Here are two conversations this week – one overheard and one I participated in. Both show how we are often embedded in our own preferences and miss that others process differently.

Sensing and Intuition – A conversation overheard
Woman A: You must be Intuitive – you like the big picture.

Woman B: Uh huh (aka yes)

Woman A: I’m Sensing – did you know that I’m Sensing?

Woman B: Uh huh

Woman A: Really! You knew that! How did you know? What did I do? Is it something I say?

Woman B: Everytime you don’t answer my call and it takes you a while to get back to me, it then takes 5 minutes for you to explain in detail why. You saw the light flashing, but you were unable to get to the phone, and then Sara came into the office to speak to you, and then you needed to sign a delivery slip for UPS and then something else happened and then … You feel compelled to give me every detail.

Woman A: Oh MY I do do that don’t I? What do you do?

Woman B: I just wait until you are finished. (Sigh)

Woman A: (Sigh)

Intuition and Sensing – Designing a training

Sensing Colleague: Let’s talk about the process involved.

Me (ENFP): I like to use the 4 mat system so that all four learning styles are covered… (followed by a 6 sentence explanation of the 4 mat system)

Sensing Colleague: Okay

Me: So if we start with “why” we are doing this (followed by 6 sentences explaining why this approach is important)

Sensing Colleague: Too heady

Me: (More explanation of why the big picture and the context is important)

Sensing Colleague: They been there done that. We have to make this real

So what to do when you realize you are talking essentially different languges
A couple of things come to mind:

  1. Remember that neither one is the “right” way so stay out of judgment
  2. Observe your own embeddness in your preference and try to see things from the other person’s perspective. For example as I got into the conversation with my colleague I realized that the 6 documents that I had sent her prior to our conversation were full of theory and models and they were not what she was looking for.
  3. Keep a sense of humour. Both women in scenario #1 had a grin on their face as they recognized a moment of truth between them.
  4. Appreciate the opportunity to learn. Working with my colleague will give me a better understanding of how to meet the needs of those with a Sensing preference. We will also provide a better training design with both our input.

What are your top three tips for communication between Sensing and Intuition?

Category: Communication
  • Share/Bookmark

One Response to “I don’t get you and you don’t get me – conversations through the lens of the MBTI”

Oh, man, Sandy, your post really says it all! The other day I was trying to establish who was coming to our ladies’ doubles match for tennis. It took one of the gals 5 minutes to explain why the other one wasn’t coming, what happened when she called her, what her reasons might be, and what she usually does.

I realized I was categorizing this woman as a big fat loser and time waster, when in fact she was just a ‘detail diva.’ Thanks for enlightening me and getting me out of judgment mode.