Information-processing Preferences & Communication Strategies

This kept me busy this week:  information-processing preferences in the context of a communication strategy.

Like people have different personality types, people have different information-processing types. A lot has to do with

  • how much information one likes to see;
  • how one searches for information;
  • how one processes information;
  • how one assimilates information;
  • etc.

Some like to have a lot of information and to select the relevant information themselves;
others want to see only relevant information and prefer someone else to do the selection;
others likes to know a lot general formal and informal information about the company and the colleagues;
others only want to know what is really relevant for their actual job;
and so on.

In that context it is worthwhile taking a look at the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) model originally developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. It’s a model based on a questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. The MBTI sorts these psychological differences into four opposite pairs resulting in 16 possible psychological types. None of these types are better or worse.

Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering dimensions. They describe how one understands and interprets new information.

Individuals who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible and concrete: information that can be understood by the five senses. They prefer to look for details and facts. They like information to be orderly, precise and clear.  Some keywords related to sensing preference:

  • Facts & Detail
  • Present Focus
  • Powers of observation
  • Sequential
  • Idea tester
  • Adapting
  • Practicality
  • Sensible
  • Perspiration
  • Literal

On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to use information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. They tend to trust those flashes of insight that seem to bubble up from the unconscious mind. The meaning is in how the data relates to the pattern or theory. Some keywords related to intuition preference:

  • Possibilities, associations
  • Future focus
  • Overview
  • Pattern recognition
  • Random
  • Idea generator
  • Innovating
  • Ingenuity
  • Imaginative
  • Inspiration
  • Figurative

There is no good or bad in these preferences but it makes that a communication strategy will never be able to please all a fully 100%.