A recent study that surveyed 368 people revealed that our personality types affect how we best handle email — which, of course, introduces one obvious question: What email personality type are you? It's certainly information that could help any of us manage our workload and daily stress, as it's been found that emailing too much can be bad for your health. What does this mean for you, based on your own personality characteristics?
The study had participants complete Myers-Briggs questionnaires — which defined users in terms of traits belonging to four categories: introverted or extroverted, sensing or intuitive, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. The results of these questions give a four-letter combination of traits (called an MBTI Type) reflecting that individual.
Knowing the participants MBTI Type better allowed researchers to understand their key motivators, which they referred to as Core Characters — all of which belong to two MBTI Types: Introverted types and extroverted ones. The Core Characters of introverted types are Conserver, Visionary, Analyst, and Conscience. Belonging to the extroverted type are Activist, Explorer, Director, and Nurturer.
Understanding which of these eight Core Characters applies to you can help you better determine your email personality type — and in turn, it could improve your work-life balance and overall well-being. Here's the lowdown on each one.
People with this Core Character should make sure they've sent all the emails they've started today. Read slowly and carefully, and give people sufficient time to respond.
If you're emailing an Activist, keep it short, respond quickly (face-to-face is even better), and bear in mind that Activists tend not to check mail on the weekends.
Concentration is key — turn off your email notifications when you're busy with something else. Also, don't rely on email as your only form of communication. Not everyone checks their email as often as you; so if you haven't heard back after awhile, politely follow up.
When you're emailing a Conserver, don't send too many messages at once. Otherwise, they might get overwhelmed and take longer to respond. Like Activists, they don't often check email outside business hours.
Remember that some people prefer email over face-to-face encounters! Also, don't feel obligated to set up subfolders if you don't really use them. Lastly, if you can't offer a quick answer, you might benefit from at least responding to notify a person that you got their email and will respond fully shortly.
If you're emailing someone who's an Explorer, consider talking to them in person instead. If you need a quick response, say so. Finally, don't try to force them to respond outside of normal work hours.
Your emails might be a bit more wordy than people prefer — try to keep it quick. Keep in mind that sometimes a phone call or face-to-face meeting might be more appropriate.
When emailing a Visionary, avoiding sending them several messages. Spend some time reading their email instead of skimming — they spent serious time on it. They're sometimes a bit slow to respond, but regardless, they're very eager to hear from you, sooner rather than later.
If someone is taking longer to respond than you'd like, remember that they might just be thinking about it — not stalling. Be patient with emails that have typos or are longer than you'd prefer. When you get stressed out, take care not to be too direct in your messages.
When contacting a Director, be clear and concise, respond quickly, and remember that even if they send an email after hours, they don't automatically consider it urgent.
If a quick response is needed, respond and say something. If a debate or lengthy conversation is needed, email might not be best.
If you're emailing someone who's an Analyst, specify if and why you need a quick response, be clear in your points, and avoid skimming their responses.
Try not to be offended if someone's email doesn't include pleasantries — they might not mean anything by it. Double check your emails before you send them too quickly. Sometimes, email is better than face-to-face conversations.
When contacting a Nurturer, pleasantries (even emoticons) are welcome. Acknowledge their email sooner rather than later. Similar to Explorers, don't make a Nurturer feel obligated to respond outside of working hours.
If a quick response is needed, offer one. Be clear and succinct, and remember to include a subject line.
When sending an email to a Conscience, include pleasantries, respectfully mention that you'd like a quick response (if that's the case), and send more sensitive messages personally and with great care.