Are You Detail Oriented Or A Big Picture Thinker?


Are you detail oriented or a big-picture thinker? You most likely know the answer to this question. I’ve heard many people proudly state they like to look at the big picture, while others know they love going over all the minute little details when planning anything. Many of the personality tests available today look for where this tendency falls within individuals so that team leaders can better help their members collaborate with others. They understand them better…

By the way, if you’re unclear which camp you fall into, you can take a quiz here.

Here’s one description of the two types of thinkers: The big picture people tend to be creative, strategic, and visionary… but they can also be messy, disorganized, and forgetful. On the other hand, the details people are conscientious, planful, and exacting… but can lack perspective or fail to prioritize.

I found a few more tips that identify which is which:

Detail oriented:

  1. You triple-check your own work.
  2. You ask a lot of questions.
  3. You have an impressive memory.
  4. You work methodically.
  5. You produce high-quality work.
  6. You have perfectionist tendencies.
  7. You’re sometimes viewed as a micromanager.
  8. You’re the go-to person for checking things over.
  9. You need to frequently remind yourself of the bigger picture.
  10. You like to get granular before starting a project.
  11. You struggle with brainstorming sessions.
  12. You don’t accept the first answer.
  13. You’re the one who notices changes.

As for big picture thinkers:

  1. You can quickly see patterns in complex problems.
  2. You like to come up with new ideas and new projects.
  3. You have a low tolerance for busywork, tedious errands, and filling out forms.
  4. You are great at outlining what needs to be done but filling in the details can be exhausting.

Notice the detail-oriented thinker has a lot more descriptors.

Without a doubt, having both aspects would be the best for anyone, but is that possible?

I think so. For me, I’m a big picture thinker. No doubt about it. It’s what I love. I love the vision.I love creating and developing the strategies, and I love reverse engineering how we’re going to make things happen.

But I will tell you right now that if you want to be your own publicist, you must develop both sides of this equation. You must be a big picture thinker AND be detail oriented. There is a continuum and we all fall on it more toward one side than the other, so where do you need to be developing yourself?

There is another option though, and that is to hire someone to handle the vision and strategies for you, and/or someone to handle all the details for you. With the right budget, it can be done.

When I launched McCall Media Group, I had the big picture thinking down. What I needed was to develop the detail oriented skills because I could see that it was absolutely necessary. Eventually with some practice, I became quite good at it. Not because I love it. Not because I wanted it. Not because it comes naturally to me, but because I figured out early on that if you want to be successful promoting books, doing interviews, and creating major wins for your clients (which I ALWAYS want), then you have to pay attention to all the little details, including the clock and showing up on time.

Here are just a few examples of the details you need to track:

  • You have to have a way of tracking who you are following, e.g., various media folks, or other sources who have material that you need to stay up-to-date on. There are lots of different ways of doing this. The point is to do it. When tracking media in Twitter, I like to create lists and a different group for each client.
  • Track media you have reached out to, how you reached out to them, what pitch you used, when you sent it, and what your next action will be. I like Google spreadsheets for this.
  • Contact management software can be very helpful, but there are pros and cons. The only problem with it is when you make a connection, you have to take time to enter the information. Cloud-based options make this much easier, although there is something to be said for owning the information. Plus, subscription-based software has annual fees that need to be paid. Basically, you have to decide what will work best for you.
  • Media contacts won’t always get back to you when they say they will. You have to follow up. Sometimes again, and again, and again. And you have to track it.
  • Don’t make the mistake of sending your media contact what they asked for, and then using their return response as the indicator that you need to take the next step. If they don’t get back to you, and they may not, you have to reach out again. It really is on you because you don’t want to miss the window of opportunity.
  • Never think that just because you don’t hear from a media person that it means they’re not interested. It’s possible they aren’t interested, but often it’s because they got 100 emails on top of yours and forgot about you. They got distracted by something else, there’s a hard news story that got their attention, they just had a fight with their significant other.
  • Sometimes they’ll ghost you. I can tell you as the producer of a major podcast (Something You Should Know show), when I give feedback to a publicist or an author as to why a pitch won’t work for my show, occasionally they will argue with me and tell me why they WILL work for the show. Um, not a good idea.
  • Track time: What time zone are you in? What time zone is the interviewer in? Make sure you get this right, and then be sure you show up on time. Especially if it’s a live show. If you don’t show up, you will be bumped, and don’t be surprised if the producer never works with you again. I’ve said this before: they have the memory of an elephant. If the show you’re late for is recorded, they might wait, but it’s a very poor beginning.

I could go on and on about all the little details this work requires, but I think you get the idea. Having a system in place will make your life, SO MUCH EASIER. Whether you’re a big-picture thinker, or you’re detail oriented, if you want to have a successful book campaign, you need both.

To your success!


P.S. Ready for spring!! Ready for sun, ready for nice weather, ready for Covid to be behind us (not there yet, but wanting it!), ready for a fun song! This might do it.






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