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26 Sep 2011

Real-time Personality Assessment (Pt 2): Important Qualities

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Real-time Personality Assessment

The downside of many personality tests is that you need to administer them. Yes, some will teach you how to assess without doing that, but you must learn their system. In reality, we can all develop and do a real-time personality assessment.

In the first post of this series, “Assessing Personalities thru Everyday Discussions (1.0),” I wrote that asking “Why?” in response to other people’s observations can give you insights into their personalities. In this post, I’ll explore how we analyze the answer.

If you ask two people why they like a car, most likely they’ll give two different answers. For instance, if one answers, “performance,” and the other “looks,” both answers begin to help you distinguish their personalities by identifying important qualities to them. These qualities will likely extend to other areas, but we need to realize we’re only hypothesizing right now; we only have one data point.

Now, if we discuss their favorite athletes and ask why they like them, this gives us more information. If the first one says, “She’s the best in the game,” and the second one says, “He just looks like he’s ready to play when he shows up,” we have additional information reinforcing their answers about cars: performance and appearance. Thus, the first person seems to prefer performance related qualities while the second one prefers visible ones.

Therefore, when we discuss other subjects with these people, we will need to highlight the positive performance attributes with the first one and the visible ones with the second if we wish a positive response.

Obviously, it’s not always this easy, but over a five to fifteen minute conversation, through careful listening, patterns like these will emerge. These patterns will allow us to extrapolate on a person’s decisions and behaviors.


Series Navigation<< Black Bark: Real-time Personality Assessment ExampleReal-time Personality Assessment (Pt 3): Word Themes >>

6 Responses

  1. Nice one. We can also learn a lot from listening to how they criticize other people. “Our directors are terrible at making decisions” – don’t expect a decision from this speaker. “She’s so inconsiderate” – don’t expect a whole lot of empathy.

    And conversely, how they (we!) praise people, which is closer to your theme, Mike. “He’s incredibly loyal” – this is someone to whom loyalty is important.

    1. Mike Lehr

      Yes, Marilyn, you’re right. These all become observational data points helping to make a complete assessment. As we observe more, we make adjustments. Thank you for the great examples. ~Mike

  2. Well Said Mike,
    Others people’s observations can give you insights into their personalities. All just need Observe there behaviour and you can identify what type of personality they have.
    Is there any simplest method to understand people’s behaviour in daily life like stranger or someone who newly joint the friends circle?

    1. Mike Lehr

      Debashish, thank you for stopping by and leaving your question. While there are many techniques, the simplest is learning to listen VERY well in a very neutral way. People often tell us about themselves but we don’t listen or put our own interpretation on it. For example, a CIO once said to me, “I’m a control freak.” Even though he said it jokingly, we need to take it at face value. Often, people’s clothing, especially words and phrases on it will tell us. T-shirts are especially helpful. A man was wearing a “Big Daddy” t-shirt. That alone tells you very much about his self-view. So, yes, listen, and listen without interpreting, filtering or rationalizing. Other than that here are a few other readings:

      Here’s a guest post I wrote elaborating on this: Gratitude for a Listening Game ow.ly/f16E3
      If you haven’t read the whole series of which the post you read is one, then it will help too: Real-time Personality Assessments – Examples & How to do it (4posts, 1166 words) http://blog.omegazadvisors.com/series/real-time-personality-assessment-2/
      This post really dives into an example of words useful in workplace for identifying people’s personalities and orientations:
      Real-time Personality Assessment: Freedom-Order Duality http://blog.omegazadvisors.com/?p=2779

      My answer and these posts are a good start. I am ever learning more to help me do a better job of this too. Remember, everything we think, do or say says something about us even if it’s about other things or people. In fact, even a performance review tells more about the supervisor than it does the employee.

      Again, thank you Debashish for visiting, commenting and questioning. I appreciate it. ~Mike

    1. Mike Lehr

      Personality typing is personal and confidential, Nathan. If you know a professional, he or she should be able to give you a rudimentary one of me based on my extensive writings in this blog.

      As for the “why” questions, most people would just think you’re a very good conversationalist. Most also don’t believe you can assess their personality from everyday conversations. They either won’t suspect anything or won’t believe it. We’re too used to needing formal personality tests to do such things. Still, you can vary how you ask:

        “I see, can you tell me more why you think that?”
        “Can you elaborate a bit more on why you feel that way?”
        “Why would you say that?”

      The key is to work it into the natural flow of the conversation. The danger is more coming across as interrogatively than pestering.

      I appreciate you stopping by for a visit, a comment and some questions, Nathan. Enjoy your new year.

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