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December 7, 2004
Applying Concepts of Personality Typing in Everyday Business ... Also, Extroverts Are Not Bloggers?
Topic: 1) General Management
As a management consultant and general management practitioner, I find it useful to apply concepts stemming from personality typing to everyday business and sales communications. I typically apply a subset of the personality typing framework known as Myers-Briggs typing (more detail here).

In the Myers-Briggs typology, there are 4 dimensions of classification, although I will only address one here. It is the (E)xtrovert versus (I)ntrovert designation. The common misconception of these classifications stems from fact that in everyday use of the English language, extroverts are thought of as "social butterflies" and whereas introverts are though of as people who crawl into holes when approached by other life forms.

Not so. In Myers-Briggs, the E versus I designation refers to how people are energized and *how people process information*. There are many examples of people that are social butterflies but test strongly as introverts under the Myers-Briggs system. These I-type social butterflies are exhausted after networking at parties whereas the E-type social butterflies are dying for more after a party.

So you may ask why does any of this matter? A corollary is that extrovert types, since they are energized externally, process information out in the open. The thought process is literally in front of their faces as you talk with them. They think out loud. They sometimes say things they regret because the thought process is out in the open. They do not process written information very well. Their thought process and brain is literally outside of their head when they communicate. They may say, "let's talk this though" or they may just want to brainstorm in real-time as opposed to exchanging information via email. On the other end of the spectrum, introvert types have a thought process that tends to be internal. When you speak with these people, they tend not to think out loud. You can see such people internally taking the information inside their head while they think about something. They may even need to get back to you and/or see written information before responding to you.

Most management consultants and business managers tend to test as "ENTJ" types. The E refers to extrovert. That said, not all of these people are E-types. Not all of the workers in an organization are E-types either. It is important to look for indicators or even float trial balloons to see what type of person it is that you are dealing with and adapt one's communication style to the target. It may mean using more phone calls and face-to-face with certain people. It may mean more written information with others. It may require different sales closing techniques. It should also be noted that the Myers-Briggs typing does not mean one will always behave a certain way. The classifications are just natural tendencies, and how a person behaves day-to-day may be situational.

Now you may ask how does this relate to blogging? As an ENTJ-type that tests borderline on the E/I dimension, I think I have an interesting perspective here because I consciously try to use a very balanced communication style. I personally feel that blogging, while it encourages networking, is a technology that is biased towards introverts and discriminates against extroverts. This even includes consideration of moblogging (mobile blogging) and other augmentation mechanisms currently in the market. The fact that everything is generally written down in blogs leads me to this hypothesis.

So if blogging is to reach its full potential in the business and management consulting areas, it seems likely that some consideration will need to be made about the impedance mismatch.

Steve Shu
Managing Director
S4 Management Group

Posted by sshu-s4 (c) S4 Management Group LLC at 2:27 PM CST
Updated: December 9, 2004 2:27 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink

December 8, 2004 - 9:37 AM CST

Name: Darren

Along the same lines, INFP can have ESTJ personalities also.

December 8, 2004 - 10:21 AM CST

Name: Steve Shu
Home Page:

Good point and interesting link. The first time I saw Myers-Briggs stuff, I pooh-poohed it. Then one day, I suddenly woke up to something that I could apply to everyday life. While it is not something that I apply regularly in everyday life, I do know people that have mastered the Tao of MB and apply the concepts very regularly.


December 8, 2004 - 4:57 PM CST

Name: B. Beck

Happy Birthday, Steve and Suzanne!


December 8, 2004 - 4:57 PM CST

Name: B. Beck

Happy Birthday, Steve and Suzanne!


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