In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking author Susan Cain discusses what she calls the “Extrovert Ideal” or the notion many of us intrinsically hold that extroverts make better friends and are better at many jobs. She goes on to explain that by overlooking the introverts among us we ignore an immensely valuable resource. Just because someone has a lot to say, doesn’t mean their ideas are any good. In fact, in many situations you may do better with an introvert in your corner for these six reasons:
1. They are more direct
When time is of the essence and you need to make a decision an introvert may make the best leader. Introverts won’t waste time brainstorming and confusing the situation by presenting to many options. Instead an introverted leader will hone in on a practical solution and get the ball rolling to achieve results quickly. Sometimes an introvert is the key to efficiency.
2. They encourage everyone to contribute
By being willing to take a backseat in the conversation department and by keeping their explanations brief and to-the-point introverts pave the way to get every member of a group contributing. They will often even explicitly find the other people in a meeting who are being less chatty and encourage them to share their thoughts. Since introverts spend so much time thinking about ways to support their ideas, the quietest members of the team are often the ones most worth listening to.
3. They can recharge their own batteries
While an introvert may feel physically exhausted following a dinner party where they were forced to interact with a large group of people, that introvert can also boost their own energy levels back up to where they need to be energetic. Quiet time away from other people leaves introverts rejuvenated and ready to get back to work. This skill can make introverts more effective in the workplace. Instead of needing to take breaks to have conversations with co-workers to get their energy levels up, introverts can sit quietly at their desk and achieve the same result. The upshot is fewer people need to stop working to get the ball rolling again.
4. They are great at networking
Imagine a big conference with lots of different people from lots of different places coming together to network and share ideas. Sounds like an introverts worst nightmare, right? Wrong. Introverts are actually often the best networkers because they are more attuned to listening and more selective about who they talk to. By not wasting time talking to people in irrelevant fields or people with unoriginal ideas, introverts focus on having conversations that carry the most value. Once they are engaged in those conversations they are more inclined to let the other person speak. They ask questions to keep the conversation going and the result is that people love talking to them.
5. They make great friends
Because they are more selective about who they talk to, introverts often have small circles of close friends. That means that they can be more attentive to the people in their inner circle. Having more conversations with fewer people means that the things that get discussed are important. If you are friends with an introvert they are likely one of your best friends.
6. They think before they act or speak
In order to express an opinion and act on it, introverts need to give it a lot of thought. They carefully weigh the pros and cons and spend time imagining every different scenario that could play out by following a given path. The result is that their decisions are often better ones and the courses of action they choose to follow are the most effective.
Featured photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski via flickr.com