Friday, February 01, 2013

The Myers-Briggs Guide to Conferences

I'm at a conference on science writing (it's a place where someone in the room can say that they don't want to contradict someone, they want to be orthogonal, and everyone will nod and smile). It's a perfect conference for me, a mix of scientists, editors, writers, journalists, artists all passionate about science and many who like me, have a tough time answering the questions, "what do you do?" and "where do you work?" (There is even a session on this!)

I've never been to this conference before and am struck at how little down time there is. Yesterday things kicked off at 7:40 am and officially ended at 11:00 pm and there were only 30 "unscheduled" minutes in the day - between one bus and another. The food here has been great (there is BOILING water for to make tea, I'd come back for that alone, and lunch today featured an amazing chocolate cake), and I've really appreciated the number of channels information is broadcast on (Twitter, wiki, signage) and the ways that the information gets tagged up. It's making me wish that conferences came tagged with their Myers-Briggs best matches. This is an ESTP/ENTP/ENFJ conference. Extrovert, extrovert, extrovert. No time to process; toss tweets; produce now; edit later (maybe); meet, greet.

I suspect that there are many introverts here(there is a quiet room reserved for those who need silence to work, or just to sit) but you absolutely need to put on your extrovert suit to "do" this meeting effectively. I'm drinking from the firehose, but I am looking forward to returning to a rhythm that switches between data input and processing time more frequently.

What would a conference tagged INTJ/INSP look like? Would we all just sit together in a room and quietly work for a set time, then tack our work up onto the wall and head out?


This blog post was written in five increments.

17 comments:

  1. I am with you on the boiling water to make tea - that would make almost any occasion a hit with me!

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    1. The tea drinkers were so excited to see an urn with a dial on the side -- with 212 F marked on it!!

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  2. If you were to add to the line This is an ESTP/ENTP/ENFJ conference. ESFP and ESTJ it could be a medical conference. As the only INTJ in my residency program, I can tell you it is a terribly lonely place at times. I am not good at drinking from firehoses, a term often used when I was in medical school; I do not like to write notes while Pandora and the TV are playing; I prefer the workroom which is drab and free from distraction, and where the water cooler/heater is. I just go downstairs to the cafeteria where I can get some sugar and cream for my Prince of Wales...

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  3. As I get older I begin to see Jung's point about the center. That we may come into this world as one or the other (Extrovert, Introvert, INFJ, ESTP) but if we take the time and attention to individuate we get closer to the center.

    Putting on an Extrovert coat and going to a conference is probably just as powerful, spiritually, as going on a retreat of silence and meditation. Each one challenges the illusions we have about ourselves and our safety. Each one offers the opportunity to see God in everything.

    And that probably includes Twitter. :)

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    1. You and Wayne are wise, Cindy! It's a challenge, it's an opportunity...

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  4. That sounds a bit extrovert-y even for a big extrovert like me. I'm just glad you had lots of boiling water for tea!

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  5. Just going to say, I dig what Cindy said. It echoes what someone else told me recently.

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  6. I would think that even with me being an extravert, I would have had to build in some down time at some point. There is just so much one can take in without refueling in a day. Conferences like that stretch the Introvert's "E" side, just as a silent retreat stretches the E into the Introvert side.

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    1. I'm stretched, that's for sure!

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  7. Oh boy, I would LOSE MY MIND at your Extrovert Conference! My "S/N" and "T/F" balance is coming closer together, but my "I/E" and "J/P" stays as extreme as ever.

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    1. When I took the MB I got no "E" points at all....

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    2. Michelle - I know what you mean, but you are a teacher! So every day you find a way to *be* extroverted .... even if you don't *feel* it. I think that is our Intuitive self constantly trying to peek around the corner of our experience. However, the sensate side would recommend that we simply accept (sit in) the experience of extroversion even if we don't feel it as natural.

      You are evidently a very good teacher, so your embodiment of this extroverted activity as part of a larger vocation would tell me that you are moving that sliding marker closer to the center.... even if the MB test doesn't show it.

      :)

      (Probably one of the reasons I prefer pure-Jungian when it comes to Personality Types rather than Myers-Briggs)

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  8. As a mentor/life coach I often ask the women I work with to take their prayer & meditation to our local city park and walk around the lake in meditative silence.

    Their horror - especially the introverts - is clear on their faces and they tell me oh I couldn't I'm too distracted.

    But it is a great way to begin to hold that balance of looking for God in the stillness of our hearts, and also seeing God in the faces of those around us.

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    1. I wonder if my walking/prayer has helped stretch this side?!

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  9. I bet it has. Teaching too. And I was thinking of that during your trip to Japan. Each of those kinds of activities takes your introverted self and stretches it's ability to operate successfully in the world at large.

    Not to mention your family :) Kids also stretch the old introvert.

    (and by old I don't mean old, I just mean parental)

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  10. Learning lots of interesting stuff I bet but what a brutal pace. My energies would last 1/3 of a day then need two or three days downtime.

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  11. I was listening to the Introvert Entrepreneur podcast today, and Beth Buelow used the metaphor of meditating in a mosh pit when she and her husband went out to eat on a Saturday night at 7:00. They tried to just let the extrovert energy flow around them. But for a whole conference--yikes!

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