Do This For Me

On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is Strongly Disagree and 5 is Strongly Agree, please rate how much you agree that each of these six items describes you:

  1. Has a presence in a room.
  2. Has the ability to influence people.
  3. Knows how to lead a group.
  4. Makes people feel comfortable.
  5. Smiles at people often.
  6. Can get along with anyone.

Leave your ratings in the comments.

Thank you.

34 responses to “Do This For Me”

  1. Any chance that you would take email replies, Mark? Your readers likely trust you and want to help you, even without knowing the purpose of your request, but my instinct is that we should not add anything to the public data about us that can be accreted, packaged and sold, data that potentially leaves us open to worse exploitation (somewhere on the spectrum from sales calls through voter suppression to jackbooted Stasi heroes breaking down the door). You do post our real names after all. I often get spam email conducting “opinion” surveys from companies I have never heard of and marvel that anyone actually answers those.

    • Having worked in the display ads group at google I can assure you that’s not how any of this works. In order to scrape this information you’d need to write special code just for this one question on a random blog and you’d never have enough data points to make useful predictions with it.

      Frankly, there is more useful data for analysis in the comment you just posted than in answers to these questions. Your comment, after all, reveals a great deal about your word choice and sentence structure which can be used to predict education level, wealth etc.. In contrast, a list of answers to these 6 questions wouldn’t be useful for any statistical model (unless it gets answered by millions of people) nor interesting enough for people to manually make use of.

      • Thanks, Peter Gerdes. Point taken and appreciated. But I still think a good security principle is to not volunteer too much information. Anyone planning to apply for a job (or run for office, or date) might want to think twice about expressing a strong political opinion, tweeting and retweeting on controversial matters, having a Facebook page, etc. No? Your own answers to #4, #5, #6 might cost you a date or an interview for a particular kind of job (maybe sales). Would you answer differently (lie) if you were desperate to be hired as a used car salesperson? My guess is that if Mark Bennett (whom I have never met, knowing him only from his interesting blog posts) posted his own answers here, the first three questions would be scored 5, and questions #5 and #6 would be low. I imagine that however a courtroom attorney answered #4, he or she would wish it were higher. And this: if I were facing trial and searching potential attorneys, I think I would reject any whose answer to question #2 was a 1.

    • My stance on anonymity has softened a great deal since I last wrote about it. Anonymity is still an excuse for shoddy thinking, sure, but the social consequences of speaking even well-thought-out unpopular truths can be so momentous for most people that I sympathize with the urge to remain anonymous.

      I’d like to be able to connect answers here with people (like dick) whom I know pseudonymously on Twitter, but even strictly anonymous truthful answers may contribute to my understanding of the field.

  2. Assuming 3 is neither agree nor disagree (i.e. have about average version of that trait)

    1) 4
    2) 4
    3) 2
    4) 1.5 (I’d rate myself a 3 if it’s about making people feel comfortable when that’s my aim but I rarely feel that’s the top priority)
    5) 2
    6) 2

  3. Maybe I misread? I took you to mean “when we want to” or “when we’re ‘on’.” If that’s what you meant, I’ll stand by my initial answer–these are all skills I’ve been actively working on for over a decade. I’m a natural at some, and have had to work hard at others.

    I’m an introvert who has learned to operate in an extrovert’s realm. It’s exhausting, though, and to recharge I have to retreat into solitude. (My extrovert wife LOVES IT when I’m in trial.)

    If we’re talking about natural tendencies (or druthers/comfort zone), my list would look more like:
    # 1: 4
    # 2: 2
    # 3: 1, if you mean “knows how” literally, but 3 or 4 if you mean “naturally emerges as the leader of a group”
    4. 2
    5. 1
    6. 1

    I think my talents on ## 4-6 are the product of being the eldest child of a divorce, and the volatile personalities I grew up around. I was the peacemaker. Today, my bedside manor with clients is one of the skills I’m proudest of. They regularly tell me that I’ve made them feel better about an objectively bad situation (#4).

    I’ve always been smiley–people have commented on it since I was a kid (#5). I’ve also always subscribed to the “catch more flies with honey than vinegar” theory; being shitty to people rarely pays. It’s not that I have no capacity to be shitty–I am pretty effective at predicting which verbal punches will land–I just usually feel bad about it after. And again, it rarely gets me closer to getting what I want. (#6)

  4. 2
    4 (Professionally, I work with some giant egos; everyone gets treated the same. I may not like you, but you get professional service, no matter how big an asshole you are.)

  5. Has a presence in a room.
    Has the ability to influence people.
    Knows how to lead a group.
    Makes people feel comfortable.
    Smiles at people often.
    Can get along with anyone.

    1. 5
    2. 5
    3. 4
    4. 4
    5. 2
    6. 1

  6. 1. 2

    2. 3

    3. 3

    4. 4

    5. 4 (I used to be about a 1 or 2 until recently because my relaxed happy face does not convey how I’m actually feeling. I used to get asked quite often “what’s the matter?” or even “what’s your problem?” when in reality I was feeling rather content inside. I’ve been making a conscious effort to smile more at strangers, but especially at the people I frequently interact with. It seems to be improving outcomes.
    Although I’m on hiatus from engaging on Twitter I regularly look in on your Tweets on this subject with great interest, (as well as your thoughts on determinism.)

    6. 4.9 (does this have to be reciprocal to count? I’ve gotten along just fine with some folks only to learn later on that they didn’t care much for me)


  7. Considering the recent insights I have had about the depth (time into the past) and breadth (things affected) of my mental health issues, this may be only a curiosity, but I’ll play along. With the prelude out of the way, I will provide my answers in an off/on format for each category, followed by a brief explanation of what I mean.

    1) 1.5/4 (for better or worse)
    2) 2.5/4
    3) 2/5
    4) 1/4
    5) 2/3*
    6) 3/3.5**

    The reason for the dichotomy is because until I have established a positive relationship or have other reason to feel confident and comfortable, I’m not good at all but the last two, and #4 needs to be qualified by adding that while I’ve never felt much drive to be a leader, when the opportunity presents, and I can take charge, things get done, and morale goes up. Whatever that means.

    *I don’t smile frequently, but if keeping up a mildly amusing patter of small jokes that make people smile counts, bump both up by one.

    **This is a guess, because I have seldom had a clear picture of what went wrong, when things don’t work or when a relationship falls apart. That’s further modified by if I’m the leader, and if my followers decide to buy in. They usually do, and in that case, I can generally figure a role for everyone who will play ball, even the touchy/antisocial types. So in those situations I can get along with most people.

    My apologies for the length, but with my heath issues in play, very little is easy to get across accurately.



  8. You get straight fives from me. All I know about you is from what I read on your blog, and I admire the combination of intelligence, horse sense and guts to take the stands that you do. So, in short, I’d hire you even if you turned out to be a complete asshole. 🙂

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