How to teach The Personalities in a short time frame—Visible Clues

formula chart
A quick formula for teaching The Personalities

We are now ready to move into the meat of the presentation—starting with the “V”: the Visual Clues. This portion helps audience members quickly identify The Personality of others by observing their clothing, mannerisms/body language, and personal space.

As indicated by the chart above, to address The Personalities in a short timeframe, you need to get each Personality’s Visual Clues covered in about 3 minutes each.


We start with the Popular Sanguine as their characteristics are the most obvious to identify. Relay that to your audience and then jump right in.


Say: There are two key traits to watch for in the Popular Sanguine. The first is that they are “loud”—They have a loud voice. Add a quick story. As a Popular Sanguine myself, I tell about being shushed my whole life and share that, when at social events, my ex-husband used to kick me under the table and use his hand to indicate that I need to turn it down.

Next, they like loud clothes. Indicate that profession and upbringing play a role here as not all Popular Sanguines dress loud, but if you see someone wearing bright colors, chances are he or she is a Popular Sanguine. If you know the group, you may point out someone (who has already given you permission to mention them [Popular Sanguines usually love the attention]) who fits this who everyone knows. This usually gets a laugh and helps you connect with the audience. If you don’t know the crowd but see someone who is obviously dressed (clothes/jewelry) to fit the description, it is generally safe to comment on his/her clothing.


Open mouth—like to fill the dead air,

Under “Open,” there are three key points to make. Open mouth, open life, and open body language. Again, if you have one, add a quick story for any of these. Be sure to point out the following:

Open life—if you find yourself thinking TMI, TMI, you are probably talking to a Popular Sanguine.

Open body language—the touchy, huggy, kissy person.

Personal Space

Due to timing, this may be little more than a sentence: Their personal space is usually littered with personal paraphernalia.                                            


Next, move on to the Perfect Melancholy—which is the second most obvious to identify. Point to the chart and explain that how the different Personalities are placed on the chart is intentional as the Perfect Melancholy (remember, if you prefer, you can use the colors rather than the names) is opposite of the Popular Sanguine. Here, let the audience fill in the blanks.


Chart to use during teaching
The four squares

Because you’ve already addressed the ideas in the Popular Sanguine portion, you can go through these a bit more quickly. Of course, if you have the four-squares chart on the screen, the audience will see the key points and have the material in advance

Say: The Popular Sanguine is “loud” so, the Perfect Melancholy is…  Hold out your hand to indicate that you want them to respond. They should respond: “Quiet!” Affirm their response and reiterate that opposite from the Popular Sanguine, the Perfect Melancholy has a quiet voice and likes quiet clothing. Add a quick story or two if time allows. If you are running behind, you can always cut a story.


Again: The Popular Sanguine is “open” so the Perfect Melancholy is…” Go through the same three areas as addressed in the Popular Sanguine:

Closed mouth—the Perfect Melancholy really believes the adage “silence is…” Let them fill in.

Closed life—Perfect Melancholies operate on a need-to-know basis.

Closed body language—precise, measured, and thoughtful. As if you just thought of it, say: In fact, “precise” is a really good word to describe the Perfect Melancholy.


This is the third most obvious to identify, or the second least obvious. While there are some clothing and body language clues, the best way to identify the Powerful Choleric is the air when they enter the room.

Stress or Energy

Depending on the relationship with the Powerful Choleric, they may bring with them a sense of stress or energy. Here, demonstrate how the Powerful Choleric walks—with purpose and focus (often with a scowl on the face), without getting distracted along the way.

Body Language

There are some body language clues, three specific gestures.

Finger wagging “in your face.” Do a comparison between what they have already learned and what they are about to learn. The Perfect Melancholy is the greatest respecter space, the Power Choleric is the greatest invader of space. Ask the audience what happens when they are talking with someone who is “in their face.” They should respond with a physical reaction as they indicate that they back up. You as the presenter physically illustrate this. Ask one more time, again they’ll show the act of backing up. You do the same. If possible, have yourself backed up against a wall and say: If you are talking to someone and you find yourself backed up against a wall, no test is needed! You have yourself a Powerful Choleric!

Hands on Hips, usually accompanied by an expression that implies that you have done something really stupid.

Fist, usually pounding on a desk or wall for emphasis.

Clothes/Personal Space

While the most obvious indicator of the Powerful Choleric is above, the clothing and personal space clues are that he/she is generally more concerned with function over fashion.


Last, we look at the Peaceful Phlegmatic as they are the least obvious to identify. Be sure to point out that this is not because they are the least important.

Again, build upon what they already know to set up what they will learn. Review how each of the other Personality types lives life in the extreme (here I like to list some points implied, but not specifically addressed as it adds to their general knowledge):

Popular Sanguine—extremely fun-loving, outgoing,

Powerful Choleric—extremely strong, goal-oriented,

Perfect Melancholy—extremely scheduled, organized.

But the Peaceful Phlegmatic isn’t extremely anything! Instead, they are steady, consistent, and balanced. Therefore, the best way to identify the Peaceful Phlegmatic is by process of elimination.

Beauty Queen

To build up the Peaceful Phlegmatic—who may feel like they are in last place, I like to compare them to a “beauty queen.” Read more about this in Wired That Way, but the idea is that caricature artists/political cartoonists work with the subjects’ extreme features (I mention a few obvious ones—Clinton, Obama, Trump—and have the audience respond with what the features are). These prominent features make them easy to caricature. But, if you’ve ever seen a caricature artist try to draw the homecoming queen, the cartoon isn’t very funny as she doesn’t have those extreme features.


Also, because of the lack of obvious traits, the Peaceful Phlegmatic can adjust, take on roles, more easily. They can fit in where needed—like a chameleon. This makes them harder to identify by the Visible Clues. As intelligent human beings, they learn new skills and adapt.

Opposite the Powerful Choleric

There are some Visible Clues that will help confirm your analysis of the Peaceful Phlegmatic. Point to the screen to remind people that the Peaceful Phlegmatic is the opposite of the Powerful Choleric. When they enter a room, they bring with them a calming presence. They may be in a room for minutes before you realize they are there. Additionally, their clothing is usually the most comfortable range of what is appropriate for the event. Their personal space has everything within reach. Rather than getting up, the Peaceful Phlegmatic is the one you may see scootching across the room in the desk chair.

By now, the audience is with you. They get it and are picturing people they know. You do not need a lot of details. This completes the Visual Clues module. Say: Most of you have probably identified the Personality of the people with whom you live and work. Next, to help you affirm your assessment, we are going to look at the Various Clues.