Tag Archives: MBTI

The Perceiver’s ability to handle problems with ease and other facts about Perceivers

Cat eating food

And a story about my daughter and cat food.

When my oldest daughter was a toddler she had a tendency to stick dried cat food up her nose. The first time she did it it was no big deal. I simply fished it out with tweezers and then asked my frantic wife what we were having for dinner.

The second time, however, my wife insisted we bring her to the emergency room, where we waited a solid hour until we were seen by a doctor. (By then, the cat food had puréed and was running out of her nose.)

The doctor was nonchalant about this “emergency.” He took one look at the situation and excused himself  (I suppose to laugh at the young couple who brought their child to a emergency room to have cat food extracted from their daughter’s nose).

He returned approximately 20 seconds later with a paperclip, which he unfolded while humming all the while. Gently he stuck the U-shaped part of the paperclip up our daughter’s nose and pulled the gooey mess out.

I don’t know who was more embarrassed;  my wife for insisting that we bring our daughter to the emergency room, or me for giving in to her demand. “I didn’t want you to stick the tweezers into her brain,” my wife said as she held our daughter in her arms on the way to the car.

What does this story have to do with the Perceiver on one of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator’s spectrum, which contains those who prefer the dichotomies Judging or Perceiving? The doctor demonstrated the calm nature of the Perceiver.

Often times we focus mainly on introversion and introversion the first two dichotomies and not enough on the last two, Judging and Perceiving. This fourth preference pair describes how you like to live your outer life.

On the Judger/Perceiver spectrum,  my wife is a J. This is a good thing because she organizes the family affairs. I, on the other hand, am an off the chart P, which means I’m more likely to handle problems with more ease than the Js.

I once shared an office with a J who was the epitome of organization. She would remind me of workshops I had to do everyday, and I would say, “I remember, Ellen.” Ps aren’t that disorganized.

To add to my role in our working relationship, I would calmly handle any issues she had with, say her computer, or I would calmly tell her not to worry about the size of her workshops—for me the larger number the better. We Ps handle problems in stride.

She was an interesting J, extremely organized. I would walk in the morning of my workshop without having set up the night before, whereas she would have everything prepared; all the paperwork to hand out; the name tags set up (I don’t use name tags); her station organized to include exactly four Starburst candy, a warm mug of water, not cold, and four paper napkins.

How do my workshops go, you may wonder. If the majority of my marks are “Excellent,” I guess that’s a good indication of how well I do. Ps want to succeed as much as Js; we just do it differently. Another great trait of the Ps is spontaneity. This is why none of my workshops are exactly the same, another reason why my marks are very high. “Bob makes things interesting,” is a common comment on my evals.

One thing we are known to do is procrastinate. (Read my post on the curse of Perceivers.) We’re not proud of this. Many years ago I had to install a screen door on our house. After a week of patiently waiting, my wife put her foot down and told me to “get it done.”

A Judger probably would have had that screen door attached the day after the screen was ripped by our upstairs tenants. He would have written it on his calendar and made a list before going to Home Depot. The screen door eventually was attached to our house, which was a proud moment for me, but an irritant for my wife.

I’m glad the doctor extracted the cat food from my daughter’s nose with such precision and that I didn’t pierce her brain with tweezers (my wife and I still argue about the likelihood of that happening). Was the doctor a Perceiver? Who knows. All I know is that his calmness reminded me of my preference for perceiving and how proud I am to be a P.

Photo: Flickr, Trond Hagheim Kristensen

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8 awesome traits of the introvert

I wrote this post more than a year ago but have since added another strong trait of the introvert. 

When I ask my Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) workshop attendees if they think I’m an introvert or extravert, they usually guess wrong. “But you’re so lively and loud,” they say.

What do they expect from me, Dawn of the Living Dead?

Many people don’t see the eight awesome traits introverts demonstrate. Here they are:

1. The ability to speak in public is the first of eight awesome traits the introverts demonstrate. Those of my attendees who guess wrong about my preference believe that to be an effective speaker, one must be an extravert.

They see my outward personality as an extraverted trait. I don’t blame them for guessing wrong, because society has been under the impression that showmanship belongs exclusively to the extraverts.

2. You want a sincere conversation? You’ll get it with introverts. Our thing is not more is better, as in the number of people with whom we speak. No, we prefer talking with fewer people and engaging in deeper conversation. You’ll know we’ll give you our undivided attention. It’s helpful if we’re interested in the topic.

3. We think before we speak. Dominating a meeting is not our style; we favor something akin to Parliamentary Procedure. That doesn’t mean we don’t have intelligent things to say; we just don’t like to compete with the extraverts who learn by talking.

The problem with our method of communicating is we might not get the opportunity to get our brilliant thoughts out in the open.

4. We rule when it comes to research. We learn best by researching topics on our own and, as such, prefer the computer over dialog. Extraverts learn best by throwing around ideas among their colleagues and friends. We find staff meetings unproductive unless there’s an agenda and some sense of order. Brainstorming is usually a waste of time to us.

5. We hear you the first time. We’re considered great listeners. But we don’t appreciate being talked at. We’re perceptive so you don’t need to stress your point with 10 minutes of nonstop talking. You don’t like caviar, you say. And you had a bad experience eating it when you were a child. Got it.

6. We love to write. Writing is our preferred mode of communication, but this doesn’t mean we’re incapable of talking. We just don’t have the capacity to talk from sunrise to sunset. Writing allows us to formulate our thoughts and express them eloquently. There’s no denying, however, that our workplace favors those who talk; so there are times when we put down the pen and let our voice be heard.

7. We’re just as creative as the next person. Our creative juices flow from solitude, not open spaces where people throw Nerf footballs, eat cookies, and attend wrap sessions until 10:00 pm. If you see us working intently in our offices or cubicles, we’re usually enjoying “moments,” so don’t break our concentration. Nothing personal; we’ll join you at the pool table when our work is completed.

8. We can stand being alone. We don’t need constant attention from others; rather we enjoy the time to think and reflect on life in general. Some might consider this as standoffish, but those are people who require a great deal of stimuli and don’t understand the beauty of Quiet (watch Susan Cain’s YouTube video). We develop long-lasting friendships with fewer people, as deeper is better than broader. Don’t pity us if you have 20 friends and we have only five. We’re good with that.


My MBTI workshop attendees are not far off the mark when they guess I’m an extravert; I do have the ability to put on the Robin Williams act, or revert to a serious Bill Belichick persona. I put 100% into teaching the finer points of the job search, and as a result my exit from the room is quick and toward the stairway to where I can retreat to my computer.

Job Interview Success for Introverts: So, you’re an introvert

So, you’re an introvert

Book Cover

I was in my mid 40’s when I discovered my preference for introversion. Until then, I thought I was an extravert (extrovert), mainly because I could, and still can, talk with ease to complete strangers. Truth be told, I hoped that my preference was for extraversion, not introversion; simply because society favors extraverts in most aspects of life: school, work, social interaction, and the job search, to name a few. I doubted my acceptance and didn’t speak proudly of my preference until I learned more about the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory.

Do you remember when you learned your preference for introversion? Were you in doubt like me? Did you have a sense of dread thinking of the stereotypes of introverts, such as shy, loner, standoffish, aloof, recluse, or rude? Furthermore, you may have believed that introverts couldn’t make small talk or associate with important, outgoing people.

But if all of this were true, how were you capable of talking with complete strangers, even approaching them, or want to be with your peers and attend social gatherings? How was it that some of your friends accused you of talking too much? And how have you been able to rub elbows with authorities in your town or city, to make small talk with the best of them? You were behaving more like an extravert, weren’t you? No, you were behaving like an introvert, able to adapt to your setting, and doing all the things mentioned here were a result of your introversion.

Now being an introvert doesn’t seem so bad, does it? In fact, being an introvert has its benefits. You are an intelligent conversationalist. You think before talking and, therefore, don’t make as many faux pas as some of your extraverted friends and colleagues. You are an engaged listener who doesn’t think about what you’ll say next before totally hearing the other person out. Being alone doesn’t upset you; rather, you enjoy going to the movies alone and eating alone. Your friends and family can’t understand this. You love writing and do it well. There are many things about being an introvert that you appreciate, feel comfortable with, and wouldn’t want to change.

There are truths, though, that set introverts apart from extraverts; truths that put introverts at a disadvantage in life and the job search, especially at the all-important interview. Some of the strengths introverts possess can be faults, particularly when it comes to verbal communications. Talking, small talk to be precise, is a challenge for introverts because they feel the need to think before speaking, whereas extraverts will speak before thinking. Because of their inclination to think before talking, introverts are often left out of conversations.


Job Interview Success for Introverts is available at Packt Publishing

Procrastination: the curse of the Perceiver

I’m supposed to be writing a résumé for a customer but instead am sitting at Panera Bread at 8:30 pm checking my e-mail. After I check my e-mail, I’ll go to LinkedIn to see what my connections are up to. Most of my connections are connecting with others, some are posting articles, and others are  joining groups.

So I check if any of the articles are interesting. Cool, one of my connections  posted an article on…procrastination. Gotta check this out for sure. I read it and it’s a great article on how procrastination is not a desirable trait but not the end of the world.

One take-away for me is that one must avoid perfectionism, something I truly detest. I mean, if you can complete a task in one hour rather than three, all the better, even if the quality isn’t the best it possibly can be.

Another statement the author makes is that one’s way of not doing the important thing is to do something else. Like reading instead of completing their expense report before it’s due. In my case it’s perusing my e-mails instead of tending to this darn résumé I’m supposed to be writing.

My daughter recently took the MBTI for a psychology class she’ll be taking. She came out as an ENFP. When she told me, I told her she’s screwed. Why, Perceivers often tend to procrastinate even though they end up getting their work done. My wife and I are still waiting for her to complete a project she could have crossed off the list at the beginning of the summer. She’s a procrastinator for sure.

I often tell my MBTI workshop attendees that two very important dichotomies are Judging and Procrastinating…I mean Perceiving. Although we try to avoid harping on the stereotypes of each dichotomy, it is important to note that those who prefer Perceiving can have the tendency to procrastinate.

What this means in the job search is that Perceivers tend to produce and deliver their résumé, cover letter, and application later than those who prefer Judging. Those Judgers would never be turning to Twitter when they’re supposed to be writing a résumé. In some cases a Perceiver might fail to send in the necessary information and, thus, lose out on a potential interview.

I know for sure that the more demanding and more undesirable the work I have to do, the more I’ll tend to put it off till the 11th hour. I’m not racked with anxiety but, as you can tell, I am a bit uncomfortable having this assignment hanging over my head. So why don’t I just finish writing the résumé now, instead of waiting till the last moment? (Read this article about how difficult it is to “flex” between Perceiving and Judging.”

I’m much better at giving advice than following it. So I tell jobseekers who are having difficulty getting their résumé written to perfection to send in their best work when a deadline is looming. It doesn’t have to be perfect (because perfection doesn’t exist); it’s more important to get it in than miss the deadline.

The Judging types don’t understand this conundrum, as they’re prone to making lists and schedules and following their plans to a T. They wouldn’t be sitting at Panera Bread reading their e-mails and tweets, thinking of ways to avoid writing a darn résumé, wondering if a bagel is in order. No, they would be concerned about getting that résumé done and then ordering a bagel, which they’d eat in good conscience.

For all that’s great about preferring Perceiving, such as spontaneity, adaptability, a laid-back demeanor; it sometimes sucks procrastinating and putting undue anxiety on yourself. Take it from me.

Introvert tip – top 3 innate strengths for public speaking – guest writer, Patricia Weber

Public Speaking2Because I am a workshop facilitator and responsible for disseminating job search advice, I must be cognizant of how I deliver my workshops, not simply the content.

One of my favorite connections on LinkedIn and followers on Twitter, Pat Weber, has written a great article on how introverts can be effective public speakers because of their innate strengths. I have included it below in its entirety.

This communication tip is written by Patricia Weber for the readers of Communication Weekly.  Visit Weber’s website www.prostrategies.com.

The recent post,How to overcome the fear of public speaking, had me thinking about how introverts could take advantage of who we are naturally and begin to see themselves in another light.

Public speaking for anyone in business is one of the best ways to attract clients in your community. Workshops and presentations are ways to deliver your message that reaches many people at one time. When you hone your message what you will find for example is, if you get into one Rotary, other Rotary groups will add you to their speaker of the week agenda. When I left my company “job” in 1990 I didn’t realize introverts were hindered to use one of the best marketing tools available – public speaking. Hone your message to where it delivers valuable content, and then, people become interested in tracking you down to talk with them about what you really do. It’s client attraction at it’s best.

If you want to, you can eventually be a paid speaker. But let’s take public speaking for introverts and consider top three innate strengths we have for a solid foundation to make it work easily. Whether you are giving a company presentation,  or delivering a sales presentation or even found yourself in the enviable position of being asked to speak in front of a professional organization. Certainly we have more strengths but let’s start right here.

If you already believe introverts must be poor at public speaking because they lack the social skills, consider at least two things: first, as an introvert you already have many natural tendencies to be well-received on the platform and second, more demanding audiences today want to see evidence of this from the speakers they listen to.

#1 – Analytical tendencies are needed to prepare and present.

Know your audience, know your topic, be creative. Research of the audience and topic is naturally satisfying to introverts. Just as planning uses the front of the brain, introverts will find up front preparation adds to the success of a well-received presentation. When you are researching your topic, you’ll also be kick starting your creativity. Relax and savor your planning tendency. Audiences love prepared speakers just as they love the people who can speak eloquently extemporaneously. You can do this!

#2 – Listeners want you to say something important.

Audiences don’t want to hear small talk; they want to hear what is relevant for them. Yes; we might as introverts want to learn how to insert some humor, since it is something that bridges even the most serious, or dry topic, to where the listener wants to hear your message. Encourage participation to build the rapport between you and even just a few participants. And handling just those few potential difficult participants, well that is a must. But in the end, if you want a presentation score of 10 and a paycheck as a paid public speaker, our advantage of innately speaking only what is important, gets us 80% there.

#3 Be the observer, not the participant.

Introverts observe and listen before commenting. Speaking in public allows you the chance to observe, listen and then make a conscious decision of how to continue or which direction to go with a well-planned presentation. Just what are you observing for? How engaged is your audience? Are they taking notes, nodding their heads, asking questions? These are behaviors easy enough to – dare I say – do at the same time as you are speaking! With your intuition highly tuned, give yourself permission to observe the reaction of the audience to know if and when to make a presentation adjustment.
These are just a few introvert natural strengths; many extroverts have to learn these very characteristics. This means we already have a solid foundation for public speaking. Do we have to learn some other pieces? Of course; but that’s no different than anyone else needing to learn what they don’t have.

What do you think about bringing your strengths to the party of speaking in public? Are you willing? Because you are ready.

About Patricia Weber

Patricia Weber, www.prostrategies.com, leads and inspires the sales reluctant to discover their courage for that breakthrough for ultimate success. She is an internationally recognized expert on radio and in print as a Business Coach for Introverts.

Weber is a Coachville graduate, a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner and a two-time award winner of Peninsula Women’s Networker of the Year (only the second member in its 28 years to receive this award twice.)

– See more at: http://communicationweekly.com/2013/01/introvert-tip-top-3-innate-strengths-for-public-speaking-patricia-weber/#respond

We have more to talk about than introversion and extraversion

One thing that used to annoy me when my kids were young was when they’d ask me on Monday what we were doing for the upcoming weekend. The reason why this bugged me was because I had no idea what we were going to do, nor did I want to make plans—I wanted to take it as it came. Planning for an upcoming weekend takes a bit of organization and scheduling, none of which floats my boat.

I’ve often proudly stated that I’m an introvert. Now I’m here to tell all that I’m also a very clear perceiver. This explains my aversion to planning and also explains why I’m spontaneous and (in my own mind) exciting. Ergo my annoyance at constantly being asked by my lovely young children what we were going to do every weekend for 15 years.

You’d think that being a perceiver at work can be a detriment, as organization is essential to success. I totally agree that being organized is an essential skill. So I’m also here to tell you that I am organized, I do plan, and I follow a schedule…with intense concentration. Being a perceiver doesn’t mean one can’t practice the traits of a judger, those who are organized, need to plan, and follow a schedule, etc.

As one of the approximately 43% of the population that prefers perceiving, I’m surrounded by colleagues most of whom prefer judging. I envy their natural inclination toward organization, but I wouldn’t want to trade my natural strengths:

Spontaneity: I have the ability to walk into a room and deliver a workshop in hundreds of different ways (an exaggeration). If I’m bored with the presentation, I’ll go in a different direction. Now here’s the rub: on rare occasions my spontaneity will not work as I didn’t plan.

Adaptability: Oh my god, the projector blew a bulb. My manager decided to sit in on a workshop. My colleague is out and I have to take one of her workshops. More people showed up than expected. No problem. This is a great thing about perceivers, we don’t panic; we adapt.

Flexibility: Because I don’t particularly like to plan or live by a schedule—although I do—I love a variety of activities. I love a day when I have to drop working on a project to solve a problem that arrives or attend a meeting with the director of the organization or fill in for a colleague (related to adaptability). I therefore expect others to be flexible when I need some assistance.

Deadline driven: Yes we perceivers like to meet deadlines, but we don’t stress over them and drive others nuts about small details. I internalize deadlines and when they’re prolonged I get mad as hell. The way I see it, if you’re going to give me a deadline and I’m gonna try to meet it, own up to your end of the bargain.

It seems that introversion and extraversion are the only two factors of the eight Myers Briggs Type Indicator factors that people like to talk about, but how one leads one’s life is important to both one’s personal and professional lives. My kids may have been on to something when they constantly badgered me about the upcoming weekends. And I may have made a fool of myself when I veered off course during a workshop. But I’m cool with my preference and don’t mind adopting the preferences of a judger—it makes life interesting.