Sunday was a warm-up tutorial by Don Gray and Steve Smith. This was an all-day session meant to introduce newbies like me (and returnees looking for a refresher) to the lingo, vocabulary, and concepts used at the conference.
First up was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is perhaps the best known of the plethora of personality typing systems. Although I have studied this some and so already knew I am an InTj (way I and T, close to the middle N and J), I haven't yet managed to internalize the differences between the types. Now I have shorthand:
David Keirsey found that the sixteen MBTI types can be effectively grouped into four temperaments:
The differences between these groupings were highlighted when we split up by temperament to draw a map of the first floor of our hotel. Us NTs had the general sequence correct yet didn't remember enough details to decide which way the hallway hooked. The NFs used lots of color and abstract representations. The SJs knew how many chairs were at each table and the colors of their various parts. The lone SP knew the full details of everywhere she had personally been and nothing about the rest.
Don and Steve made a point of telling us that types are only preferences, not absolutes. Your upbringing and work environment can lead you to act contrary to your type, and your type can change over time. For example, I find myself moving towards the middle on all four axes, which I believe to be a good thing. I can actually talk to people now, and I admit that I have feelings. <g/>
With personality types firmly fixed in our heads we moved on to congruence. If a person is being congruent their words, emotions, tone of voice, and body position all match, and they are considering themselves (Self), the people around them (Other), and the situation in which they find themselves (Context) in their responses. When a person is being incongruent some or all of these factors conflict. Family therapist Virgina Satir identified four common incongruent stances:
Each stance has stereotyped body language. Blamer, for example, lunges out on one foot attacking with their pointing finger. We took turns assuming these stances with the idea that doing so would help us notice when we adopt these stances in real life. Time will tell whether it worked for me.
Last up for the day was Virginia Satir's process for identifying the temperature, or state, of a group. This involves five items in sequence:
The tutorial ended with a temperature reading of our group, which was a useful demonstration of the technique and also a lot of fun.
Overall the tutorial was useful and informative, and I am glad I took part in it.