The collective unconscious is a tenet of modern psychology attributed to Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung. The collective unconscious refers to the unconscious mind shared by all of humanity. It is composed of archetypes, which are simple representations of universal figures and relationships. Archetypes are a concept that relate to models of people, behaviors, or personalities. In Jungian psychology, we have inborn tendencies that play a role in influencing human behavior.
Jung believed that the human psyche was composed of three components: the ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. According to Jung, the ego represents the conscious mind while the personal unconscious contains memories, including those that have been suppressed. The collective unconscious is a unique component in that Jung believed that this part of the psyche served as a form of psychological inheritance. It contained all of the knowledge and experiences we share as a species.
The workplace can be a fascinating microcosm of human behavior. No doubt, you’ve been to a lot of presentations. After a while, they all sort of sound the same, don’t they? That’s the collective unconscious at work. Another reason they seem similar is that most speakers fall into one of these six archetypes:
Vaudevillian. The vaudevillian is funny. He puts on a show. People love the vaudevillian, even if there isn’t a lot of meat to what he has to say. The vaudevillian is smart, because he recognizes the universal truth about success—80% of it is about the image you create, and only 20% of it is what you say.
King of Ummm. Need I, um, explain? Um, this type of presenter, um, makes me, um, want to uh start a tick sheet and tracking the uh/um usage. What do we retain from the King’s speech? Ummmmm.
Slide Reader. Stares at the screen and reads the slides. The worst. Zzzzzzzz.
Fancy Pants. Heavy on the graphics within the presentation, lots of slide transitions, and sometimes it is scored with a musical composition, like Star Wars. When Fancy Pants’s embedded video won’t play, panic ensues.
Detective Friday. This is the person whose presentation is heavy on the charts and graphs. Detective Friday has no sense of humor, and betrays no humanity. He is about Just the Facts. Not surprisingly, Detective Friday is often a finance person.
Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. Matt is impassioned. He lives and breathes it. He wants YOU to succeed, because that way WE ALL succeed. In spite of living in a van down by the river, Matt believes that we can unlock the achievement within all of us.
The bottom line:
Who do you want to be? You know you want to be able to relate, but you don’t want to simply be the entertainment. Focus on your core message, work on relating it to your audience, and then massage your presentation so that you are engaging and not boring!