There Must Be Some Misunderstanding: Leveraging Personality Type for Effective Communication

The Myers-Briggs theory teaches that we each have preferred ways of communicating. But our preferences may not be the best way of making the message clear to the audience. When writing, we have the luxury of editing what we wrote. Not so in speech. Either way, misunderstanding can ensue when we don’t adequately consider the needs of our audience.

Sensing vs. Intuition

Often, preference isn’t about what we do, but the order in which we do it. For instance, when I’m writing a scene for a novel, I start with the dialogue. Once that’s in place, I’ll add gestures, facial expressions, and movement. Setting and sensory detail come last, because sensing is my inferior function. That part of the scene doesn’t have meaning for me until the rest of the scene is in place.

But the setting elements of the scene must come first for the reader. Readers can’t immerse themselves in the scene until they know when and where it’s taking place, and which characters are there. Is the environment light or dark, quiet or noisy? Are the characters happy, angry, or frightened?

So, too, in spoken communication, Continue reading “There Must Be Some Misunderstanding: Leveraging Personality Type for Effective Communication”

Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 3: Introverts

In my last post, I discussed how the natural blind spots of extraverts can create conflict on teams. Here, I explore the blind spots of introverts based on the dominant function of their Myers-Briggs personality type.

Introverted thinking (INTP/ISTP) values knowledge. Dominant introverted thinking expects people to focus on objective data when making decisions. It views personal considerations as illogical and unpredictable, and therefore not a sound basis for reaching conclusions.

Introverted thinking types naturally assume
that logic-based insights can stand on their own, requiring no explanation or defense. By looking beyond this assumption, Continue reading “Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 3: Introverts”

Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 2: Extraverts

In my last post, I wrote about how the natural blind spots of different personality types can create conflict on teams. Here, I explore the blind spots of extraverts based on the dominant function of their Myers-Briggs personality type.

Extraverted thinking (ENTJ/ESTJ) values logic. Dominant extraverted thinking expects people to act and make decisions based on objective data. It views personal considerations as biased, and therefore doesn’t trust them.

Extraverted thinking types naturally assume
Continue reading “Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 2: Extraverts”

Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 1: Team Building

How do you introduce the concept of personality type to a group that’s resistant?

I was asked that question when I spoke about Building Effective Teams Using the Myers-Briggs Personality Types at the Technical Communication Summit ’10 in Dallas, TX. An audience member asked whether focusing on blind spots would be a good place to start.

Blind spots are assumptions so deeply ingrained in our personalities that we’re unaware they exist. They can make us less effective and even generate conflict on work teams. So how do we overcome something when we don’t know it exists?
Continue reading “Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 1: Team Building”