February 21, 2012

A new label for us quiet types

A couple of weeks ago, after a board meeting, one of the other members thanked me for my input. She noted that I don't speak often, but when I do, it's a good contribution.
Photo by Laflor Photography — iStockphoto

I said I believe it's important to speak only when I have something useful to say. She said the very scarcity of my speech gives what little I do say more power.

Truthfully, I'm naturally reserved and am inclined to believe the proverb about it being better to remain silent and be thought foolish than to speak and remove all doubt. But there may still be more to it than that.

I followed a link in the recent issue of Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine to Sally Hogshead's website to learn my F-score.

According to Hogshead's matrix, I'm a "Wise Owl," which means "observant, assured, and unruffled." I think some of my past colleagues would debate that final point.

Hogshead studies personality, a subject that has intrigued me since I learned about Myers-Briggs. I'm a sucker for any sort of "answer these questions and we'll tell you about yourself" assessment. I like this one because Hogshead focuses on the aspects of your personality that make you "fascinating" to others.

I was surprised to learn my primary "trigger," as Hogshead calls it, is "Mystique." Yet, as I read the description, this totally clicked:
When you do share an idea or opinion, it carries more influence than it would for those who tend to 'over-share.'

That is what my fellow board member was talking about.

Mystique! I have mystique. Who knew?

But how is this useful?

Anyone in business must at some point figure out what separates them from the competition. This is usually presented as being your "unique selling position," or USP. Assessments like this one can help you develop the concepts you need to express your USP.

Am I, then, going to bill myself as the Mystique-y editor? No. But get this: one feature of Mystique is, "You persuade others by selectively culling your words and actions."

Hu-lo? Selectively culling words? It's what I do!

I probably won't use the same language as Hogshead's assessment, or the Strengthsfinder one either, but I can use them as a starting point for positioning. I'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, I've added her book Fascinate to my shopping list, along with StandOut by Marcus Buckingham and Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki.

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