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Sensors and Intuitives: How to Bridge the Communication Gap

Sensors and Intuitives: How to Bridge the Communication Gap

    Have you ever given an explanation that your listener wasn’t able to understand? Sometimes, it’s because of an intellectual gap, but that’s not always the case.

    Quite often, the miscommunication is caused by the difference in how we absorb information. Understanding that difference will help you communicate better with the people around you: your spouse, your family, your friends, your colleagues, and your customers.

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    In Psychological Types, one of psychologist Carl Jung‘s most famous works, he differentiated between the two ways by which we take in information: sensation and intuition. He called these the “perceiving functions.” Following the MBTI interpretation of Jung’s work, each personality type has the tendency to use one of these more than the other. You’re either a sensor or an intuitive in one of MBTI’s 16 personality types.

    In a nutshell, here’s the difference between the two functions:

    Sensation

    Sensation, according to Jung, is conscious perception. It’s perceiving things one by one, as they are, or at least what the person has sensed about them. The information that a sensor gets is quite simple and specific:

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    • This road is winding.
    • I got dizzy driving along a winding road before.
    • It’s cold inside the car.
    • There’s a big house at the corner of the street.
    • I spent my holidays last year there.
    • There’s a woman sitting beside me.
    • I met her a month ago.

    Simple, isn’t it? The process of sensation stops at exactly what is sensed; as a function, it doesn’t attribute any meaning to what the mind has received as sensation.

    Intuition

    Intuition, on the other hand, is unconscious perception. It’s perceiving a number of things at one time in terms of what they’re related to, how they came about, and what they could be. Intuition uses data gathered through the senses to generate ideas, see possibilities, make frameworks, and grasp meaning.

    Intuitives “see through” things (and people)—they tend to think that reality is a lot more than what it seems to be. An intuitive’s mind is filled with predictions and associations:

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    • This road will make me dizzy.
    • I’ve always had more fun spending vacationing at my parents than with my friends. Why is that?
    • I’m probably a sentimental person.
    • This girl I’m dating doesn’t seem as sentimental as I am.
    • Will she like spending the holidays with my folks?
    • I should check out ladies who like romcom in the dating site I’m at.

    Intuition forms a complex web of data out of the individual sense data that it receives. As such, the thoughts of an intuitive are inherently non-linear, and often difficult to express.

    How do we communicate to each type?

    Sensors thrive on clarity.

    If you’d like them to understand what you’re saying, be as specific and concrete as possible. Lay things down step by step, in a linear fashion, and using observable reality as your tool. If you can give them things to see, hear, smell, touch and taste to get the message across, do it. Do not explain; demonstrate. Be generous with your examples.

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    The difficulty lies in explaining abstract things to sensors. I once told my mom and my sister, both sensors, about a revolutionary business model I had in mind. After talking about my vision, how the model would work, and how it would help people, I got blank stares. Then they asked me to make a PowerPoint presentation about it. Since I didn’t need them to understand it anyway, I told them I’ll just build the business and they’ll see what I mean. But if I really needed them to, I’d make that PowerPoint, fill it with photos, and give as many examples as I could.

    On the other hand, intuitives associate ideas with one another.

    They love analogies, similes, charts, matrices and outlines. The intuitives I know enjoy mind map presentations more than sequential slide presentations. Present your points from varying points of view, not just one. Debate with them, make them think, encourage them to envision possibilities.

    The difficulty with intuitives is that if your point doesn’t reach the level of a framework, you’ll be forgotten. Intuitives have weak memory for individual data because they hardly even absorb them. If the intuitive doesn’t associate it, he most likely won’t remember it. My mom saw this in me when I was a child: I retained a lot of what I learned in school, but when she asked me what kinds of food my best friend would bring for lunch, I was totally blank.

    Do you think you’re sensor or an intuitive? How about your boss? Your colleagues? Your customers? Have you ever had difficulty communicating with the opposite type? Has this difference ever gotten you into trouble?

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    Last Updated on August 4, 2020

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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    1. Value Your Time

    Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

    2. Know Your Priorities

    Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

    For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

    3. Practice Saying No

    Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

    4. Don’t Apologize

    A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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    5. Stop Being Nice

    Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

    Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

    6. Say No to Your Boss

    Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

    But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

    7. Pre-Empting

    It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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    “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

    8. Get Back to You

    Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

    “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

    At least you gave it some consideration.

    9. Maybe Later

    If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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    “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

    Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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