What is PCM?

We are in constant contact with other human beings. Our radar instantly detects and locks onto another person’s mood, intentions and way of communication. Our default style of communication is not necessarily the other person’s style. For example, the way that you ask for salt at the dinner table could determine if the salt is politely passed to you, or thrust in your general direction:

  • Could you please pass the salt?
  • Bob, pass me the salt, please.
  • This chicken is lovely Jenny, but it needs a little more seasoning.
  • Throw us the white stuff, babe.

Saying something to someone in a way that they struggle to hear can result in awkwardness at best, and utter rejection at worst.

Process Communication Model® (PCM) is a communication tool that teaches people how to recognise these subtle preferences in themselves and those around them. It is no good speaking English to a Mexican, just as it is no good asking questions to someone who prefers to be given direction.

Sometimes it feels like our cogs are humming along nicely and the world is a lovely place. But other times, life gets in the way and the spokes to our cogs can grind to a halt or spin right out of control! It is the management of each of these scenarios that is the key – how do I stay up, bright and perky, and if I am down, how do I get back up?

The Process Communication Model® ties together personality factors, communication styles, motivations, psychological needs and patterns of distress.

The model can accurately explain and predict what distress looks like for each person, how to engage them in motivating tasks (some people respond well to jumping out of a plane with a parachute and Go Pro, whereas others are satisfied with doing well on a work project, and others still feel refreshed after a luxurious massage), and how to communicate with individuals in such a way as to keep them in a positive headspace.

Process is the key in communication.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

How did PCM evolve?

PCM has evolved from a concept developed in Dr Taibi Kahler’s undergraduate days at Purdue University, to now being a leading communication and management tool taught to millions of people worldwide, and often highlighted in business management and customer service training programmes. Dr Taibi Kahler’s Clinical Psychology degree enabled him to discover a process involved in verbal communication.

By Dr Kahler’s careful analysis of speech patterns he was able to propose a six-factor personality structure within each individual, which could assess, describe and predict both positive and negative behaviour. This discovery was extended to a clinical process for rapid psychological diagnosis, which won Dr Kahler the 1977 Eric Berne Memorial Scientific Award (kind of like the Oscars for Psychologists).

Growing momentum.

Dr Kahler’s PCM theory has been enhanced over the years and is used in a variety of sectors today. Business and government agencies around the world are jumping on board this communication tool to assist with personnel selection, placement, and motivation, as well as office and customer management. Accurately determining the personality and potential of recruits and workers can help businesses in devising strategies that will best equip personnel with effective management skills.


In 1978, NASA invited Dr Kahler to demonstrate the efficiency of his model in the astronaut selection process. After comparing notes on several candidates NASA’s Lead Psychiatrist for Manned Space Flight, Dr Terry McGuire, hired Dr Kahler, commenting that a “process” approach revealed as much about a candidate in 10 minutes as a “content” interview of several hours. Dr Kahler continued to work with NASA for almost two decades, translating his concepts into what is now the Process Communication Model®, a non-clinical model for personality assessment, communication and management for businesses and individuals that UP Communication offers in its communication skills training programmes.

Businessman knocking on interview room door concept for recruitment or medical checkup with a consultant

As a result of Dr Kahler’s involvement, the Process Profile Inventory (PPI) has been incorporated into the astronaut selection, evaluation, training, and management processes since the 1980’s.

PCM allows speedy assessment for effective hiring.

“Our mission statement is to significantly improve people’s lives.”
-Dr Taibi Kahler


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