May 20

Crystal Knows: Communicate better with personality insights

Update to my Update…

Seconds ago, I finally heard back from Crystal.

We’re not being sold or going out of business. We’ve been heads down trying to improve the product.

Right now, the free plan is now geared towards improving internal communication (people you know and work with) and helping people learn the DISC framework.

The paid offering (Expert) is geared towards external communication (sales/biz dev/etc).

Hmmm…. I’m still not convinced. Their price changes put it out of the reach of many of my followers, and the product itself is still inconsistent. I’m going to hold off on recommending them but still keep an eye open.

Update Jan. 13, 2017: Oh, Crystal. What is happening to you? Crystal stopped updating its social media in September, which is usually an indication that they’re in talks for a sale or they’ve run out of money. Plus, they abruptly changed their pricing structure again (probably the fourth time since I discovered them?), and the statistics they had about me are fluctuating quite a bit: my personality scores keep changing and their “confidence” score decreases from one report to another.

What’s worse, I’ve written to them three times (email and Twitter) to try to get answers, and no one is writing me back.

For now I’m going to stop using Crystal in my presentations until it looks like they’ve stabilized.



Did you know that I respond well to emoticons in written communication? 😉

Or that I’d like to chat a little about this and that before we get down to business?

Or that you should schedule a meeting with me around food and drink?

Although I haven’t spent that much time on self-analysis, it was no surprise to me that when a new service called Crystal analyzed my personality based on my online presence and writing, it declared that “Beth is social, creative, trusts feelings and gut instinct more than rules or logic, and loves talking about ideas.”

Crystal about Beth So True

Crystal is a creepy tool. It scours  online profiles and returns recommendations for talking, writing and selling to our contacts. Crystal will tell you to keep a meeting open-ended when you talk to Richard Branson. Or get straight to the point with communications with Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer. And if you’re talking to Mark Zuckerberg, add some self-deprecating humor to show him you don’t take yourself too seriously.

The system is set up to analyze online content and immediately categorize people into one of 64 personality profiles. I searched several of my friends and colleagues, and I found generally positive results, with some hits and misses. Crystal lets you take a 10-question personality quiz to help it analyze your personality, and if you verify a relationship with someone, you can answer questions about others as well. Some of the descriptions were almost mean at times, such as a reference to a colleague as “scatter-brained” or a comment that maybe one friend tended to talk too much. Those things may be true, but ouch. Crystal nailed my personality: If you used Crystal to sell me some oceanfront property in Arizona, I’d sign the contract by Friday.

Crystal missed some important points with my husband’s personality — probably because he’s not as active online. Yes, he’s stable, diligent and perceptive. And he certainly isn’t fond of change. But if you expect to lead a conversation with him, the bulldog lawyer in him will chew you up and spit you out.

Crystal on DJ

This afternoon I’m going to put Crystal to the test. I’m having a conversation with a prospective client. Crystal advised that I use the words “value” and “fair” when we talk, and that I keep the conversation more formal than informal. She suggested that I don’t reschedule at the last minute, and that I don’t use hyperbole to make my points (I’m the BEST speaker you’ve ever heard!). These strategies are easy enough to implement, so I’m going to give it a try.

With the Gmail plugin, Crystal promises to help you craft better emails based on your contact’s personality. I tried out their email builder, and I wasn’t impressed. Crystal advised me to be informal and friendly, and the fake email I wrote was anything but. The only warning it gave was that my email was too long when I had pasted a bunch of text about bananas from Wikipedia (a bunch of text about bananas… get it?).

Beth Crystal Email

When I composed a note to my assistant, Molly, Crystal gave me advice about a woman named Mollie with the same last name. I don’t know this Mollie, but I wasn’t communicating the way Crystal wanted. (I masked her identity just in case you know this Mollie.)

Wrong Molly

I’m on the free preview version of Crystal, and I don’t imagine I need it enough to pay a monthly fee (starting at $19/month). For $49/month, it would be interesting to see Crystal’s take on relationships, which is supposed to give insights into how my personality would interact with others’, and recommendations for better relationships.

At any rate, I found Crystal to be fun to play with and potentially helpful. You should watch my quick video to see how it works.


collaboration, communication, email, meetings, resources, social media, templates, utility, writing

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