Despite what you probably think you know about introverts, we’re not shy and we do in fact enjoy talking quite a lot. It’s just that we’re also quite comfortable relishing in quite moments of introspection, and activity that would drive many extroverts nuts. It’s because of this trait that introverts are tremendously good at brainstorming creative new ways to solve problems.
While it’s true that I find an amazing amount of fulfillment from activities like reading, thinking, and playing various musical instruments (I’ve recently been teaching myself some Jack Johnson Chords on the guitar), it’s not because I’m shy or have some sort of fear of public situations. I find that these moments of solitude and focus help me to recharge for moments where more direct social interaction is required.
Roughly 60% of the “gifted” population consists of introverts, while only only 25%-40% of the general population is introverted.
At a seminar I attended a few years back, the host called me out as an introvert on the third day of the coursework. I readily admitted that I’d rather have a root canal than be forced to give a public presentation, but I also said that I thought such an admission was likely a characteristic of most people in the room regardless of personality type.
Did you know that fear of public speaking is the number one fear in North America, second only to death? That’s a pretty powerful statistic, and it shows that even people who claim to be extroverts have their limits, but I digress. Admittedly I was more than a bit uncomfortable when she chose to focus the attention of all the other attendees on me, despite the fact that she was highly complementary. She made the observation that I had sat in the back of the room for the first two days of the conference not saying a word, but instead taking in all the content and the interactions and conversations between the other attendees. However, she mentioned that when I did finally speak, it was a very profound observation that added genuine value to the conversation.
The seminar focused on the value of ensuring that your company was made up of many different types of people, from various walks of life and personal experiences. We can’t all be type A extroverts itching to wine and dine prospects while chatting incessantly about the frivolous and mindless details of everyday life. In fact, having an office entirely comprised of any one personality type is far more likely a recipe for disaster rather than sucesss.
The Powers of An Introvert
- Quite Time – Introverts tend to value and derive strength from moments of silence, and even solitude
- Organized – While extroverts are more likely to “wing it”, introverts generally prefer to carefully prepare for any undertaking. A trait that can lead to a more focused and complete output
- Great Listeners – Introverts are able to carefully process and connect with the ideas and feelings of colleagues as they seek to understand rather than simply waiting for their turn to speak.
- Great Writers – Introverts will often select writing as a method of communication over speaking when the subject matter requires more thought, contemplation, and planning. This is highly beneficial in cases like addressing complaints, or documenting procedural understanding between departments of an organization.
Are you an introvert? In what ways has it helped or hurt you in your professional life?