If good communication oils the wheels of business, bad communication clogs them up.
When you fail to convey your meaning clearly, misunderstandings arise, time (that most precious of commodities) is wasted and tempers flare.
More often than not, crooked communication comes from crooked thinking. Good communication lies at the heart of good leadership. And leaders must lead by example.
Whether it’s Lumina Spark, Lumina Emotion, Lumina Team, or Lumina Sales, we’re here to help.
- Find out how you prefer to communicate.
- ‘Development areas?’ Blind spots? Lumina Learning’s smart data and traits-not-types model will put you right, giving you a deeper understanding of personality, behaviour and emotion.
Lumina Spark (thanks in large part to its 24 Qualities, 8 Aspects and 3 Personas) holds up a mirror of understanding to self and others. The wealth of insights we glean about ourselves and others help us to speak, write and convey our meaning in an effective, emotionally intelligent manner.
Spark Coach – one of the simplest and most effective methods you can learn to become a master communicator.
Speed-reading – instant intel on your personality, better communication in minutes.
Speed Reading in the Lumina Splash app asks you to answer between 16 and 24 questions about your personality. After answering the questions, you will receive a visual representation of your personality called a Splash. It’s the perfect introduction to the Lumina Experience, an hors d’oeuvre, as it were, before the sumptuous repast that is the Lumina Spark questionnaire, an empirically validated personality assessment which is fast becoming the 21st century’s psychometric of choice. Not only does it use smart data, but it also presents that data in a way that is by turns intuitive, elegantly simple and easy on the eye.
From Heineken to the NHS, from x to y, top businesses and organisations around the world are increasingly turning to Lumina Learning’s model to raise self-awareness, reveal hidden potential, thrive under pressure, level up leadership, supercharge teamwork and improve communication.
The Lumina Team Viewer visualises how personality, preferences and communication differ among individuals in teams. It will shine a light on how your people prefer to communicate. Armed with this knowledge, it is much easier to see their strengths, build rapport and nip potential conflict in the bud.
Personality and the way one communicates are inextricably linked. To quote Marshall McLuhan’s oft-quoted dictum, ‘The medium is the message’. Language (the medium) influences how the message (what is said) is perceived and understood.
For language is never neutral.
Yet it is tempting to conceive of language as a pane of glass through which thought is simply and effortlessly given form in words and where input equals output exactly.
But the truth is that something happens between thought and word. But what is the nature of that something? The answer is complex. Philosophers throughout the ages have been much exercised by it. Suffice it to say, there are many things can get in the road of pellucid communication, not least the nature of language itself.
Ferdinand de Saussure, the founder of modern linguistics famously said, “There are only differences without positive terms.”
For Saussure, there are no objects (words/texts/others) that carry inherent, ‘positive’ meaning; there are only points of view whose meanings depend on their interrelatedness. It follows, therefore, that one can never arrive at a final meaning. It must be continually deferred.
Saussure divided the sign into two concepts ‘signifier’ and signified’. Signifier: any material thing that signifies, e.g. words on a page, a facial expression, an image. Signified: the concept that a signifier refers to. Together, the signifier and signified make up the Sign: the smallest unit of meaning.
The French Post-structuralists of the 1960s such as Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes, to name but two, took issue with the tenets of structuralism. They questioned the notion that meaning is stable and maintained that reality is constructed through language. Hence Derrida’s famous dictum: “Il n’y a pas de hors-texte.” (There is nothing outside the text).
The Semiotics of Personality
Between the signifier and signified lies a shadowland of allusion and illusion. Signs must be encoded and decoded so that they be parsed. Just as a number of stars produces a constellation, so a number of signs produces a system of signs and there is a sense in which one’s personality functions as a system of signs. Semiotics provides us with a method for the analysing of personality. For our purposes, a ‘text’ shall be defined as any message preserved in a form whose existence is independent of both sender and receiver. Whether all aspects of personality when expressed are fully independent of either the sender or receiver is a moot point, but this definition, though not without its problems, will serve for the present.
Verbal language, for example, can be regarded as a system, but it is by no means the only one. Body-language, use of language, tone of voice, idiom, gait, clothes, all obey the same logic. The one constant is that personality is refracted like a beam of light through all these cues or to use the appropriate Saussurian term, signifiers.
These sign systems serve as it were a transmitter system whereby behaviour and personality are ‘transmitted’, consciously or unconsciously, to the receiver who, on the strength of the information received, makes certain assumptions about a person and his or her main traits. When a person sets out to explain or convey an idea, express an opinion or exchange information, they will do so in different ways, determined by context, mood, habit, convention and audience. This is not to say we are chameleons changing colour on a whim. The truth is that, inevitably, we all have preferred ways of communicating.
This somewhat rarefied digression may seem prima facie to have little relevance to the cut and thrust of business communication. We beg to differ. Semiotics (the study of signs) has much to teach business and psychology. Whether it is how we make meaning, to shaping of brand identity, from how we decode big data or study behaviour, semiotic thinking matters for business.
We all have blind spots in communication. Much can be lost in translation. A busy office is a place seldom conducive to thought and dashing off an email or writing a report; it is all too easy to go awry. A vague phrase here, a poorly worded brief and jargon-laden email can have far reaching consequences. We as a civilisation place a great deal of emphasis on speed (particularly in Western countries) that inevitably the quality of written communication suffers) This obsession with doing things at breakneck speed does not always serve us well. Add to this the clash of personalities, office politics and the stress. No wonder the quality of communication suffers.
But help is at hand.
Quite simply, Lumina Spark gives you the gift of insight into your own personality. It enables you not only to look through the window, but at the glass in the window. In other words, it helps you reflect on the tiny space between stimulus and response, between thought and language. This knowledge sets you free.