What your email style says about you and how to communicate more creatively


Do to others as you would have them do to you

It’s a Golden Rule. I love its universality and its simplicity. In our recent Insights Discovery workshop in India*, with delegates from a mixed bag of faiths and traditions, this rule stood its ground and resonated with everyone.

However, when it comes to communication, we need to take this rule a step further.

Improve on the Golden Rule!? I hear you gasp. Don’t worry. I’m not talking about changing the essence of the rule, just its application. Stay with me. Our different personality preferences cause us to want different things out of our interactions. People who are action-oriented, extroverted, and direct want you to speak up, cut the fluff and get to the point. People who are analytical, precise, and reserved would rather you send them an email with all the detail laid out in a logical manner.

So, the tweak to the rule is, “Do to others as they would have done to them.”

Are you giving them what they want or what you want?

Last week, I caught up with a client in a cafe. I wanted to check in with her team following their Insights Discovery Foundation workshop.  Had they implemented the learning, or had it faded completely from their minds?  As we chatted and sipped coffee, I was delighted to learn that the workshop was hugely impactful for her. It shifted her thinking and she had immediately begun to apply the lessons into her work life. “In the past two months, since completing the workshop, I’ve completely changed how I write my emails to the executive team,” she said. “I’m getting so much more traction with them.”

What changes did she make?

Could you be inadvertently frustrating your colleagues or your clients with your communication style?

Here’s a very brief guide on how to use personality profiling for better communication

Step 1: Ascertain the personality style of the person you are communicating with

If your team hasn’t done an Insights workshop and you don’t know your colleagues’ primary colour energy, then look for clues in how they appear. Perhaps you are communicating with a client. Time to be a detective!

The four Insights Discovery personality preferences (or colour energies) describe the very broad stroke categories of human behaviour. These were first identified by Hippocrates in 500AD and have been observed and refined over the ages by many generations. The Insights Discovery system is a robust and scientifically tested psychometric assessment based in the work of Carl Jung.

Insights Colour Energy

Cool Blue

Earth Green

Fiery Red

Sunshine Yellow

Their style





















Personality style





Decision making







Step 2: Take note of your own communication style

Take a few moments to think about your preferred communication style across all your communication channels.

  • Email: are your emails brief or waffly? Do you punch them out quickly or take your time, re-read and if necessary, re-write them? Do you worry about how they will be received? Are your emails personal or formal?
  • Instant Messages: are your WhatsApp or other instant messages short or long? Do you use full sentences and proper punctuation or single words? Do you send videos or voice messages? Do you use gifs or emojis?
  • Phone: do you typically start out with lots of chitchat and personal catch up or do you get straight to the point? Do you ask a lot of questions or do most of the talking? Whilst they are talking, do you listen carefully, or are you waiting to respond with your point, story, or request?



Step 3: Understand how they like to be communicated with

This table provides some high-level communication preferences for the four broad personality categories.

Insights Colour Energy

Cool Blue

Earth Green

Fiery Red

Sunshine Yellow


Give me details.

Show me you care.

Be brief. Be bright. Be gone.

Involve me.

What they want

Be well prepared and thorough.

Be patient and supportive.

Be direct and to the point.

Be friendly and sociable.


Make emails structured, logical. Support with facts. Attached necessary information.

Add humanity and warmth. Take time to build trust. Focus on relationship building.

Keep it short. Use bullet points. Be crystal clear on the outcomes and the response you want from them.

Make emails enthusiastic and positive. Agree exactly what needs to be done.

Instant messages

Stick to facts. Follow up with email.

Ask don’t tell. Add a personal touch. Give them time to respond.

Less chit chat. Expect short replies.

Engage with them. Feel free with emojis and gifs.


Don't be too light-hearted or superficial.

Don’t cut them short. Listen carefully.

Do not jump between topics in an unstructured way.

Don’t overload them with irrelevant information.




Step 4: Adjust your communication to suit their style

Now its over to you to adjust your communication style. Adjusting your style is not about compromising who you are or being fake. It is about making the most out of your interaction with this person. If they know your style, they should also be making some adjustments on their side.

So, what did my client do?

She leads strongly with earth green energy. Her second colour energy is sunshine yellow. consequently, she took ages writing her emails. She added lots of chitchat asking people how they were doing and how their kids were. She used flowery sentences and warm greetings. She put in unnecessary detail.

In the Insights workshop, she learned that half of the executives she deals with lead with fiery red energy, the other half lead with cool blue energy. Armed with this knowledge, she now keeps her emails to the executives leading with fiery red energy short and to the point. She uses bullet points and make sure she focuses on results and outcomes. She’s cut the waffle. To her executives leading with cool blue energy, she makes her emails less touchy feely and more practical. She thinks of all the questions they may ask and provides lots of data. She makes sure they are logical and she sticks to the facts.

Its your turn

Don’t get stuck with one way of communicating. Be creative and flexible and try this approach with your communication this week.

We’d love to hear how it goes!


* We want to say a big thank you to the Global Insights Discovery team for gifting 20 Insights profiles with Foundation and Management Chapters to 20 leaders at My Choices Foundation. Your generous gift has enabled the team to improve their self awareness, team communication and communication with the victims of human trafficking and domestic violence who they serve. 

Chat with us about discovering your personal profile to make the most of the relationships that affect us at work and at home. We can also use Insights Discovery to help you with unlocking the potential within your team to build a more resourceful and innovative organisation. 

To find out more about how we can assist you or your organisation with Insights Discovery profiles, contact us at [email protected]or read more about Insights Discovery here.



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