Monday, April 6, 2015

Infographics Have Jumped the Shark

Okay. Time for a rant. I hate infographics. Always have. Most do exactly the opposite of what they intend to do. Instead of making the complicated simple, they make the simple complicated.

Case in point, this infographic from Top Management Degrees on Managing Introverts and Extroverts.

Let's take a look at some of the piercing insights that the colorful cartoons on this infographic provide me, a supervisor struggling to manage a group of complex and idiosyncratic humans.

First, I'm told that most of my employees actually fall into two main categories.

Extroverts, who make up 50-70% of the population, and Introverts, who make up 30-50% of the population.

Okay. But then I'm told that there's actually no such thing as either an Extrovert or an Introvert.

Such a person, should one exist, wouldn't be working for me. Instead, they would evidently be in an insane asylum.

No matter. Let's charge forward with a bunch of colorful pictures that will help me remember what skills my Extroverts and Introverts can bring to the table.

See those two green triangles? That's the picture that will help me remember that Introverts have self-regulation. And that swirly sun pattern inside the green talk balloon? Just glancing at that thing and I immediately understand that Extroverts can talk more abstractly.

But now that I understand them, how will I recognize an Extrovert or an Introvert when I see one?

Bingo! Extroverts like pretty dresses and Introverts like plain dresses. That will be easy to remember!

I could go on, but I won't. Just suffice it to say that when this infographic has anything of actual value to communicate (like some practical dos and don'ts for managing Extroverts and Introverts, or the complicated and self-defeating communications that occur when Extroverts and Introverts try to work together without recognizing their inherent differences) it does it the way almost all infographics wind up communicating them.

With lots or words and very few pictures.

Good thing they put that into graphical form, huh?

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This post was written by Eric Lanke, an association executive, blogger and author. For more information, visit, follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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