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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, Friends! Inspired by the "Sensors" thread in the forum, I thought I would write some ideas on understanding the communication differences between Sensors and Intuitives, and how to communicate with both effectively and with confidence!

I've found that it's useful and possible to cater one's communication to the people or the person that one is with. If I am with a Sensor or Sensors, I will adjust my communication style. If I am only around Intuitives, I will adjust my communication style. When it's a mix of both, I have another way to communicate, and I will share how it's possible to do that. For the INFPs, who often struggle to confidently communicate, and get their message across effectively, the following can be some ideas and keys to becoming a confident communicator both around Sensors and Intuitives.

...Let's say that I am sharing an experience of a solitary hike that I took, and I am wanting to communicate that the hike was difficult, but the payoff at the top of the mountain was rewarding after overcoming my struggles. Here is a fictive story, told in a particular way for the Sensors first, and then Intuitives, as I might do in person. Bear with me!

Sensor Communication: In telling the hiking story to the sensor, I will keep in mind their thirst for specific and tangible information that will help them to understand the experience better. As I share the difficulty I encountered I will draw upon the specifics:

"It was in the upper 30's that afternoon when I arrived at the start, really cold, and I had not dressed warmly enough. After about 20 minutes of climbing the grade, I came to a stream, about 10 feet wide, and the water was extremely clear and rushing quickly, and I scanned it to see if I could find a way across without having to contact the water, and I saw a few small rocks on the surface that I could try to jump across. I jumped out onto one, but the next one was about 5 feet away and was only about 1 foot in circumference. I hesitated, because I wasn't sure I could make it, but I leapt onto it and one foot slipped off and I fell into the stream, getting water nearly up to my waist! I frantically moved toward the other side and got out. Thankfully I had brought another pair of pants in my backpack and I changed them, but not before acquiring a significant chill that discouraged me and turned my mindset more negative, but I was determined to persevere! I had another 1/2 mile to go to get to the peak, but the trail was narrowing on account of the vegetation that was growing over the trail, a mix of pine branches and blackberry briars. I knew that trying to climb through these narrow corridors would be difficult and painful, so I looked around for something to help fend off the briars, and I found a large stick, about the size of a thick walking stick, and i held it out ahead of me to push the briars and branches to the side as I stepped through, but not without a few rogue thorns sinking their malicious little points into my legs. I was encouraged by the challenge, so I traipsed on, and after about a half hour I made it through the narrow corridor and the trail opened up to a rounded, grassy peak, with frost still lacing the shadowed areas, and the orange evening glow of the sun touching the landscape. As weary and cold as I was, seeing this beauty put those feelings in the back of my mind and I charged to the peak and sat and watched the sun set. I thought about how each difficulty made this reward so much sweeter."

(In this version, I added specific facts about each difficulty, and information about the surroundings so that the Sensor can picture the scenario in their mind. Because the Sensor will understand my point about the difficulty and payoff more when they understand the specific nature of the difficulties, I put extra detail and emphasis on detailing the difficulties and detailing the information about the beauty of the finished hike.)

Intuitive Communication: In sharing the story with an Intuitive or Intuitives, I recognize I can be more general in expressing the specific difficulties, and can instead focus more on their general nature and their effect, which allows the intuitive to focus more on the point I'm making:

"I arrived at the start of the hike in good spirits, even though it was really cold outside. I thought if I hiked hard enough I would have no problem staying warm, but I wasn't very well prepared. I hiked for about 20 minutes and then came to a large stream, and I thought, "How am I going to get across this and stay dry?" I saw some rocks and was hopping across but I slipped and "ker-BLOOSH"... got soaked to my waist. I had an extra pair of pants with me, but I was so cold that I started wondering if this was really worth it. I thought, "Should I just turn around? It's probably not even going to be all that pretty anyway." This setback was getting in my head, but I told myself that the perseverence would be worth it, no matter how great the beauty was at the end, simply because of the valor of determination. I continued, but lo and behold, a dark and forbidding narrow corridor, with thorns and branches reaching across to grasp the flesh of anyone who dared venture in. So I ventured in with stick in hand, and fended off the loathesome, thorny fiends, stepping over them, ducking, and evading their reach. A few of them sank their points into my legs, but I annihilated them quickly with a few deft swings. This adventure, though difficult, was inspiring me and urging me on; dissolving the previous thoughts of hardship. At last, I emerged from the tunnel of tumult and ahead of me was the shining, golden hill, beckoning my forth to claim my victory. I charged up it and reveled in the feeling of accomplishment as I watched the sun set, happy to have overcome the negativity to claim the reward.

(In this version, my focus was on developing the theme of difficulty/payoff, and enhancing it with language that colors the idea of battle and courage, and finally tying the theme off with the short description of the payoff. Using somewhat surreal and exaggerated language to describe the thorny corridor expresses and makes more visible my mindset and the nature of my experience, which helps keep the Intuitive connected)

Sensor/Intuitive Combo: When communicating at length about anything in a group of both Sensors and Intuitives you don't want to simply engage a couple of people with the communication, and lose the others - you want to pull them all in. Partly from observing the great Extraverted Feeling traits of the ENFJ, and from other analyses, I picked up on a couple of keys that help to keep everyone engaged! I will not create another version of the story, only share the keys:

Body language - Everyone, both Sensors and Intuitives, respond and engage through body language. When you are sharing, invite the connection through your body language. Make eye contact with everyone around you as you share, without analyzing how well you think they are responding. Eye contact for the sake of it is the most important thing. Sitting up or standing up straight and leaning forward at punctuating moments takes a commanding position that triggers listeners' minds to follow you and listen to your words.

Tonality - If your own tone is monotone and you sound unenthused by your own words, it subconsciously signals others to feel the same way, even if they want to listen to you. As you speak, think of it almost like a song, because in a sense, it is. When you come to phrases that emphasize your point, let your tone bring emphasis to it and let your body language reflect it with gesture or facial expression as best as you can. With key words, if you puntuate the word and briefly pause before continuing on, it triggers the listener to absorb it and to listen on. My ENFJ aunt does this well. She might describe an experience, cresendoing her voice to the punctuated word: "I walked into the museum, and I looked to the side and right there was the most BEAUUTIFUL sculpture.....I-have-ever-seen." With this kind of puntuation, you excite the listener, and they become eager to hear where it goes from there. Even if you aren't natural at this, you can learn to develop it.

Balanced detail/ideas: Because you are providing extra emphasis to your communication through body language and tonality, there is less pressure to over-feed either the Sensors or Intuitives with their preferred goodies. Mindfully add a few key details for the Sensors so that they can be grounded in the idea or scenario you are sharing, without adding so many that you start losing the Intuitives. Freely develop your idea, theme, and meaning, using the associative language and/or figures of speech that you enjoy to stimluate the Intuitive. You can do so without frustrating the Sensors with an endless flow of associated ideas and speculation.

For the Intuitives who are reading this, since your natural communication style is Intuitive, don't feel inhibited by Sensors. Develop your communication how you normally would; simply remember to remain mindful of points where Sensors will likely be desiring some specifics. Even when you are elaborating on a concept, tie it in to the usefulness and practical purposes of the concept. This opens up the possibility for them to consider the specifics that will help them make sense of your concept. They use these specifics like ingredients that will help them to form a sensible recipe of what you are saying.

For the Sensors who are reading this, since your natural communication style is Sensory, don't feel inhibited by Intuitives. You can share information as you normally would, but remember to stay mindful of tying in the "why" into what you are saying. It's important for the Intuitive at regular intervals, to understand the idea that your specific information is connected to, so that they can connect to the importance of what you are sharing. Intuitives are more interested in the general nature of the recipe, and the ingredients serve as specifics that enhance their understanding of and appreciation for the recipe. When the Intuitive doesn't understand what the ingredients are for, or how they tie in to the recipe, it becomes confusing.

Confidence: When you are speaking to a group of people, confidence IS the key. To exhibit the appropriate body language, voice tonality, and communicate your thoughts effectively, you need to exude confidence in your position as speaker of the moment, and confidence in what you have to share. For the INFP this can be particularly difficult when self-confidence is low, or social communication is underdeveloped. There may be a fear that things will suddenly become awkward, or an impression that nobody cares about what you are sharing. The irony here is that when you believe this, you will likely create awkwardness, and you will also likely lose people's interest, because your body language and tone will start to say, "I'm not so sure about myself right now," and when you seem to lack a trust in communicating with others, they will not be as likely to feel invited to connect to your communication. The secret is to disregard those impressions, avoid trying to analyze people's response while you are talking, and to embrace your role as the speaker. Once you do, it becomes empowering. You will recognize that with each gesture, vocal emphasis, and pause, that you can guide people's connection with you, and inject the points that you most want to emphasize. Even if those present didn't find strong connection to the substance of what you shared, they still connected with you, and the communication was successful in that regard. Particularly strong communicators sometimes have the ability through their charisma to say very awkward and controversial things without creating any actual awkwardness in the group because of the confidence of their body language and how they say it. It tells people, "Hey, I don't feel awkward about anything, why should you?" and in many cases they follow this subliminated suggestion.


Good, stimulating conversation can be achieved between the Sensors and Intuitives if both are mindful, when in the speaking role, to cater to the communication style of those present. Doing so can be a simple thing, and one need not abandon their own communication style. For the INFPs, through adopting appropriate mindfulness, confidence, and useful body language, you can be confident in your ability to connect with others and experience the satisfaction of knowing that your message has been heard.

375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
simply amazing. i'm guessing this post took more than 30 mins to come up with.
Well, the outline was about 30 minutes, but you know how it know all of the concepts you want to write about, but it takes time to word everything and write it out, probably 1.5 hrs, but it's good because it is helpful to myself to take concepts and write them out and refine them because it encourages me to expand their practical application in my own life. When something is more amorphous in the mind, it does not develop as many neuronal connections and real-life relevances, but upon writing it out the mind bridges connections that each point relates to. And it's a good feeling to share and consider that it may benefit another.

I'd like to invite others' thoughts, observations, and concepts regarding:

INFP communication
INFP communication with Sensors/Intuitives


Have you adopted different approaches to communicating with Sensors or Intuitives?

What are communication techniques that you have found effective?

How have you struggled to communicate effectively, and have you found a solution?
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