Author and seminar speaker Dave Mitchell explains the styles of thinking for different personalities at the fifth annual West Coast Produce Expo hosted by The Packer May 9-10 in Palm Desert, Calif. ( By Amy Sowder )

PALM DESERT, Calif. — Dave Mitchell is a seminar speaker who doesn’t use a stage. He stands as close to his audience as possible and creates so much laughter in the room, it’s like ambient music.

At The Packer’s West Coast Produce Expo May 9-10, Mitchell told about 300 education session attendees that they need to look inward and explore their own thinking styles in order to become better at business relationships. 

“We are aware now that it’s entirely possible to have high self-esteem and suck. That’s based on artificially inflated self-esteem,” Mitchell said.

His talk was based on the insights of his latest book, “The Power of Understanding Yourself,” published this year and rated one of the top 100 business communications books on Amazon.

Since Mitchell founded The Leadership Difference in 1995, more than 300,000 people have attended his seminars covering leadership, selling skills, customer service and personal performance enhancement. Mitchell has a master’s degree in global human resources development and is an adjunct professor at University of Illinois. 

Mitchell’s session focusing on his previous book, “The Power of Understanding People,” at the 2018 West Coast Produce Expo was so popular, he was invited to return for the fifth annual expo.

At his session, Mitchell had each attendee fill out a three-minute self-assessment. 

“If you’re currently dating, it’s a wonderful screening tool too,” Mitchell said.

The quiz results placed each person in one of four categories of metacognition, which is an understanding of your own thought processes: the emotionally-motivated Romantic, the scoreboard-oriented Warrior, the data-based Expert and the idea-fueled Mastermind.

If your coworker is a Mastermind communicator, she or he can be easily distracted, Mitchell said. Don’t be offended if the coworker is like, “Squirrel!” Mitchell said, swiveling his head to the opposite direction. “He gets bored easily. He’ll be back if you say something interesting. So up your game.”

Each person has a secondary style too. Mitchell used movie characters as examples of the combinations of each person’s top two styles. For instance, a person who is a Romantic first and Warrior second is a Crusader like Mel Gibson in “Braveheart,” Hugh Jackman in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” or Jennifer Lawrence in “Hunger Games.”

“Romantics want to be appreciated. Warriors want to win,” Mitchell said.

Knowing your style of thinking and communicating can help you professionally, he said.

“The people who engage in metacognition are happier, healthier and perform at higher levels,” Mitchell said.

The talk engaged conference attendees to the point that they were discussing their results in the bathrooms and at lunch afterward.

“As expected, wonderfully entertaining,” said Shannon Shuman, publisher and vice president of The Packer.

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