Since this is about personalities, let’s spend some time and get to know each other. Take this brief questionnaire and then we can chat about our results in a few minutes.
Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 on these descriptors of your personality.
Add up your scores. I will revisit the personality quiz in a minute.
I have always been interested in personality psychology, I will go as far to say I would have been a psychologist instead of a marketer if I didn’t think I would take home other people’s issues. My current position as Insights & Strategy Director allows me to help people from behind-the-scenes. I currently study consumer behavior to offer insight and solutions that connect people to products in order to make their lives better. Part of the secret sauce of what I do is identifying, segmenting and understanding customers on an individual level. However, from a bigger picture perspective, most humans fit into one of these five personality traits, which can be easily remembered as O.C.E.A.N.
Open to experience
These individuals love to seek out new experiences. Their thoughts, feelings and actions show they enjoy the idea of originality and doing things differently. These individuals will excel at tasks that offer new solutions, since they are naturally open, innovative and creative.
These individuals tend to follow through versus being lackadaisical. They are more willing to be persistent with things such as following their health. Conscientious individuals are good at tasks that have a correct answer – answers that can be difficult but provide a precise output.
The extraverted have low thresholds. They are easily excited and are motivated by rewards. These individuals tend to seek out experiences that are exciting because those types of experiences arouse them.
It is no surprise that agreeable people excel within group settings. However, other people easily take advantage of these individuals. They like peace, enjoy smoothing things over, and have difficulty confronting disagreeable individuals. On the opposite side of the spectrum, it has been said that characteristics of disagreeable individuals commonly leads to poor cardiovascular health.
Unfortunately, neurotic has become a derogatory word. However, there is a vulnerable aspect to these individuals. They are highly sensitive and are more likely to be anxious, depressed and vulnerable.
Okay, let’s talk about you. What was the total of your personality questionnaire answers?
Since we are getting to know each other, I got an 85, which is considered borderline obnoxious. My first thought when I saw the results was to look back at my answers and figure out what made me score so (obnoxiously) high. I’m thinking I was feeling really enthusiastic at the time I took the quiz and I am unsure if I would have answered the same, say, two days after. Your personality on any given day (or minute) can seriously impact the way you talk, think, communicate with others, react to situations and for all my marketers out there, interpret data, collaborate with a co-worker and craft a campaign.
The good news is we are not stuck in these 4-point wide categories. There is something called a Free Trait agreement where we are allowed to get out of character to advance something that is important for us. We always have a choice to rise to the occasion, to lighten up. The takeaway? Don’t be angry at differences. Be aware of both yours and others and embrace them.
Arousal and The Neo-cortex
There is such a thing as an Optimal Level of Arousal (OLA). If it is too high, you can’t carry out tasks. If it is too low, then you’re relaxed and not as able to carry out tasks as efficiently. Check out the grid below – Extraverts tend to be under OLA, holding a low threshold where they tend to tune out if something is not exciting enough to arouse them. Introverts are the opposite, they are typically over the OLA, however, they wish to lower it since this causes neo-cortal overload. As you might know, Introverts are better able to process information when they’re on their own to produce and control that stimulation.
You can see this difference in real time, without a personality questionnaire. Introverts drive slower than extraverts – you can spot them on a highway. You can find Extraverts in the fast lane looking for stimulation. Let’s take music for an example; turning your favorite song up to 110 decibels hits the pain threshold. While an extravert benefits from this form of stimulation, a true Introvert prefers the radio off. Extraverts tend to get their way in the short term, but not necessarily in the long term. Another interesting fact is that extraverts psychologically feel punishment and pain less than introverts. Note to extraverts: show some empathy.
Another fascinating scenario: imagine Friday happy hour, enjoying beers with two friends, one is an Extrovert and one is an Introvert. Which of the two is more relaxed? The answer is the Extravert. This is because Extraverts are already under the optimal level of arousal and alcohol only adds to the depth because it is a known depressant. Introverts on the other hand are naturally over the optimal level, and as a result, end up getting brought down to the optimal level. Caffeine or any type of stimulant works the opposite way. It compromises performance for introverts, while it helps extraverts bring them up to the OLA.
Learning and Performance
Did you know that Introverts tend to do better in academics than Extraverts? Let’s look at why that may be the case.
Styles of Learning: Getting Engaged
The explanation is founded in what you need when you are learning something. Extraverts need a sense of engagement, to be involved. It is a very hands-on learning experience. Introverts are the type of people who read the manual first.
This also plays out in how we plan out talks. Extraverts ask questions, they want to discuss it. Introverts don’t mind chatting about it but they don’t learn from it, they need structure and clarity.
Memory and Performance: What did I just say?
Introverts have better long-term memory while extraverts have better short-term memories. Neither is better, they are different. However, extremes see each other as frustrating.
Quality/Quantity Tradeoff: You Want it When?
An Introvert takes their time and in turn, produces quality; An Extravert is fast and efficient but not as great in producing quality. This offers an opportunity to bring these two types of people together to learn and innovate.
Second Natures: Culture and Communication
Let’s discuss how this all came to be. One influence is genetics, no doubt. However, there are other influences, like social influences (nature vs. nurture).
Non-verbal communication styles
How close you stand to another to communicate differs. An Introvert doesn’t enjoy standing close, while an extravert finds it polite and needs it for stimulation.
When watching a video of a room full of people to study the Introverted culture approaching an Extraverted culture, experts uncovered a subtle dance featuring a backward motion. While the Extraverted culture found it polite to move forward, the Introvert culture responded by stepping backwards, forming a backward spiral movement over time.
Ambiverted, the even-keel individuals, see the collide between two extremes coming. These people perform best in sales. They can sell like an Extravert but listen like an Introvert. The listening is what gives them a measureable advantage.
We speak different. Extraverts like simple language while introverts like complex sentences. We can drive each other to distraction in conversation. Introverts also tend to gently allude to qualities of behavior such as describing your co-worker as “assertive” while an Extravert is blunt and straightforward calling them an “asshole.”
Frequency of sexual intercourse
If you’ve made it to the end of this 1,559-word article, especially if you are an Extravert, I will reward you with an engaging trivia question that you can pocket for your next dinner party.
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