Broadcasting and Narrowcasting
The Transmitting domain is a cluster of instinctual behaviors that increase our ability to attract and bond with others. To help make sense of the domain, I usually break it down into three subcategories:
- Impressing, and
In this post, I want to focus on the first subcategory, future blogs will address the other two. (For a brief overview of the three instinctual biases, go to www.AboutTheEnneagram.com.)
Frequently, this instinctual bias is referred to as a “one-to-one instinct,” a term I find to be highly archaic and problematic.* This term causes people to focus too much on the “narrowcasting” aspect of the domain and not see, or misinterpret, a wide range of related behaviors.
Yes, people with a Transmitting bias are energized by intense one-to-one encounters, but the first thing you will notice about them is their tendency to broadcast—to non-consciously and habitually send out signals that will draw attention to themselves. Much like a peacock instinctually letting out a loud caw and spreading its feathers, those with a Transmitting instinctual bias tend to be more noticeable because of their appearance and attire, their high-energy or intensity, and their apparent extroversion.**
These behaviors are akin to a radio station broadcasting a signal–the same way my local public radio station sends out a signal from its tower indiscriminately and in all directions. I can tune in or not. My choice has no effect on the radio broadcast.
Likewise, Transmitters (often non-consciously) send out signals for all to see or hear—they broadcast. But unlike my local radio station, Transmitters change when they realize that their signal has been tuned into by someone—they switch from broadcast mode to narrowcast mode, homing in on the receiver with great precision and working to deepen the connection.
At this point they turn from my local public radio station to my Amazon Alexa—their focus becomes the individual or individuals who are on the same frequency and they lose interest in others. When I ask Alexa to play, say, Charles Mingus or Miles Davis, she is playing just for me—no one else is receiving the same message at the same time.
Of course, Transmitters are often flipping back and forth from broadcasting to narrowcasting. They broadcast until they find a receiver and switch to narrowcasting, but then go back to broadcasting when the receiver loses interest or becomes uninteresting. They may not even realize they are doing this switching, which is why this domain is so misunderstood and frequently mislabeled.
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*This domain is more likely a cluster of evolutionary adaptations than a single “instinct.” Further, the term “one-to-one” frequently leads many with a Preserving bias to misidentifying themselves as having this bias and many with a Transmitting bias to not see it in themselves.
**Yes, the Ennea-type or preferred strategy, shapes the expression of these behaviors. Transmitting Sevens, for example, who are striving to feel excited, will seem more extroverted