Communication Preferences and Personality

It’s possible to determine a person’s personality through their communication style and learn how those people would like to be communicated with.

Communication Preferences and Personality

You can gauge a lot about a person based on the way they speak and the way they hold themselves. Someone’s whole presence can tell you a lot, from their clothes to their attitude. The longer you know a person, the better you have a feel for and understand that person’s personality. You probably feel like you know what to expect from them.

It’s possible you also change your communication styles a bit from person to person once you get to know them—you might offer to go bungee jumping with your friend who is always excited to do new things while knowing that your friend who prefers routine might rather meet up for coffee.

Photo by Anoof Junaid / Unsplash

Just like you probably categorize people, scientists believe that it’s possible to quantifiably determine a person’s personality through their communication style, and consequently, determine how those people would like to be communicated with (a helpful trick for marketers).

Scientists have found differences in communication style based on neuroticism and extraversion. They’ve also linked personality to communication style in university students, finding differences based on gender and the five pillars of personality: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Quantifying personality is possible not only through measuring the way people speak, but through analyzing the way they present themselves online as well. The words people use to express themselves, and the things they are interested in, are reflective of personality.

Studies have found that “word use is related to personality to a larger degree than previously observed and deserves increased attention as a source of data in personality assessment.”

Others have correlated big five personality traits with blog content and motivation, and have successfully predicted personality successfully through social media (as people reveal personal details and insights into their lives.) One study even found that “every one of the Big Five was strongly and significantly associated with word use patterns theoretically appropriate to the trait, indicating strong connections between language use and personality.”

It’s clear that we have the potential to determine personality accurately through someone’s language used online. But what can we do with that knowledge?

From a marketing perspective, understanding personality is the key to understanding how people think—but it’s also a helpful tool to understand how they communicate and how they like to be communicated with.

Preferences differ based on personality type, according to multiple studies. Extraversion and neuroticism significantly predict preferences for email or face-to-face conversation, while cultural tastes and media preferences are different in different personality types.

If different things appeal to different types of people, it makes sense to present people with what they like. Research has shown that “computers are more effective as agents of influence when the computer's message style matches the participant's personality type.”

Photo by Franck V. / Unsplash

This is at the core of how Sorter provides messaging recommendations. Our philosophy is to speak in peoples’ “language.” By communicating on the same wavelength, we can create innately empathetic communications that resonate.

Personality is complex and could be categorized in endless numbers of segmentations. By categorizing people into four main groups based heavily on their cognitive preferences and personality (Movers, Motivators, Collaborators, and Thinkers), we’re able to simplify this form of empathy-driven communication, so marketers can execute without needing to dive deep into the science.

Which one are you?

You wouldn’t try to cheer up a shy friend by taking them to do karaoke—so you shouldn’t misdirect your marketing that way, either. Instead, you'd pick something that resonates with who they are and what they like. By focusing on this form of empathy in our communication recommendations, Sorter makes sure your message is spoken the right way.

For more information on Sorter and personality marketing, visit