:


The Preferred language: values ​​and opinions.These are dedicated people who are conscientious. They like to experience missions from the beginning to the end. They want to share what is important to them and have a need to be respected. Under stress they become negative, They see mainly that goes wrong and they expect others to be perfect.

You can help a Persister by listening to them, asking for their opinion, respecting them and highlighting the positive aspects of a situation. Do not give them unsolicited advice. Check whether something is needed. Practice to reformulate the opinion of a Persister. Then they feel heard.

Imaginer (Dreamer)

The type within us who retreats to reflect and imagine things.The Imaginer (dreamer) is calm and can imagine well. This type likes to be alone and needs short and concise instructions to get motivated. The Imaginer needs his/her own space to work effectively. Under stress, an Imaginer becomes passive and waits. Projects are not completed. The Imaginer becomes invisible or simply disappears.

You can help an Imaginer with short exchanges in which you indicate exactly what you need. Show an Imaginer that you respect her/his need for solitude and their own rhythm.


The type of action, challenge and stimulation. The Promoter can adapt well, is charming, impulsive and resilient. He/she does not like long meetings or writing reports. Under stress, a Promoter cannot deal properly with dependent people (“not my problem”) and takes risks in his/her own safety (for example: driving too fast).

You can help a Promoter by being steadfast, firm  and stimulate challenges. Accept her or his disinterest for writing reports or attending long meetings …


The spontaneous type who loves fun. The Rebel likes to play even during working hours (carpe diem). He/she responds immediately to experiences. They immediately like something or do not like it. Under stress, work is delegated to people who cannot cope with it (“Try it”). They can also blame others if something goes wrong and they refuse to take responsibility.

You can help a Rebel by joking and not taking things so seriously. Let him/her be creative and encourage him/her to implement ideas.


The type of relationships and feelings. These are warm and sensitive people. They are intuitive and often say that they cannot put something into words. They need a harmonious atmosphere. Under stress they want to take care of everything. The Harmonizer can then make bad decisions and cannot say ‘no’. Then, he/she makes mistakes.

You can motivate Harmonizers by giving them attention, showing understanding, listening and giving courage with warmth. You can also help a Harmonizer under stress by finding a solution together and offering help or support.


The type of analytical thinking and organizing. They are logical, responsible and adhere to the facts. They are motivated to achieve goals. They think before they take action. Under stress they want to do everything perfectly. You get a lot of details and information! Thinkers trust no one under stress and they want to control everything. They then become frustrated and angry.

You can help Thinkers by providing them with all the information, making plans and asking them to make an analysis. You can help them further by being on time and by indicating what works well.


Every personality type needs its own way of management. Within the Process Communication Model® there are four management styles: The autocratic style, the democratic style, the benevolent style and the ‘Laissez-faire’ style.

The manager who knows how to develop his or her style encourages communication, develops productivity and reduces stress factors.

Another communication model!

There are so many communication models. In addition to the DISC model, there is character strength coaching and non-violent communication. Then we have not even discussed NLP, Myers-Briggs (MBTI) or Enneagrams. What I think is ‘new’ about this model, is that you have to be aware of your own needs and those of others and that you can then decide best to act on them or decide not to do so. What also appeals to me is the compassion that is essential to be able to live in the world (the personality type) of someone else in order to be able to communicate in well in harmony and effectively.


This is the first Model that answers the question of whether it is manipulative or not. Personally, I think that NLP can be used manipulatively to achieve certain goals. The Process Communication Model says that it can only be used effectively if there is a sincere intention to communicate effectively rather than to influence others. It is about being authentic and taking responsibility in our communication. Others will quickly find out if we are not.

I think it does not matter which model you use to communicate as long as you are authentic, take responsibility and are aware of yourself and your surroundings.

Want to know more?

In addition to what I give you in this article, there are so many aspects of the Model Communication Model and ways how you can apply it. In the sources below you can find more information:

Do you recognize yourself or others in one of the 6 different personality types? Let me know in the comment box below. I, and other readers of this article look forward to read from you!

Thank you for reading up to here & sharing this article with your colleagues, friends or family. And please SHARE this article with your network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + by pressing the buttons below so that they can also benefit from this article about how you say things.

With great thanks to Edith Doosje, owner of Process Communication Nederland for her valuable comments on my article!

Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!

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