Get Ahead by Targeting Different Personality Types
Learn to identify and communicate with people of different styles
Posted May 13, 2013
Zichy’s Color Q model is made up of four different colors—red (as in a quick decision maker), green (as in an empathetic people person), blue (or someone who analytical and theoretical), and gold (stable, orderly, born to organize)—each representing a major personality type. Yet, she stresses that the model is not a labeling system denying each person’s individuality. “There are billions of unique people on our planet and only four color groups,” she says.
With that as a backdrop, where do introverts and extroverts fit into each of the colors? The quick answer is that you’ll find both in every color. Take news personality Diane Sawyer, a “green” introvert whom Zichy interviewed for her book. Early in Sawyer’s career as the first female correspondent at 60 Minutes, Sawyer played to the strengths of her personality through what Zichy describes as her “ability to surgically get under a subject’s skin without drawing blood.” Zichy says that greens tend to “listen intently and question diplomatically.” She adds that they “do very well in the television and film industries with their natural authenticity. Famous or not, you need creative opportunities to impact the lives of others. You excel at written and verbal communications and are heavily represented among writers, TV hosts, and biographers.”
You can learn important insights about your personality as well as that of many other celebrities whom Zichy interviewed in her book. Meanwhile, here are Zichy's favorite tips for introverts (of all stripes) who want to get ahead in their careers:
- Prepare questions prior to a meeting with an extrovert. This will fill the silences—and you will appear more engaged.
- Going to a networking event? Find an extrovert and ask that individual to introduce you to others as you circulate with him or her.
- Making a sales pitch or other one-on-one presentation to an extrovert? When you’re presenting, raise your energy level. Even when you are listening, be sure to nod and smile (a lot!). Extroverts need those external cues to tell you are paying attention.
Further to Zichy’s last point, what if you are presenting to someone new and don’t know if they are an extrovert? Engage in a brief, informal exchange with them before you dive in. Notice their body language and speech patterns. If they gesticulate a lot and have a loud/fast speech pattern, that often indicates that the person is an extrovert. Clearly, not every loud or fast speaker is an extrovert, but it is often a helpful clue.
Often, we focus on getting our words just right while overlooking the wealth of cues from our conversation partners. Learning more about personality styles increases our awareness of those cues and enables us to communicate with more impact—whether you’re selling yourself in a competitive job market, negotiating for higher pay, or want to be a successful leader at work.
Excerpts from Shoya Zichy with Ann Bidou, Personality Power, Discover Your Unique Profile—and Unlock Your Potential for Breakthrough Success, Amacom, 2013, pp. 3, 21.
Nancy Ancowitz © Copyright 2013