Following up on the blog from last Wednesday in which I discussed the difference between an introvert or extrovert, the next area of differences in people’s thinking is how they choose to receive information. Knowing this difference and being able to identify it in yourself and others can result in truly being heard or quickly being dismissed. When we assume (you remember what that word can stand for) that everyone would naturally want to receive information the same way we do, it often results in frustration and feelings of not being heard or valued. That is why it is important to consider the next level of differences when trying to get your point across to others.
Some of us determine the value of information and listen more deeply when it is presented in a cause-and-effect approach, a more pragmatic, analytic approach. This has been labeled as a Sensing preference. Specific facts, are like magnets to people who prefer hearing new information discussed or presented in a clear, concise, practical manner and it gets their attention. They process the information in their brains and consider it carefully weighing the pros and cons. You can identify these folks by observing the questions they ask…do they consistently ask specific questions dealing with practical importance? For instance, how long do you want the paper to be, what specifics do I need to do to get an ‘A’ or how long do you expect this appliance to last? They are searching for the facts of the situation. When they are asked to demonstrate their creativity, they do so by ADAPTING strategies that are familiar to them to figure out the new or unknown circumstance.
The other mental preference is called Intuitive. These are people who seek knowledge and complexity of information. They are imaginative, intellectual and just seem to have a mental focus on the future. Do they want facts along the way? Of course, however they do not need to see them clearly laid out ahead of time to decide that ‘this is the way to go for now.’ Their choose to discover new ideas and make ‘intuitive leaps of understanding’ because it just feels right at the moment. This preference is so strong that it drives them to explore the ‘what if’ rather than stay in a more comfortable state of ‘what is.’ Being more abstract, they are drawn to goals, models and ideas that can frame a project but prefer to have others do the ‘plug and chug’ for completion of the process.
As you can see there are major differences between the Sensing and Intuitive preferences which can cause major challenges in communication. When you apply these differences in preferences to people who you rub shoulders with everyday it helps others to ‘hear’ what you are saying and take notice.
To recap from the blog on Wednesday, you are first and foremost either an introvert (getting energy from observing, learning and thinking about your inner world of thoughts and ideas) or an extrovert who receives energy from people and involvement in external events. Now it’s time to decide over the next few days whether you are a Sensing or Intuitive type of thinker to add to your tool chest of understanding self and others.
Just remember, we can and do go back and forth occasionally between these differences but as individuals we have strong preferences in communication just as we have a preference of being right or left handed.
Next Wednesday’s blog will take us further down the rabbit hole to determine if we prefer the Thinking or Feeling approach for communication. Stay tuned!
Have a great few days!