Personality Types: The Reactive Person


The study of personality types is something very interesting — but more important than that you will be able to present information to them in a way that is compatible with them. And thus, you will be able to motivate, influence and even manipulate them.

Reactive people tend to wait for others, or wait for something to happen first before they do something. They wait until the time is right.

They tend to believe in chance or luck or fate. They can also be very cautious and might have a tendency to overanalyze things. If you ever heard of paralysis through analysis — these are the people who will be most likely affected by it.

Reactive people tend to speak in long and convoluted sentences. They use a lot of conditionals like «would», «may», «might», «could» and «should». They also use lots of infinitives. They often sit calmly for long periods of time.

Reactive people make for great analysts or researchers or even for customer support, because that is a job where they typically have to respond to other people’s requests. But they typically are not good for sales jobs or positions where action needs to be initiated.

They also tend to feel under pressure or stressed when they are required to take action. When you have reactive people in your team, they will be good for slowing things down, analyzing situations, preventing mistakes — but they are not good at accelerating the process.

You want to structure your language in a way that is compatible with them. For example, say: «I would like you to think through what needs to be done and then just do it.» However, there is a caveat too — if you do not give them a deadline, then they might keep thinking and thinking and thinking. So tell them until when they should take the action.

Also, when you sell something to reactive personalities, they will often say that they want to wait until… something else happened, somebody tells them something, and on and on. They will use all kinds of reasons to postpone their decision. What you can do then is to ask them: «What do you think will happen then?»

Another thing you can tell them is to say: «Haven’t you waited long enough already?» Or you can say: «Once you have this, you will understand why…». These are so effective because they all target directly at their core motivators, they push their hot buttons.

James T. Parker