The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: "Communicating with Professionalism" with Professor Jennifer Sargent

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This ongoing series explores sessions of the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) through participant narratives. MLDP is a one-term program designed to develop citizen leaders among sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Dartmouth College. Led by expert guest speakers each week, sessions employ experiential teaching techniques to engage students through hands-on learning of core management and leadership skills.

When considering the unbelievably vast breadth of different personalities and the unique effects of combining them in social interactions, the prospect of communication can seem a little intimidating. Personality tests help one to understand the nuances and complexities of personality and to make sense of not only others, but also oneself. As such, personality tests are fascinating.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the most powerful personality type instruments. It measures people’s preferences with respect to four areas: where they receive their energy from, how they take in information, how they make decisions, and how they orient to the outside world. The MBTI was the focus of this week's MLDP session, entitled "Communicating With Professionalism" and led by Professor Jennifer Sargent, a Visiting Professor of Writing at Dartmouth.

Professor Sargent addresses an audience at the Rockefeller Center.

Professor Sargent taught us that “Understanding your preferences allows you to gather, evaluate, and decide effectively.” This is essential to everything one does in life, but it’s especially applicable to communication. It’s crucial to know who you are and how you operate in order to comprehend how you’re perceived, as well as what style of communication works best for you. By mastering an understanding of oneself and how one interacts with those around them, it's possible to cultivate skills for professional, functional, and flexible communication and collaboration.

This was my favorite session of MLDP so far. Part of that is my interest in personality studies, but I also loved the opportunity to reflect on who I am, how I became who I am, and how that influenced the way I get along with other people. Professor Sargent’s emphasis on embracing your type while also cultivating and perfecting it was very empowering, and it made me look at my personality as a flexible and moldable tool I simply have to master. After the session, my friend Annie and I went to her room and talked about our results and the lecture for over an hour. We had a feeling of clarity and direction that gave us an intoxicating burst of energy and a readiness to move forward with a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.

-Written by Elizabeth Klein '17, Fall 2014 MLDP Participant

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