What’s Your Preference, Sensing or Intuition?

Career DevelopmentPersonal Branding

Do you prefer to observe facts and realities or pay attention to ideas and possibilities? Identifying your personality preference for sensing or intuition helps in understanding how you choose to focus your attention.

One is not better than the other and, at times, everyone uses sensing and intuition to become aware of realities and ideas. However, one of these describes your preferred approach to the world. Highlight your personal brand by letting people know who you are and how you like to function in the world of work.

Using your personality

Personality type theory tells us there are two qualitatively different ways in which people take in information and become aware. People who prefer Sensing focus first on realities and data gained directly through using the senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling. People who prefer Intuition focus first on links between facts to generate new ideas.

For example, if you ask a sensor what time it is, they may say “2:13 PM”. Ask an intuitive what time it is an they may say, “It’s still early.” Or “We have lots of time.” The sensor is sharing the facts, as they exist, while the intuitive is immediately focusing on what the facts might mean.

Of course, all work requires you to use sensing and intuition. Everyone needs to pay attention to facts and possibilities. If you have a preference for sensing you will learn to use intuition to conceptually organize what you know. If you don’t anticipate the future, you may find yourself heading down the wrong path.

If you have a preference for intuition you will learn to use sensing to attend to the important realities and facts, otherwise you might set unrealistic goals.

Both sensing and intuition are equally valuable and necessary ways of paying attention to data and ideas.

To promote your personal brand, you will need to understand, relate to, and convince people who have either sensing or intuitive preferences.

Here is a description of the two preferences as well as tips for how to effectively communicate with people who have each preference.

The sensing approach

People who prefer sensing are most comfortable and at their best when they can draw on experience to deal with current situations. They observe the world, as it is, through their senses.

Words to describe people who prefer sensing include: observant, practical, realistic, experiential, and factual.

If you want to convince someone who prefers sensing:

  • Address immediate problems or opportunities
  • Draw on experience as a guide for next steps
  • Focus on realities, facts, and relevant details
  • Share information in a step-by-step manner
  • Find practical applications

The intuitive approach

People who prefer intuition are most comfortable and at their best when paying attention to abstract patterns and possibilities. They prefer to see the world as it could be, rather than as it is.

Words to describe people who prefer intuition include conceptual, imaginative, insightful, original, and inspirational.

If you want to convince someone who prefers intuition:

  • Address long-term problems or opportunities
  • Draw on ideas and possibilities as a guide for change
  • Focus on connections between and meanings of data
  • Show them a “big picture” overview
  • See future applications and implications

Understanding your preference for sensing or intuition helps you figure out your work style and create a brand that highlights who you are. Communicate your brand using language that appeals to and convinces both sensing and intuitive types.


Donna Dunning, PhD, is a psychologist, certified teacher, member of the MBTI ® International Training Faculty, and director of Dunning Consulting Inc. She is the author of more than a dozen publications, including her two newest books, 10 Career Essentials and What’s Your Type of Career? 2nd edition. Donna’s guiding principle is: Know yourself, respect differences, learn and grow. Follow Donna on Twitter and Facebook and visit her website.