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All Things About Introverts: The Seemingly Mysterious Personality That Often Gets Misunderstood!

All Things About Introverts: The Seemingly Mysterious Personality That Often Gets Misunderstood!

A Sneak Peek To “What is an introvert?

Introverts – shy and withdrawn, mysterious people that don’t particularly need human interaction, or do they? With all of the buzz about introverts, extroverts and ambiverts going on lately, are we sure we are not jumping to conclusions regarding someone’s personality, and more importantly, how much of the information we have is accurate and not leading to generalizing and misconceptions?

There’s no doubt that extroverts are easy to spot and recognize since they are outgoing and tend to be the center of the attention. On the other hand,introverts tend to keep everything to themselves and don’t talk too much. They tend to be misunderstood as shy, not friendly and socially disconnected.

Finally, ambiverts are perceived as being in the middle with having some of the traits that belong to introverted, and some of the extroverted personality with neither personality being the dominant one.

Carl Jung defined introversion [1] and introverted people as being completely opposite from extroversion and extroverts. He explained that while extroverts are more prone to focusing their energy outwards, introverted people are more focused on their inner life, their subjective thoughts and feelings. With no single definitive definition of introversion being constructed to this point, it is no wonder that we are prone to misconceptions and generalizing.

However, there are a great number of works and research that have managed to analyze the introverted personality type and draw insightful conclusions.

Some Obvious signs of an introvert

Since they are more focused inwardly, introverts enjoy alone time. They thrive and find inspiration from taking the time for their favorite hobby. In those moments best of their ideas are born. As opposed to popular belief, introverts are a beneficial part of the team at work. Even though they would restrain from giving their opinion, and talk only when asked, their ability to think more independently provides valuable different perspective on the matter being discussed.

As far as daily social interactions are concerned, introverted people would most often choose not to get involved in discussions that involve people who show signs of anger. According to the research [2] by psychologist Marta Ponari and collaborators of University College London, this trait of introverts may come as a result of their sensitivity to potentially negative evaluations.

Most often introverts are wrongly judged as people who don’t enjoy social interactions that much. People can sometimes perceive them as rude or uninterested. This misconception comes from the introverts’ tendency to avoid being evaluated by others, so they would always choose not to engage in small talk with strangers, or people they don’t feel truly close with.

It is also a common misconception that introverts aren’t able to withstand leader positions. Actually, introverts have the potential of being great leaders and drawing the most potential out of the team, given that the team is comprised of people who don’t need extra stimulus to perform well. [3]

How Different Types Of Introvert Act Differently? 

With the more thorough research done on introversion, it has become clear that introversion is a far more complex term that has four subcategories. As the psychologist and academic Jonathan Cheek’s research done on 500 adults suggests, there are four types of introverts. Cheek has developed the STAR model [4] in order to explain the four main types of introverts: Social, Thinking, Anxious and Restrained.

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1. Social introverts

Social introverts tend to rely more on their alone time for regaining energy. As Cheek explains “The idea that introverts need to alternate sociality and their recharging time, that’s very important in social introversion”.

2. Thinking introverts

People who don’t necessarily shy away from social interactions, but tend to be more introspective and inward oriented are described as thinking introverts.

3. Anxious introverts

Most anxious introverts get described as shy, due to their anxiety when around other people. Anxious introverts tend to feel anxious about how they will be perceived by others and, unlike social introverts, the anxiety doesn’t stop when they are alone. Even though they like to be in social situations, they tend to over-analyze their words and behavior and worry about how they will be interpreted by their peers.

4. Restrained introverts

Inhibited, reserved, or restrained introverts most often think before taking any actions and lack spontaneity. They will most certainly decline a last-minute call to a party, because they like to make plans and sudden events make them uncomfortable.

How are introverts Different From Extroverts?

While Carl Jung was the first to coin the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” and provided theory explaining the main differences between the two types, later research showed the differences in the brain structure of the two types of personalities as well as the different ways in which they react to stimulations and recharge their energy.

Namely, extroverts possess lower levels of arousal, therefore they are always on the lookout for new exciting adventure, while introverts, possessing higher levels of arousal, will look for activities and situations that require lower levels of arousal. [5]

Additionally, extroverts are much more adventurous than introverts due to the difference in their brain structure. The pathway of stimuli of extroverts is shorter than the pathway of introverts, therefore the stimulation process of extroverts is shorter, making them “hungry” for more excitement.

Moreover, introverts would always choose a more relaxing activity for recharging, while extroverts are more likely to choose rewards through excitement. This has to do with the fact that brain of extroverts feeds on dopamine, making them feel pleasant only through challenges and excitement, while introverts’ brain prefers acetylcholine, which creates pleasure through introspection and more self-focused activities.

Extroverts are more aggressive. Does that mean they are more successful?

With introverts getting more positive press, it is refreshing to see the negative stigma surrounding them being erased. For so long, it seems our society has been praising extroverts as go-getters and great leaders and achievers, while introverts were considered awkward and underachieving.

Although at first sight introverts may seem like their performance career-wise may seem poor, their natural abilities to listen, stay focused and calm, provide them with great benefits and make them perfectly able to achieve great success.

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If we take a look at the lives and careers of some of the most successful introverts in a number of different areas, we will notice that introversion doesn’t in any way prevent people from being great at what they do. Some of the most famous and successful introverts of our time include

Albert Einstein

Bill Gates [6]

Steven Spielberg [7]

Sir Isaac Newton [8]

Mark Zuckerberg [9]

JK Rowling [10]

Meryl Streep [11]

Introverts: Core strengths and weaknesses

Focused and devoted in every situation, thoughtful to others, insightful and visionary at work, those are some of the common denominators for people with introverted personality type. These are, at the same time, their greatest strengths that make them irreplaceable and beneficial workers, partners, friends, parents…

On the other hand, being introverted usually means being perceived as slightly snobbish, or even rude to others. Also, the more inner focused nature of introverts makes them less likely to get noticed, make more friends or business contacts.

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What Are The Ideal Occupations For Different Introverts? 

There are plenty of great positions for introverts to thrive in depending on their natural abilities, education and preferences. As mentioned before, not all introverts are the same, therefore not every person with introverted personality will be happy in the same work position. However, certain occupations have been shown to better suit introverts as they require some of the natural strengths that introverts possess.

According to the four types of introverts, there is a list of potential jobs that would perfectly suit each type’s needs.

Ideal jobs for social introvert

  • Database administrator
  • Private chef
  • Electrical or electronic engineering technician
  • Commercial diver
  • Animal trainer

Ideal jobs for thinking introvert

  • Aerospace engineer
  • Industrial engineer
  • Computer programmer
  • Web developer
  • Video game artist
  • Fashion designer
  • Interior designer
  • Graphic designer

Ideal jobs for anxious introvert

  • Statistician
  • Commercial pilot
  • Technical writer
  • Accountant
  • Medical lab technician or technologist
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Audio engineering technician

Ideal jobs for restrained introvert

  • Physicist
  • Biochemist or biophysicist
  • Management analyst
  • Market research analyst or marketing specialist
  • Anthropologist or archaeologist
  • Creative or non-fiction writer or author
  • Wildlife biologist
  • Career or education counselor
  • Mental health counselor

How introverts can improve themselves?

Introverts can face many challenges, especially at work and in social situations. Since most introverts won’t speak first at meetings, or sound convincing on job interviews, their careers can suffer as those around them don’t always see their true potential.

There is a way for introverts to how their greatest skills at work while still staying true to themselves. At meetings, they can show their great ability to focus and show their insightful and creative side, and contribute to new ideas.

They can start by asking questions to get the pressure off, and then follow the impulse and speak on the idea. Furthermore, they don’t need to become social butterflies all of a sudden, yet they can use their natural abilities to create meaningful relationships, and use it to make a few genuine connections or allies at work that would help them shine. When it comes to nailing job interviews, introverts can be truly successful if they rely on their natural abilities to prepare well, think before they speak and listen to the person they are talking to.

Since introverts prefer one-on-one conversations to group meetings, they can use their ability to connect in these situations. Moreover, as introverts don’t enjoy talking about themselves, they can show their skills in a manner they are more comfortable with – they can imagine it as sharing instead of bragging.

How To Build Better Relationships With Introvert?

Here are some guidelines on how to understand and respect your introverted friend, partner, or a kid.

If you have an introverted friend

Introverts possess some of the best qualities that make true and genuine friends. In order to keep them around, make sure not to pressure them to hang out in crowded places, as they prefer more intimate atmosphere. Also, give them time to be by themselves to recharge, and time to think before making decisions. Keep surprise adventures at a minimum.

If you are in love with an introvert

Introverts are great partners as they can provide genuine love, support and thoughtfulness to their love interest. Since they don’t act before they think things through, their partners can be assured that they are the only center of their attention. If you are in love with an introvert, make sure to respect their need for private time, don’t interrupt them, and don’t force them to make quick decisions about your lives together.

If you have an introverted kid

If you are raising and introverted child, again, make sure to respect their ways of doing things. Don’t pressure them into making a lot of new friends, having a few, genuine friends is what introverts prefer. Help them cultivate their own skills and talents instead of pressuring them to take part in activities they don’t enjoy. Be aware that they won’t always ask for help, so make sure to be observant and present in order to offer your assistance when needed.

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Books you can read if you want to get in-depth knowledge of introvert

If you are interested in learning more about introverts, here are some great reading suggestions.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

    “The book that started the Quiet Revolution” is an ultimate guide on what it means to be introvert, how to care for one, and how introverts help the world go round, all filled with real life stories.

    The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney Psy.D.

      As the title says, The Introvert Advantage helps introverts overcome their weaknesses, realize their strengths in order to achieve success in every aspect of their lives. The book also debunks most common myths about introverts and provides better understanding of introverted personality type.

      The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling

        Another great piece of writing that empowers introverts to stay true to their nature and realize their unique potential.

        Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength by Laurie Helgoe Ph.D.

          In this truly powerful book, Helgoe inspires introverts to turn their natural strengths into their unique supremacy and show their invaluable geniuses to the world.

          The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Beth L. Buelow

            Insightful and actionable tips on how to become a super successful introvert entrepreneur without getting too overwhelmed by extroverted ways of doing business.

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            Last Updated on April 11, 2019

            How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

            How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

            Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

            I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

            I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

            Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

            How Communication Skills Help Your Success

            Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

            Create a Positive Experience

            Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

            When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

            What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

            Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

            As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

            Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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            Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

            Help Leadership Skills

            It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

            Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

            As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

            Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

            If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

            Build Better Teams

            Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

            In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

            If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

            When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

            Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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            How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

            There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

            Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

            1. Listen

            Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

            Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

            People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

            Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

            Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

            2. Know Your Audience

            Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

            Here is a good way to think about it:

            Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

            You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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            3. Minimize

            I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

            He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

            Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

            State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

            The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

            4. Over Communicate

            So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

            What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

            Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

            Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

            Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

            There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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            5. Body Language

            The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

            When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

            In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

            When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

            Conclusion

            Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

            Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

            There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

            Now go communicate your way to success.

            More Resources About Effective Communication

            Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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