Mental Models - Interviewer vs. Volunteer 🗣
You might enjoy this as a simple and lighthearted idea. Or it might profoundly affect how you perceive conversations.
What is an Interviewer? And what is a Volunteer?
This model suggests there are two kinds of conversationalists: ‘Interviewers’ and ‘Volunteers’. Writer McKinley Valentine explains in her post:
Everyone knows about Interviewers. These are people who like to be asked lots of questions … And if they like you, they’ll show it by asking you lots of questions.
I’m not an Interviewer. I hate being asked a tonne of questions — it makes me feel like I’m being interrogated. Instead, I like my conversation partners to offer up information about themselves, and then leave a pause so I can offer up some info about myself in return. “Offerer” is clunky so I call this type a Volunteer —as in, they freely volunteer information.
Why is this interesting?
It’s useful to know which way you lean. The post has good advice to help you work it out. Ask yourself - how do you feel about talking about yourself?
If you feel it’s arrogant that might be a clue you have more of an Interviewer approach, but if you feel it’s being vulnerable it might suggest you have more of a Volunteer approach.
Interviews are relatively easy to identify by all the questions they ask. Volunteers can be less obvious, Valentine explains:
“a Volunteer will say “I like x because y…” They’ve revealed personal information and then left a pause which allows you to contribute your own response but doesn’t force you to, because there’s no direct question.
I lean more towards Volunteer. I wish I was better at asking questions. I have a habit of asking questions in indirect ways, by making a statement intended as an offer for comment. This has got me in trouble at times with Interviewer types, who think I’m disinterested!
What about you?
Want to go deeper?
🔖 Read the full origin post: How to Salvage Awkward Social Situations by Understanding Conversation Styles
💎 Yes, of course it’s never that simple! It’s a good time to remember this:
All models are wrong, but some are useful.
- George Box
🧠 Build your latticework! Revisit related mental models:
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