92 . www.conference-news.co.uk . February 2012 THE CONSULTANTSo the presentation coaching and message planning services out there are aimed at the wrong personality type.Cod psychologyNow, here's a spoonful of cod-psychology; the terms 'introversion' and 'extroversion' were fi rst popularised by Carl Jung, and many of the popular 'personality profi ling' questionnaires make use of the concept, including those by Eysenck's, the Cattell's 16 personality factors, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory or the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Jung and the gang suggest that everyone has both an extroverted and an introverted side, with one being more dominant than the other. Typically, extroverts are seen to be gregarious, assertive, and interested in seeking out external stimulus. Introverts, in contrast, are seen as introspective, quiet and less sociable. And of course, these are behaviours that are highly visible on stage.Richard also points out that introversion/extroversion is measured in terms of a scale or spectrum, and around seven out of ten people fall in the middle ranges, known as 'ambiversion'. That means only around 15 per cent of the population at either end can be considered genuinely introverted or extroverted. He's also keen to point out that: "We introverts are known to have slightly higher IQs than you lot". Still, other researchers have pointed out that more extroverted people tend to report higher levels of happiness than introverts. Extrovert/introvertJung stated that introverts acknowledge more readily their psychological needs and problems, whereas extroverts tend to be oblivious to them because they focus more on the outer world. However, extroversion is socially preferable in Western culture and can make introverts feel more self-conscious. Other studies have found that extroverts tend to report higher levels of self-esteem than introverts.So far, so good; it's obvious an extroverted trainer may struggle to change the performance of an introverted delegate. Richard's success stems from the fact that he is a classical introvert, and his starting point is to use some of the popular questionnaires to identify the degree of introversion within his clients. As he explains: "It's about leading the reader through the terror to a place of comfort and acceptance. Mary will never be a stand-up comedienne, but she can come to present carefully prepared material her audience will connect with, and she can enjoy doing it." For some reason Mr Tierney believes that your beloved columnist is an extrovert, just because it takes a stick with a hook at the end to get me off the stage. But he points out that the majority of people fi nd such a situation totally alien. "This started out as a presentation coaching service, and with some clients that's where it stops," says Tierney. "But with others I go into deeper questions about their business and the messages they wish to get across. Introverts don't think about this, they just want to keep their heads down and get on with their lives. And because I'm an introvert I can relate to that."After three decades in the events industry Tierney describes his new role as "the most rewarding work I have ever done. It can be transformational. Using all my experience in the events business yet not being a vendor is a great liberation for me. Seeing my client's actually enjoying standing up and speaking, with their audience having clarity, is a great joy. But you extroverts probably don't understand what all the fuss is about."It's about leading the reader through the terror to a place of comfort and acceptanceRichard JohnRichard John is an events industry trainer and consultant. He can be contacted through the Editor.
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