I’m currently taking MBA courses, which are ostensibly not a waste of my time. However, this past week I attended the first of five sessions on the subject of business communication and I think I left a little dumber than when I arrived.
Communication is usually an interesting subject for me because it’s one of the few business courses that involves psychology, which is more interesting than say…accounting. I feel the same way about marketing classes because it is interesting to try to get into the mind of your target audience and predict to what they will respond. (It’s also interesting to observe some of the stuff they actually respond to, but I digress.)
This communication class started with the instructor administering a test that claimed to guage our communication styles. So, on our first day of class we were all categorized. The different styles were Noble, Socratic, Reflective, Magistrate, Candidate, & Senator (they’re not even parallel – some of them are adjectives and others are nouns. Again, I digress). So, on my first day of class, after a five minute test, I was labeled a Magistrate. Here’s a little of the description:
The Magistrate is:
– Direct and straightforward, but also analytical and verbose
– Tactful, but honest
– Avoids absolute and categorical statements
– Is concerned with the bottom line, but also with details
– Has an affinity for words, but also uses nonverbal gestures
Oh my god – that is so me! I felt like I was reading a horoscope.
Then I read a little about the Reflective, which supposedly has nothing in common with the Magistrate. The Magistrate has traits of both the Noble and the Socratic, but not the Reflective.
– Cares about human feelings
– Believes that communication should be polite and conflict-free
– Uses verbal and nonverbal reinforcers
– Avoids absolute statements
– Tends to be a patient listener
Oh my god – that is also so me!
Next we had to divide into groups to complete exercises that involved buying into the fact that you WERE a certain type. I connected to my “type” in the same way I connect to being a Taurus (which hindered my performance in the group). I kept thinking – are they serious? There are an INFINITE number of ways to categorize people – horoscopes, Meyers-Briggs, the Enneagram, and this brilliant test being only a handful of examples.
Here’s an absolute and categorical statement from this Magistrate:
The study of human behavior is interesting, but the assignment of labels is too arbitrary and simplistic.