Running a 90 minute Myers Briggs taster

24 Feb

This post is designed for colleagues who are certified in Myers Briggs, and who may be interested in how I’ve run a “taster” workshop for teams.

With business pressures, often we don’t have the luxury of running long workshops giving people full experiential value from the full Myers Briggs framework.  Or perhaps teams want a bit of a taster before they commit more time and resources.  If you find yourself in this sort of situation then here’s an outline of a session that I’ve run with teams.  These sessions have been for groups of people who know each other, sometimes as part of a team-building day, or to break up a day of meetings.  Perhaps not the most conducive environment for learning – but I think I add value, and I’m sure you will too.

I recognise the importance of introductions, to find out what people want from the session, and I realise this workshop doesn’t include intros. any finding out about the group / their challenges etch will hugely benefit the session.  Whilst typically a “full” Myers Briggs workshop would include time to coach people individually to find “best fit type”, and therefore numbers might be restricted – this workshop is around the functional pairs (the two middle letters), uses self assessment, is quite lively, interactive and I’ve found it works with groups of up to about 25 (more than, for me it’s become less about training, and creating sustained behavioural change and more about crowd control!)

Some of you may just want the overview, and will have activities with which you’re more familiar.  I haven’t described the set-up that’s needed, whether flips / ppt … I’m assuming you have these resources, and the ability to adapt to the groups you’re working with. 

1 introduction to yourself
4 to build the “why this may be relevant to you”
5 concept of preferences
2 background of MBTI / functional pairs
5 S/N to self assessment
5 T/F to self assessment
5 to set up activity
ELAPSED TIME 30 minutes Includes a couple minutes contingency for questions
10 Activity
40 mins (2 min “presentation of group findings), 8 min debrief per group)
10 Additional learning points not already mentioned / reflection / next steps / close
ELAPSED TIME 90 minutes total  


More detail:

I’ve included a bit more detail to give a flavour of the session – and I’d be willing to clarify further.

1 min:  Personal introduction if the audience not known to you

9 mins:  (why they’re there), describe examples of where knowing the functional pairs may be of use to your audience.

Some GENERIC examples:  “you may have encountered a situation where you were describing the overview of the project, and someone was asking you the question about the next step … perhaps you wondered how people could want to know the next step without hearing the vision … or perhaps you were that person asking for the next concrete action, not interested in the seemingly woolly vision that your colleague was describing”

“perhaps you’ve been in a situation where the logic for a particular approach really seems to stack up, but yet you faced resistance that you couldn’t quite understand”

Responding in these different ways seems to be what people do … (May want to mention no “right answers” …

You could give a personal example of how you’ve used it:  “I was in a situation recently where someone was describing the plan for the day. They started with the detail for 9am … and asked if I was OK with that. I found that until I had the “overview” I couldn’t see the big picture. Conversely, I’ve been with clients describing an outline of a training programme … and was asked “Suzanne, what’s the first thing that will happen” … sure you can get through life without understanding Myers Briggs, but what this approach can give you is a short-cut to being more flexible, and working more effectively with others …. so … interested in a practical way to do this?”

(if “no” find / use more examples relevant)

Once you’ve got buy in … some “pointers” to what’s coming next …

“What I’m going to introduce you to is looking at how people take in information and how people make decisions. This isn’t full Myers Briggs – but thinking about influencing in business …. presenting information in a way that is easy for others to receive, and influencing their decision making …..”

5 mins:  First, let me introduce the concept of preferences …

2 min MBTI history / background

This work is based on the work of Carl Jung, taken forward by mother & daughter team Myers & Briggs in the 1950’s …. that’s enough history for now (any other salient points that are relevant, may depend on your audience – but encourage you to keep it brief to get to the experiential learning)  This session is going to be practical … this means you’re going to be doing stuff … is that ok?

May want to mention no “right answers”, repeat preference not skill, no best (this doesn’t have to be a long list – and you can refer to later if appropriate)

5 mins S/N

Show a picture … do the normal S/N facilitation

I use quadrants, so show a SN line (vertical)

Ask them to mentally self assess (no activity at this point … just remember)

Respond to quick questions, if absolutely necessary add an example – but let them know it doesn’t matter if they’re not accurate in their assessment – go with their first thought / hunch

5 mins T/F

Pick your own T/F … I’ve found this one stimulates conversation, depending on your group, I would suggest you use an activity that you’re comfortable with …

Could show picture of Bambi, or just tell a story (be sure to set the boundaries so they haven’t got an “I was rushing to work” excuse”

Say you’re going to tell a short story … and ask them to notice their instinctive response ….

“It’s Saturday morning (no work excuse), it’s a beautiful day (not caught in rain), you’re driving on a quiet country road (not motorway, ability to stop), and are the only car on the road (no bystander effect), you have plenty of time and are looking round, really enjoying the scenery …. when you see an injured small deer in distress on the side of the road …..”

Facilitate / Debrief T/F

To the vertical information line add a horizontal and ask to mentally self assess

5 mins summarise and physically get into groups

(there should be 4 boxes … which relate to ST / SF / NF / NT)

I colour code the letters to keep it simple

….and typically use corners of room with flip chart paper.

“when you’re by the colour that you think most represents you, I will give the next set of instructions”

Get people to go to the corner that they think most represents them. If they don’t know ask they don’t lead the conversation – and perhaps flit an “observe”


@30 mins elapsed:

they should have done a rudimentary self assessment and be in groups

(for this group work I prefer delegates standing at this point as keeps energy)

Tell them you will give one set of instructions … write the answers as they come up onto flip chart, doesn’t need to be full agreement. that you will come round to the individual groups and answer any further questions (the ST group want an example of what you mean … and the intention is to manage this in advance … it doesn’t always happen – but you can handle it in the de-brief)

I use the question “how do you like to be sold to”

During the 10 mins … ensure you go to each group mainly to answer questions and to ensure that the discussion is going on a flip (and OK if it doesn’t – especially NFs) You’re looking for “typical type” behaviours … you know the sort of thing, ST finished first, SF – look for harmony, smile at each other want to be sure everyone in agreement before something put on a chart. ….

Who needs more time @ 7 mins.

(aim for 7 mins, you can always add 2 more mins (yes realise that’s only 9 mins))

40 mins Present & DEBRIEF (10 mins per group)

(can sit down, ideally clustered “around the flips your group has produced”)

Ask others to note, not just “what” (the content) that is presented – but “how” it’s presented, (the style in which it’s presented).

Whilst not my preference to be logical and sequential (I’m INFP btw), I always start with ST (then SF, NF, NT), I think it helps people remember the difference. You may need to do some “signposting” as the terms will still not be familiar to people

ST: 2 mins to “present” findings to group.

Ask “what do you notice about how that’s presented”

Ask if other groups have any questions for the ST’s about their buying behaviours

…. handy to have a couple more questions in mind – although normally it’s closing the conversation down and moving on

Whatever comes up you can always “add in” the types of thing you normally hear, (or omissions – the sales person): “typically, people with an ST preference focus on value for money ….”

You can also mention things you saw the group do which may have been typically of type

I’m assuming you know MBTI well enough to know typical responses / behaviours, and can facilitate this type of workshop.

Keep an eye on the time … approx 10 mins total per group.

Final 10 mins, “this may be about selling, but it’s also about influence, and how you can, pick up on the clues, and adapt your style…..”

reflect on learning, what are your next steps to integrate it


4 Responses to “Running a 90 minute Myers Briggs taster”

  1. Edmund Cross 05/03/2012 at 20:10 #

    Thanks Suzanne that is very helpful. I’m thinking about doing a taster session and this has helped my thinking. Have a situation where I could use taster and as I have recently qualified this is very timely. Thanks for sharing it. Edmund

    • Suzanne Hazelton 07/03/2012 at 13:04 #

      Hi Edmund, I’m so glad you found this useful. I appreciate you stopping by to comment too. If you would like any further clarification – please contact me. I would also LOVE to hear how you get on with your taster session … enjoy!


  2. Maureen 23/03/2013 at 05:42 #

    You have made my day! I’ve been asked to do a “taster” (though it didn’t occur to us to call it that). I’ve been having trouble narrowing down the information (yes, I’m an NP). You have saved me hours of work and even more of worry. Now I can focus on my content. Thank you!

    • Suzanne Hazelton 23/03/2013 at 11:38 #

      Hi Maureen, I’m absolutely THRILLED that you found this – and that it will save you time and worry! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. If you would like clarification – get in touch again! Best wishes with the session, Suzanne

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