- The Mystery of the Talkative Introvert
- Are You Harnessing the Power of Introverts?
- The Not-so-Secret Power of Introverts
- Learn to Value Silence in Your Work Culture
- Make Employee Feedback Comfortable
- Embrace Your Inner Ambivert to Unlock Maximum Employee Performance
- Nine Signs You’re Really an Introvert
- How to Use Introversion as a Secret Weapon in Your Career
- Productive down-time
- Better listening skills
The Mystery of the Talkative Introvert
The other day, someone said, “He can’t be an Introvert. He never shuts up.”
Ah. The seeming paradox of the “talkative Introvert.” We all know one. Perhaps we’ve even been one. They can be very confusing to their Extraverted friends and colleagues. One minute the chatty friends who appear to be just their fellow Extraverts suddenly withdraw to be alone. Are they mad or upset? No. They just want some time to be by themselves to recharge, as all Introverts must.
When the subject and the listeners are right, nothing stops many Introverts from holding court. The right social or professional circumstances can easily destroy the myth of the silent Introvert.
In fact, sometime Introverts are the chattiest people in the room. For example, lest we forget, all kinds of entertainers and public figures are Introverts.
If these people plan to sway large numbers of people as a celebrity or a politician must to succeed, they can’t do it by just standing there and looking pretty. (Well, there are some celebrities…
but we digress…) They have to speak. They have to speak a lot.
So, where does the confusion come in and why are some people perplexed by the idea of a talkative Introvert? Here are some things to consider:
First, and probably foremost, there is often confusion between Introversion and shyness. Introversion is about individuals finding energy and strength when they turn inward. They the quiet, controlled world inside their thoughts.
Introverts lose energy when they deal with the outward world. They are drained by outside stimuli. They are usually happiest when they are alone or with a small, quiet group of -minded people. It has little to do with fear of others.
It has everything to do with emotional energy.
Shyness, on the other hand, is about fear. Shy people are afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing in front of other people. They may put a lot of extra weight on what others think of them. It has everything to do with fear of others.
Since both shy people and Introverts tend to retreat, albeit for different reasons, Introversion and shyness can look a on the surface.
To further complicate things, if Introverts also happen to be Turbulent, they might also mimic a shy person by caring a lot about the opinions of others.
However, that is a product of the Turbulent identity and has nothing inherently to do with Introversion. Nonetheless with these similarities, it’s no wonder shyness and Introversion are often confused.
And yes, an Extravert can be shy, and that combination can be extremely painful. Imagine needing to reach out and, yet, for whatever reason, fearing to do so. But that’s a topic for another article.
Despite the resemblance, the distinctions are clear. Un shy people, Introverts are not necessarily bound by fear. If Introverts choose not to speak, it’s because they prefer not to rather than because they are afraid. The other side of that coin is that there is nothing basic to their makeup that stops Introverts from talking as much as they .
Second, in many cultures – especially in the West – Extraversion is the coin of the realm. Globally, it appears that more people are Extraverts than Introverts. Extraverts are the “face” of everything. They are the people we generally see. Their outgoing style makes such outreach natural. Consequently, research also suggests they make more money, have more friends and are happier people.
Since that’s the case, adaptive Introverts may find themselves behaving more Extraverts for social and professional gain.
It doesn’t make them any less Introverted since they will still crave their time alone to restore energy and to look inward for the answers to life’s questions.
Nonetheless, Introverts who choose certain paths may need, at times, to learn to “out talk” their Extraverted friends and colleagues in order to succeed. Because of this, they may speak a lot more than they might if the world were ruled by Introverts more Introverted standards.
Third, Introverts often have a lot of meaningful things to say – and it may come out all at once. They are generally deep, contemplative people. Why not share some of their thoughts? There’s nothing inherently Introverted about keeping these thoughts to themselves.
There are a lot of variations of the old joke about the pet dog suddenly speaking to his master after many years.
Of course, the surprised owner asks, “Why have you never spoken before?” The wise dog logically answers, “I didn’t have anything interesting to say.
” The pensive Introvert may hold the same philosophy as Fido about speaking. Silence is good, but when there is something interesting to say…
Thus “The Mystery of the Talkative Introvert” is solved. Or is it? You tell us.
Are you a talkative Introvert? Do you know any? Have we solved the mystery adequately? Please take a moment to leave a comment and share your experiences with talkative Introverts. We always love to read your thoughts and ideas.
Are You Harnessing the Power of Introverts?
It has been said that our world caters to extroverts. That we often fail to notice the quiet through the loud, and subtlety through the brightness. We often choose talking over listening and broadcasting our thoughts over engaging in real conversation.
But have you ever stopped to wonder what we’re missing in all the noise?
The Not-so-Secret Power of Introverts
If you haven’t watched Susan Cain’s popular TED Talk, The Power of Introverts, go watch it now — Cain’s insights are valuable to introverts and extroverts a.
In her talk, Susan speaks of the experience of navigating an extroverted world as an introvert, feeling as though introversion is considered a negative quality of leadership.
“It is our colleagues’ loss” she explains, “and our community’s loss, and — at the risk of sounding grandiose — it is the world’s loss, because when it comes to creativity and leadership, we need introverts doing what they do best”.
In addition to being excellent listeners that can help improve communication at work, introverts are also known to be highly creative and independent in terms of their work attitude.
Cain explains that research has found that introverted leaders often deliver better key results than their extroverted peers, because when introverts are managing the performance of proactive staff members, they are more ly to let those high potential employees run with their ideas.
Creating an organizational culture of respect in your workplace will go a long way towards harnessing the unique powers of both introverts and extroverts to improve employee performance.
In fact, Cain points out that some of the most creative minds of our time were profoundly introverted.
Research has found that these individuals are “extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic.
” Their ability to be alone without distraction and focus intensely on the task at hand fosters their creativity. As Cain explains so perfectly, “culturally, we’re often so dazzled by charisma that we overlook the quiet part of the creative process.”
But what does this mean in the workplace?
Learn to Value Silence in Your Work Culture
While introverted staff are less ly to speak up in meetings or other public forums, they are keen observers who reflect carefully on their words before speaking.
But unfortunately, this careful silence is often trampled on by extroverted colleagues anxious to get a word in, or worse — seen as a sign of weakness and disinterest.
So how can management and leadership tap into the potential for remarkable employee performance from these quiet thinkers?
Serial entrepreneur Ilya Pozin has managed his fair share of staff and had this advice to share in a recent Inc article: “Do not interrupt them.
Although this holds true in conversation with anyone, it’s especially critical with introverts: Since they take a lot of time to think before speaking, it is insulting to interrupt them once they finally speak up.
Cutting off an introvert is a great way to ensure they won’t want to respond to you in the future, so don’t do it.”
Creating a work culture of respect will go a long way towards harnessing the unique powers and unlocking the excellent employee performance potential of both introverts and extroverts.
Make Employee Feedback Comfortable
Managers who know that they have particularly introverted staff on their team might be wise to gently solicit employee feedback from the individual, offering them a comfortable way to introduce their thoughts into the conversation. That being said, introverts often require time to reflect on their responses — so avoid putting them on the spot.
Instead, change your management strategy and make the effort to set up alternative feedback channels that all staff — introverts and extroverts a — know that they can use at any time to share brilliant ideas or critiques.
Feedback tools and channels ( 15Five) allow team members the opportunity to go away from meetings and take time to reflect.
Not only is it more comfortable for them to express themselves, if you give staff time to collect their thoughts, you will be getting high-quality employee feedback and well-formed ideas.
Embrace Your Inner Ambivert to Unlock Maximum Employee Performance
Here’s the tricky part: extraversion and introversion aren’t two dichotomous ways of being — they are on a spectrum. And, in the middle of that spectrum, you will find the ambiverts; a person whose personality has a balance of introvert and extrovert features. /ˈambəˌvərt/
“Ambiverts are the people who are not too introverted and not too extroverted and are the most effective salespeople. Because they are the most attuned. They know when to shut up; they know when to speak up. They know when to push; they know when to hold back. I think most of us are ambiverts” says Daniel Pink in this post for Inc.com
According to new research conducted by Adam Grant at the University of Pennsylvania, these multi-faceted individuals might outpace their introverted and extroverted colleagues in certain areas when it comes to employee performance.
The study followed introverted, extroverted and ambiverted salespeople over the course of three months.
While the extroverts fared slightly better than their introverted peers in achieving work objectives, the hourly rate of the ambiverts exceeded that of the extroverts by 24%.
The lesson that we can learn from Grant’s research is that balance is the secret weapon to maximizing our personal, and our team’s, productivity. While we live in a world that tends to value extroverted personalities, it is important to remember that our introverted colleagues have desirable qualities that we can all benefit from in order to unlock our full employee performance potential.
Is your office environment introvert-friendly? Share your thoughts with the 15Five community.
Image Credit: Auntie K
Nine Signs You’re Really an Introvert
It can be difficult to admit to yourself that you may be an introvert. When we think of people as being introverted, we often wrongly assume that they are people who don’t people.
However, as Susan Cain so effectively showed the world in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, introverts can be warm, interested in others, and powerful in their own right.
Yet the stigma many still attach to being an introvert may lead people who have these tendencies to resist if not deny them within themselves.
These nine behavioral signs of introversion can give you a start in learning about traits and attitudes that suggest your own personality may be less outer-oriented than you realize. See how many you feel honestly apply to you:
- You enjoy having time to yourself. When you have the chance to take a break, you’d rather spend time reading, playing video games, or just listening to music. That quiet time is important to your sense of well-being even though there are plenty of times that you enjoy social get-togethers.
- Your best thinking occurs when you’re by yourself. You’re not opposed to group meetings or discussions, but if you want to come up with a creative solution, you need some time to work the problem out on your own. Having the opportunity to reflect quietly on a problem allows you to make the maximum use of your ability to engage in original thought and to produce results about which you can feel proud.
- You lead best when others are self-starters. Despite the belief that introverts are so quiet that they can’t step up to the plate and run things, under the right circumstances they can be the best leaders of all. If the group is ready to lead itself, then the introverted leader will draw the most potential them. It’s only when the group needs a spark provided by its head that introverts might be unable to provide the necessary guidance. Then you’ll need to partner with an extroverted yin to your yang.
- You’re the last to raise your hand when someone asks for something from a group. As you might remember from your elementary school days, there were some fellow students whose hands shot straight up into the air when the teacher asked a question or needed someone to volunteer. Extraverts tend to be ready and eager to stand out in any academic or social situation. You are probably more of an introvert than an extravert if you are content to sit back and let others take center stage. It’s not that introverts know less than others; they just don’t feel a particular need to be in that limelight.
- Other people ask you for your opinion. Just as introverts are less ly to volunteer in public situations, they are also less ly to volunteer opinions or advice in less public settings. Whether it’s a family discussion around the kitchen table or a staff meeting to decide how to market new products, people high in introversion will keep their views to themselves and let the noisy extraverts take control. Because of this, and because your advice may indeed be highly valued, it’s ly that if you’re constantly being asked “What do you think?” it might suggest that your behavior sends cues to others of your inner desire to focus your attention and thoughts inward.
- You often wear headphones when you’re in a public situation. Whether it’s making your way through a crowded bus station or just navigating a crowded street, if you’re an introvert you most ly don’t seek a great deal of contact with others. In decades past, if you wanted to avoid interacting with strangers, you would keep your head down and look straight in front of you. Now you have the added protection of your headphones (though no one has to know whether there’s actually music coming through them or not).
- You prefer not to engage with people who seem angry or upset. You’re ly to try to avoid people who seem they might be in a bad mood. According to research by University College London psychologist Marta Ponari and collaborators, people high in introversion fail to show what’s called the “gaze-cuing effect.” Normally, if you were to see the image of a person’s face on a computer screen looking in a certain direction, you would follow that person’s gaze—and therefore respond more quickly to a visual target on that side of the screen compared to when the person’s gaze and the target are pointed in opposite directions. Introverts show this effect just as extraverts do, but if the person’s face seems angry, they seem not to show the gaze-cuing effect. This suggests that people high in introversion might be less inclined to look at someone who seems mad. Ponari and her team believe that this is because they are more sensitive to potentially negative evaluations. If you think a person is angry because of something to do with you, his or her gaze becomes a threat.
- You receive more calls, texts, and emails than you make, unless you have no choice. All other things being equal, people high in introversion don’t reach out voluntarily to their social circles. If they have a few minutes to spare, they won’t initiate a call just to pass the time by socializing. Similarly, they don’t generate emails and other written correspondence but instead react to the communications they receive from others. It’s quite ly that if you’re a true introvert you would avoid jobs in which you have to engage in such outreach, such as becoming a telemarketing representative. If you have no choice but to initiate communications, such as when you invite people to a social event, you will be less ly to pick up the phone and make a call and more ly to send your request through text or the post office. This may relate to the desire not to be evaluated. By calling people, you risk being told “no” in person, which you may find demoralizing. When the request happens asynchronously (that is, not in real time), you may get the same turn-down but in a way that may allow you to save face, if not self-esteem.
- You don’t initiate small talk with salespeople or others with whom you have casual contact. It’s nearly impossible for you to imagine yourself being that the garrulous individual in front of you in line at the supermarket who chats with everyone about the weather. If you’re late or stressed, you don’t “leak” this information out to the people around you but instead just think it quietly to yourself as you mull over your plight. You may feel that it’s no one’s business but your own, or you may prefer to come your bad mood through your own personal stress-busting strategies. Either way, people don’t really know how you’re feeling or thinking at any given moment, unless you feel close enough to them to share these private reflections.
Being an introvert definitely has its advantages. You may be less ly to make a social gaffe, such as by inadvertently insulting someone whose opinion you don’t agree with. Because you enjoy reflecting on your own thoughts, you’ll be less ly to get bored when you're alone than someone who needs constant social stimulation.
The only risk you face is that people who don’t know you might think you’re aloof or that you feel superior to everyone else. Giving yourself permission to be a little more open in revealing your thoughts and feelings may help you make the best of both worlds, being true to your personality while not erring in the direction of seeming antisocial.
If, on the other hand, you’re an all-out extravert, you might benefit from practicing some habits of introverts. See what it’s not to be the first one to speak, take charge, or offer your opinion. It’s possible that allowing yourself to tap into your secret introvert may help you experience the world in a new, more reflective manner.
Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2014
How to Use Introversion as a Secret Weapon in Your Career
Why is it that only extroverts get to enjoy professional success? Extroversion is only one side of the same potentially valuable coin of personal energy utilization, and discouraged introverts are falling to the wayside. Rise up, introverts! Here are some of the most effective ways in which your unique perspective can help you become more professionally successful.
Being an introvert immediately gives you a greater capacity to reflect on yourself and figure out more valuable things about the way that you fundamentally work as a human being. In your solitude, you can come to a greater understanding about the machinations of your mind and how they can culminate into the kind of habits that are conducive to success.
The time that you spend on your own doesn’t have to be time that you spend just sitting on your hands and staring at the wall.
While you are recharging and alone with your thoughts, you can productively use that time to get things done that you may not have been able to during the bulk of the day.
From chores around the house to personal creative projects, indulging your introversion with a little bit of alone time can be great for getting more done.
Better listening skills
Because introversion means that you are less focused on just getting all of your words out into the air, being a good listener will come more naturally to you.
While a lot of extroverts are talented at getting people engaged in their interesting stories, people appreciate a person who makes them feel interesting even more.
As an introvert, you have an innate power to validate people with the feeling of being around someone who really cares about what they have to say; in many cases, this will make them want to interact with you even more.
Though many extroverts can have a very energizing aura, one of the downsides of always being “on” as the center of social attention is that it can steal attention away from the little important things.
Introversion lends itself to mindfulness, giving you a greater ability to step back and become fully cognizant of the minor elements in your surroundings and your state of mind.
Through mindful inward analysis of your environment, you can potentially gain an even greater ability to thrive in it than you would if you tried to actively control it with overwhelming outward energy.
Nowhere in a set of leadership program requirements will you find extroversion as a prerequisite for career success — only a “drive for upward career mobility” (WGU).
Mindfulness, productivity, listening skills, and self-reflection are all powerful tools of the successful introvert.
Just as extroverted people can utilize their personality to leverage more connections in their careers, introverted people are just as capable of using their unique disposition to benefit themselves professionally.
is a single mother and professional copywriter. She’s passionate about healthy living, loves hunting, and adores her two springer spaniels.