Dealing with colourful personalities

Dealing with colourful personalities

Short-tempered, too patient, waffly or blunt. There is a myriad of personalities you come across on a day to day basis in the working world. Our New Business Director Tim West shares his thoughts on the colourful people you may meet and how he learnt to tailor his demeanor to make the most of an opportunity.

Business would be so easy if we didn’t have to deal with one of the most difficult and unpredictable of all commodities: other people and their odd personalities.

Take myself for example; I’m all too familiar with that look of « Oh God, he’s one of those extroverted types. It’s Monday morning and this guy seems like he just rode in on a candy cloud of hyperactivity, » be it from colleagues or clients.

I get it. I didn’t used to, but I understand now.

Since becoming Way To Blue’s New Business Director, I’ve had to greatly improve my analysis of who I’m pitching to and then craft my presentation into the perfect pitch for their personality (sometimes with varying degrees of success!).


I was fortunate enough to be given some training in the Insights Discovery System recently and I’ve started to use it – not only in our pitching process, but in dealing with people in everyday life. Think of it as a scaled down version of the famous Myers-Briggs analysis. Note, this is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ method – humans are complex and peculiar creatures. None of us fit perfectly into a specific personality profile. Unless you’re a robot, each of us have our own set of traits that shape our energy, our outlook and various factors such as whether we are people or task orientated.

So, how do we recognise the different types and make the best of individual personality traits? This system uses a very easy to understand model of four colour energies that describe each personality.


Positive, Affirmative, Bold, Assertive Competitive, Decisive, Strong-willed, Demanding and Task/Goal focused

Red personality types can be some people’s nightmare pitch scenario. They are the classic alpha, assertive type and can come across as abrupt – but only because they haven’t got time for fluff, “just get to the point already!”

In the past I’ve noticed they also tend to power dress and certainly don’t have to time for too much small talk; they are positive, reality-oriented and assertive. They are single minded on success. They may well approach others in a direct, authoritative manner, radiating a desire for assertiveness and control.

The pitch: Fiery Reds know what they want, so be direct and bold. Present a few key facts to support your point and make damn sure you emphasise what the ROI is going to be. Summarise your key points and then shut up. Don’t engage in irrelevant chitchat and don’t try to change their mind once they’ve decided on a course of action.


Still, Tranquil, Calming, Soothing Sharing, Patient, Amiable, Caring and Encouraging

Earth Greens personify what it means to be a team player. They are people-orientated and tend to fall more towards the side of being introverted. People with a strong preference for using their Earth Green energy can be slow or reluctant to modify their personal values despite the apparent logic of an argument or situation. So while they feel secure being involved in the action, they don’t want to stand out or cause a fuss. Other character types see them as indecisive, which isn’t fair. They can often have strong opinions, but just don’t want to push them on others. In fact, because of their concern for other people’s welfare greens can act as a useful barometer to the ethical consistency of your organisation’s actions. They are generally considered peacemakers, but when things go wrong, you can be taken aback by their strength of conviction.

The pitch: Earth Greens understand you! When you see this energy in action, it is calm, quiet and supportive. Earth Greens have your best interests at heart, and will generally give you the benefit of the doubt. They don’t tend to respond well to ideas that could be considered as risky. They also tend to avoid one-on-one situations, so you’ll likely end up pitching to a group as a result. They tend to control situations by deciding things by consensus, getting buy-in to projects, building harmony and loyalty, so that in times of strife they want to know you and your team will have their back.


Social, Dynamic, Demonstrative, Expressive and Creative

This is me. I’m a Sunshine Yellow through and through. Extroverted and people-orientated, this type of person is much more chatty. They are consultative, compassionate and often charismatic. They can be dreamers and tend to not back up their creative thinking with a rational and well thought-through execution. I’m still working on toning down the way I express myself in pitches.

The pitch: Personal care and attention means a lot to yellows. They enjoy the company of others and believe that life should be fun, so maybe try injecting this in to your presentation. I’m not saying go full ‘method actor’ here and change your meeting room in to the Amazon Jungle if you’re pitching to Amazon. But try presenting with some extra attention, inspire and excite them by showing how you understand their brand and are passionate about taking on the challenge that’s been set.


Showing no bias, Objective, Detached Cautious, Analytical, Precise, Questioning and Formal

Cool Blues tend to live their lives according to the principles, facts and logic they find in reality. They process the world through data and detail and because of this, people wrongly see them as nerdy or cold. This is a mistake. Blues often like to analyse all the possibilities to ensure they will avoid making an illogical or ill-informed judgement.

The pitch: Don’t try style over substance – they’ll see right through you. As a Sunshine Yellow, Cool Blues are my polar opposite. One thing to remember with Blues is that they will have done their research, so make sure you’ve done yours. If you can’t answer their questions, DON’T try to blag it, find someone who can. They’ll appreciate you respecting their diligence.

Tailoring your pitch to different personality types will more likely help, rather than hinder success but please keep in mind that no individual fully encompasses one and only one colour type. People tend to share a few traits from the other colours with one emerging as the dominant type.


Use the above as a guide, or discard it completely, what do I care? I’m a Sunshine Yellow and have an adventure to plan!