Training Assessments: Personality Counts

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    Personality theory and tests are useful also for management, recruitment, selection, training and teaching, on which point see also the learning styles theories on other pages such as Kolb’s learning styles, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, and the VAK learning styles model. — Personality Theories, Types and Tests at

    Believe it or not personality really does count when it comes to training. And, it works both ways. The trainer, as we know is full of personality, passion and knowledge. The trainees or audience, filling their chairs with a multitude of experiences, passions and information they have already gathered on the trainer and training topic.

    This article should be a companion piece for Don’t Assume in Training because it can easily come under the heading of “I knew that, but…” and “I can’t do anything about it.” But I think you can.

    As most of you know, if you’ve been following this blog, I wasn’t born a trainer. Actually, none of us were, but in my innocence as an actor and speaker first, then writer, and finally trainer, I realized early on there were important critical elements to develop effective training: design, analysis, assessments, evaluation. From this perspective, I think, the recognition of personality is an important factor in analyzing your audience emerges in any speaking situation; and therefore, essential as well in the training environment.

    We sometimes train on personality types and personality predictors of behavior. How many of us consider the personality types when we are training? Even a simplified version of Myers-Briggs would help tremendously in how we might present our material. We would know better how most of our audience processed information. But, why is it necessary to focus there. How much you direct information in a certain way would depend on the percentage a particular personality type. Right? Or, do we mix it up to make it easy? Okay, loaded question. How do we train Type A or Type B personalities?

    While I would love to give in depth personality tests to truly “know” my audience or classroom of trainees, I don’t think it terribly practical. So, I am totally open to your suggestions here on getting the most analysis in the simplest manner possible. There is Training to Read Minds…well, you know how that goes.

    I think it is best to know your audience pretty well, be it through a simple questionnaire provided to the training manager or planner, or a more involved technique. Simple is more likely to be accomplished than the complex unless you have 100 percent cooperation of management. That questionnaire can incorporate questions that operate along the nature of a simple personality profile are of tremendous value to trainers as communicators.

    Here is where whatever information we can learn about our audience, either discreetly or asking in public, are invaluable. Experiences, ages, sex, interests, work level, purpose of training, human resources ability to hire–fire and promote, financial stability, economic stability of local community, major issues important to employees, etc., are all incredible indicators of personality.

    Here’s your chance to talk back and tell me what you think. Suggest simple tests or what you do as a trainer to assess your audience before you train. How much time do you take? Who is involved in the analysis?

    Check out the article: Personality Theories, Types and Tests for more than my cursory look at personality tests and training.

    For more resources about training, see the Training library.