In Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Outliers, the author writes:

“Western communication has what linguists call a” transmitter orientation, “that is, it is considered the responsibility of the speaker to communicate ideas clearly and unambiguously … But Korea, like many Asian countries, is receiver-oriented. The listener must make sense of what is being said. “P. 216

As far as the 6 innate perception styles are concerned, there is a blockage that I have seen time and again regarding the communication between the styles of activity and flow, and I think this concept can explain it.

The activity is clearly transmitter-oriented, as people with this style use a lot of contextual information to make sure the receiver understands what is being communicated. People with the Flow style, on the other hand, use a subtle and nuanced combination of words that requires the listener to work to fully understand what is being conveyed.

Unfortunately, this difference in orientation is a conflict scenario no matter in which direction the communication is moving.

When Activity is talking to Flow, Flow quickly interprets the meaning of the message and may get bored and / or offended by what they perceive as excessive verbiage from Activity.

When Flow is talking to Activity, Activity loses much of the meaning that Flow intended because Flow’s nuanced choice of words is lost in Activity (which is waiting for context). Activity is often irritated by what they perceive as partial Flow communication.

Reflecting on the concept of communicative orientation in relation to the Styles of Perception, I realized that there is a clear delineation between the six Styles of Perception.

Three of the six (Activity, Vision, and Goals) are transmitter-oriented, while the other three (Methods, Settings, and Flow) are receiver-oriented. Within each group of three, each perception style uses orientation a little differently and with different intentions, but the orientation is the same.

Here’s how it breaks down by perceptual style, based on the communication characteristics unique to that style.

Transmitter Orientations:

• The activity makes sure to provide broad context when speaking and offers multiple examples through anecdotes that illustrate its point. This is to make sure there is a strong connection and that you are ‘with me’.

• Vision uses persuasive and inspiring language to paint a picture of what they want you to understand. This is to make sure you are excited, signed up, and ‘accept my perspective’.

• Goals issues directives and orders and requires feedback to ensure that the listener clearly understands. This is to make sure there is no ambiguity and that you ‘understand what I want you to do’.

The receiver’s orientations:

• Methods provide information in a practical way that requires the listener to gather the data himself. This is because the correct conclusion is obvious for this style and ‘you should draw the same conclusion as me’.

• Settings provides detailed, complete, and accurate information that shows the elegance of the topic, but requires the listener to provide context for its relevance. This is because ‘I should be intrigued by the sophistication and complexity of what I am sharing’.

• The flow speaks in generalities, employing subtleties and nuances that allow the listener a maximum margin of response to keep the conversation going, but this also requires the listener to declare preferences, needs and desires. This is because ‘we’ve connected and you should care enough to understand my undeclared intent.’

All of which underscores the fact that, to be effective communicators, we need to understand our own perception style (and how to make adjustments for each of the other five styles).

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