One of the most regular questions when learning to use the Process Communication Model was “why do I have to adapt?”
One of the insights of PCM is that people have a preference for specific types of words. It’s a choice of words that adds to expressing the way we perceive the world. If that’s for example by thinking about it and organizing and structuring our representation of what we see and experience, then it is quite natural for us to use a language that makes that visible by highlighting those analytical skills. In times when we step into imagining what the world could look like, then our language will reflect what we can see, feel and hear while imagining.
As people shift from one mode to the other they adapt to the task at hand. At the same time, they might also address the task out of their favorite perspective. Which can be confusing for others, especially when preferences don’t match.
Suggesting in the workshops that the person speaking should adapt his mode to the one preferred by his listener challenges participants. They have a sense of giving up their preferences for the other. It’s the human desire that their surroundings should adapt to them. It’s the hope that they will be the ones welcomed and confirmed.
And there is validity to that. No one has to be the one constantly adapting to the other. That doesn’t work and puts off people.
However, when it comes to making change happen, then there are many reasons to help the other see the suggested change and decide if it’s for them. That happens by finding the place where they are and the language they understand best. It happens by translating our expertise, imagination, and competence into a metaphor that resonates with them. One that makes it easy to see the choice and the options. One that removes the superfluous clutter allowing for confusion.
The choice we have is to try to persuade or to help them find what is relevant for them.
The way they engage will show the difference.