Myers-Briggs and Public Speaking

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a training on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment through work. While my employer is expecting me to take this new found knowledge and use it to improve myself in my job (and I plan on speaking about this to my section later in the month), I was really interested in learning about myself and how it relates to my relationships with others. And there is no better way to describe public speaking than a relationship between the speaker and the audience.

My assessment indicated that my personality type is ISTJ.

From the Myers-Briggs Foundation:

Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.

I have a hard time arguing with any of this. This “by the book” mentality describes my personality in many ways.

However, I have struggled to see how this would help me with my public speaking. And the following article by the 1998 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking, Brett Rutledge, “The Myers Briggs Type Indicator – Does It Work?” didn’t help my quest.

About all that Myers-Briggs is good for is to give people a quick snapshot of what their strengths and weaknesses might be, and of those with whom they interact. On the other hand you could get the same information just by asking them.

I believe my ISTJ nature does explain my near obsession with organization in speeches (and probably explains why others don’t care about it near as much as I do), but unfortunately I haven’t discovered the key to understanding my personality as a speaker and how to relate it better to my audience.

Image credit: Eagle_Photo_Bucket

Question: Are you introverted/extroverted? How does it effect your public speaking?

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