Strengths Coaching Blog

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Communication

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min




“That reminds me of a story….” So begins many conversations with those high in Communication. The Communication theme likes to talk, describe, explain, host, tell stories, speak in public. Individuals with Communication in their top five are verbally influential, and rarely have trouble coming up with just the right word or the perfect metaphor to illustrate and animate their point. Those with strong Communication talents paint the picture with words so that others can vividly see what they are describing. They are good conversationalists, and can strike up a conversation with just about anyone.As this theme matures, Communication is not only a good talker, but a good listener as well – true communication is a two-way street and the give and take of genuine conversation is essential to both understanding and being understood.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I look at the differences and similarities between Communication and Woo, Intellection, and Positivity.


Communication and Woo

Communication and Woo (Winning Others Over) often show up together in an individual’s Top Five. Both are influencing themes, and both have an outgoing, social aspect to them.  While Woo is about social influence, Communication is about verbal influence. Both are about connection – Woo connects with others through breaking the ice and taking the first step; Communication connects with others through finding the right words – either making the initiative or responding to the outreach of another. Woo finds energy in meeting new people; Communication finds energy in talking to new people. For Woo the thrill is in the meeting, and for Communication the thrill is in the ensuing conversation. If the conversation is stimulating, those high in Communication will continue with the same person for hours – while a person high in Woo will get antsy after a while and start looking for someone else to meet.

Communication and Intellection

In many ways, Communication and Intellection are opposites. Communication is externally energized and Intellection is internally energized.  Communication comes to clarity around ideas by talking them through --  those high in Communication always seem to be seeking out others to “bounce some ideas” off them or “let me talk this idea through” with; they “think out loud.” By contrast, those high in Intellection need to “think things through” before talking about their ideas, and need time alone to think.  Individuals high in Communication tend to like group brainstorming sessions where they can think out loud and be stimulated by the ideas of others, while individuals high in Intellection would prefer to have some prep time to think things through before coming to a brainstorming session so they can present their best ideas.  Communication learns best when talking to others; Intellection learns best when alone and quiet.

Communication and Positivity

As is the case with Woo, Positivity tends to show up very close to Communication in an individual’s Theme Sequence Report.  In fact, this trio tends to show up either in pairs with one of the others or all three together. Communication and Positivity share many similarities, but also have some differences as well.  While Communication is about verbal influence, Positivity is about emotional influence – even though it is primarily a relationship building theme.  Positivity lifts and lightens the emotions of others, not necessarily through words alone. Communication stirs the emotions of others through words, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. Positivity needs to laugh, smile, and hope. Communication needs to talk, tell, and explain. Those high in Positivity see the glass as always half full; those high in Communication can tell an intriguing story about the glass and how it came to hold such an amazing and interesting concoction – and who drank half of it.


Be sure to catch up on Season One and Season Two of Theme Thursday-Communication to learn more!


Albert L. Winseman, D.Min., is a Senior Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup. Al brings deep expertise in employee and customer engagement, executive leadership and organizational dynamics to his consulting work with Gallup’s clients. He consults with senior leaders, executives and front-line managers to improve employee and customer engagement and to implement strategic initiatives that drive business growth.

Al's top 5 strengths are: Ideation | Futuristic | Maximizer | Strategic | Command

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