1. Audience

Identify the communication preferences of the different personality types in your audience.

You will begin designing your presentation by thinking about what kinds of personality characteristics will likely be present in your audience.  The Myers-Briggs personality type indicator is useful here.  Write down a list of all the personality dimensions you expect to have represented in your audience: Extraverts, Introverts, or both? Detail-oriented people (Sensors), Conceptual types (Intuitors), or both? Feelers, Thinkers, or both? And Judgers (focused on closure), Perceivers (focused on exploration), or both? Whenever you are in doubt, default to “both,” so that you’ll have all bases covered.

Keep your list in front of you as you develop your presentation.  If you are ready to move on, go to step 2: Objectives. Otherwise review the additional resources below if you need more assistance with this step.


Presentation implications of different personality characteristics

Introverts vs. extraverts

  • Extraverts: be sure to allow lots of time for discussion; don’t bring more than 30 minutes of content to a one-hour meeting
  • Introverts: provide some pre-reading because introverts need time to process data
  • Both: do both – provide pre-reading to all (only the introverts will read it) and allow plenty of time for discussion

Sensors (detail-oriented) vs. Intuitors (conceptually-oriented)

  • Sensors: provide all the necessary details, either in the presentation or in an appendix
  • Intuitors (conceptually-oriented): provide the big picture
  • Both: by designing your pages so that they pass the squint test, they will be attractive to both sensors, who will focus on the detail on each slide, and the intuitors, who will focus only on the conceptual layout of the slide

Feelers (people-oriented) vs. Thinkers (oriented towards things)

  • Feelers: include all the relevant people implications
  • Thinkers: include all the relevant costs and benefits
  • Both: include both

Judgers (focused on reaching closure) vs. Perceivers (focused on exploring options)

  • Judgers: tell them what your main recommendation is right up front
  • Perceivers: let them know what alternatives you have considered
  • Both: begin by listing the alternatives you have considered, and letting them know which one you are going to recommend

For more information on the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator, see the Myers & Briggs foundation.

For more details on any of the following, see Advanced Presentations by Design:

– How to estimate your audience’s personality types (p. 20)

– How to match your presentation design to different personality types (p. 21)

– What additional information to gather about your audience (p. 27)