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We constantly get asked what is the scientific basis or proven methodology that underlies the Communicate Charisma system.
I wish there was a one-liner to answer this, but there isn’t. So if you really need to know, please be patient. Just as the “hive” model pictured above took time to build, so our explanation has to be quite detailed.
We’ll tell you the full story of where the methodology comes from, who the Founding Fathers were, and how — a bit like Isaac Newton “standing on the shoulders of giants” — we have been able to adapt their original ideas to help our users see a little further, or deeper.
Communicate Charisma is an accessible tool with practical marketplace applications, not an academic research project. As you’ll discover, we do obey a rigorous intellectual discipline — yet we choose to explain our methodology in simple accessible terms. In the last blog, we made a beginning by explaining the huge debt we owe to the pioneering psychologist C.G Jung’s Psychological Theory of Types. You can read it here.
That was Part One of the three-part answer to the question: “How does Communicate Charisma work?” The text below forms Part Two.
The Choices We Make
Just as understanding of character provides insight into the choices we’re likely to make in life, so the way that we explain those actions to others will help determine how great is our influence, and therefore how successful those choices turn out to be in the marketplace for ideas.
As the first part of our answer to the question of how Communicate Charisma works, we explored the origins of psychological type theory. We explained how, when faced with the same challenge, individuals will make widely differing choices. We showed how the theory has been adapted not simply to show the different choices, but to show how individuals explain those choices.
In his famous essay called ‘A Psychological Theory of Types,’ CG Jung described a classic challenge: five men are expected to cross a stream or brook without a bridge. Three find reasons to jump over, while two elect to stay behind. Jung’s study focuses on the actions themselves, not the efforts people make to gain support for their actions.
But in a social context, the way that these five men rationalise their different decisions is just as important as their choice. We analysed the way individuals tend to “sell” the decisions they’ve made, as they bid unconsciously to gain greater social validation for their choice.
This produced a two-dimensional Projection Plot showing the mix of techniques used to win validation. The scales range between Persuasion and Empathy, and between Large Group and Small Group appeal. We populated this Projection Plot with a range of nine avatars or personality types.
But it doesn’t stop there.**
Just as the choices we make show character in action, thus revealing the underlying “DNA” of our personality, so the way we seek support for our choices reveals the deeper Essence of our communicative persona. This is built up through family background, schooling, culture — and perhaps a lifetime of bad habits.
Genome sequencing has allowed us to unravel how the combinations of a limited number of base pairs within the DNA structure, can produce huge evolutionary diversity in terms of speciation. Now imagine the same thing is going on in terms of human psychology. Each individual builds up a distinctive communicative persona that is based on a unique combination of behavioural “base pairs” of communication skills.
The ability to analyse or “sequence” such skills would be very useful to those seeking to explain how some individuals are more influential than others when it comes to “selling” their ideas – either through overt persuasion, or by intuitive building of rapport which disarms barriers of mistrust.
To see how we might define the “base pairs” of this psychological DNA and then construct an easy-to-grasp Essence Plot, we need to define a range of alternatives that’s more comprehensive than for the two-dimensional Projection Plot.
Although the structure will be more complex, it is nonetheless built on a simple base that reflects the twin drivers of all social interaction. These are tension between the self and the group; and tension between internal and external motivations.
Just as in the picture below, the structure of our personality is the creative consequence of all these tensions — tensions that by hidden means, support the image we present to the world.
To help us build such a model, let’s return to CG Jung’s original brook-jumping example in his ‘Psychological Types‘ essay to see what his five men did and how their actions were explained. Jung tells us:
- “The first man jumped the brook for the sheer fun of the thing.” Here he is describing an individual replete with Self-Assurance, having full confidence and independence who senses no barrier to achieving his ambitions. This persona is energizing and attractive, leading to high levels of self-actualisation and achievement.
- The second man “said it was because there was no alternative.” Here Jung describes abundance of Belief, or an individual with a strong energy of intention, well able to motivate others to reject their limitations. “Believers” are proficient at explaining their convictions while recruiting others to support them.
- The third man said: “every obstacle he meets challenges him to overcome it.” Here he is describing Drive, or vital energy transformed into positive aggression and goal-focused assertiveness. Such a man will be enthusiastic and often hyperactive, both in meeting his own targets and encouraging others to do the same.
- The fourth person, says Jung, “did not jump the brook because he hates useless effort.” Here Jung is describing the core human attribute of Collaboration, but as manifested in its lowest energy form. Here the man is really saying “I will not participate in your team game because I am independent of you.” Full Collaboration, by contrast, means having an instinctive understanding of group dynamics, of social customs and sensitivity to the needs or moods of crowds. Those driven by internal needs of the self may reject the ground-rules of group behavior.
- The fifth person, says Jung: “refrained because he saw no urgent necessity for crossing to the other side.” Here Jung is describing the principle of Values, once again manifested through low energy. While those with high energy project a sense of security and rightness, that makes them well suited to leadership roles, those with very energy can seem opportunistic, fickle or lacking in clear aspirations or objectives.
So far, so good. But as you might expect from a case study built around an anecdote, Jung’s five brook-jumpers don’t quite span the full spectrum of human motivations. So we need to add two more players to Jung’s cast of characters.
None of the men said: “You cannot know what is on the other bank, but I have a dream: This jump will be just the first step in a journey of discovery leading us to new horizons. Follow me!”
- Such a speech would represent a classic example of Vision. Having an instinctive grasp of what’s over the horizon, and the energy to galvanize others to surpass their personal barriers are classic attributes of builders, planner and architect of future possibilities.
None of the men said: “Before we choose, I want us all to trust each other fully and understand our motivations. I believe that by being sensitive each others’ needs and showing cooperative behaviour, we can together reach a group decision. What matters less is whether we jump, or not, but that we all decide together.”
- Such a speech would represent Empathy at its highest level of energy. Here a compassionate speaker with a sensitive nature can create powerful bonds of understanding through willingness to sacrifice personal goals for group need. Favouring emotional over logical approaches may coax others into trusting relationships, but this undecided style may prove irritating to those wanting more objective values.
Out of these seven variants (which also encompass the so-called “big five” personality traits) we can construct a comprehensive model that includes all the DNA pairs of our communicative persona. That’s exactly what we have done in the Essence Plot.
Because each of us has a finite amount of energy to expend on communication, we will allocate our energy to each of these seven categories in different measure. The result is the subtly different “DNA of communicative persona” that each of us shows in social interaction.
That’s the rationale behind the seven dimension Essence Plot that forms the second key graphic in the Communicate Charisma methodology. Customised results are available for any individual, by projecting onto this clockface the statistical results of a simple lexical self-assessment that is completed online.
By trial and error, most of us have learned from feedback where to get the best results in terms of influencing others to trust and accept our views. We instinctively know in which circumstances we might gain a point by showing more Drive, or more Empathy.
By contrast, the vicissitudes of life may have discouraged others from making best use of their natural store of Self-Assurance or Belief.
Visualising our own communication habits against a “clockface” or dial of possibilities, helps us to tap into underused potential. Reading the two-dimensional Projection Plot and the seven-dimensional Essence Plot in conjunction, provides a rich store of insights to guide self-development.
Why should this be relevant? The combination of persuasive skills, or any individual’s ability to command the benefit of the doubt and mobilise trust when objective data is not available to the audience, is a measure of what is commonly defined as personal charisma. Far from being unique to entertainers or public figures, charisma can be measured in our daily interactions and is a critical life success attribute.
However, experience tells us that human behavior simply does not conform in a static way to fixed psychological types. We behave in unexpected ways; we do unpredictable things. All of us show regular pulsation or range as we shift between opposing behaviour types.
So our next post will be third part of our answer to the question: “How does Communicate Charisma really work?” We’ll explain how the methodology also incorporates the rich store of human understanding gained since the original insights of Carl Jung. We’ll explain how discoveries in the field of Bio-energetics developed by Jung’s successors, led to the modern concept of behavioural Range in personality typing.
You can find out more about Communicate Charisma here.
**In the 1940s Jung’s original work on psychological types was adapted by Isabel Myers and her daughter Katherine Briggs to create a grid of sixteen possible types. These form the basis for the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality testing tool, to this day the gold standard of psychometric testing. (In 2004 it was estimated that around 90 per cent Fortune 100 companies used the MBTI for leadership development or team building).
Over the last 50 years, MBTI has drawn a considerable body of criticism from empirical researchers and psychologists who do not think that all individuals fit neatly into the 16 type descriptors, while others question its reliability upon repetition and susceptibility of users to the “Forer Effect” whereby individuals accept what are very generic observations, as being specific to them. Empiricists claim that human behaviour cannot be categorised around dichotomous or opposing preferences. What’s not doubted is that as part of feedback, all such tests foster increased sensitivity to behavioural issues that in turn can enhance performance. The key differences between MBTI and Communicate Charisma (which does not have just 16 type descriptors but — just like the hive architectural structure in the photo at the top of this article — has many thousands of variants because it embraces the principle of Range) are described in this article.