Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's an Introvert?

Recently, I have been writing a lot about being an introvert. One of my blog readers asked what exactly do I mean by "introvert". How can I tell who is an introvert? Therefore, in this post I want to cover this incase others are asking the same question.

As we go through life, some of us express primarily introverted tendencies (e.g. quiet, reserved) and others extroverted tendencies (e.g. talkative, outgoing). Yet for others, it's situational where for example, he (or she) may be very reserved at work yet when he is at home or say giving a presentation at work, he may exhibit more extroverted characteristics.

When I refer to introverts in my posts, I am referring to those who express introverted tendencies majority of the time. The best way for me to define what I mean by introvert, is for me to ask you some questions. If you answer yes to majority of these questions, that are below, you are an introvert. So go through these and see for yourself as to where you fit in:

  • Does the thought of having to work a room make you want to avoid the event all together?
  • Do you tend to live more in your head, playing with ideas and concepts?
  • Are you generally on the quiet side?
  • Do you prefer to communicate via writing over talking?
  • Do you tend to think first, then think some more and only then talk?
  • Do you enjoy, and actually even prefer, being alone?
  • Do you tend to avoid invitations to speak publicly?
  • Have you been referred to by words such as distant, serious, unemotional, cold, detached, aloof, inflexible, picky, pessimistic, hesitant, inflexible, dull, boring, arrogant, snobbish, stuffy?
  • Do you prefer to say read or work on your laptop, as opposed to attend a networking event or social gathering?

As I was growing up, the word introverted was often used with a negative connotation. For example, I recall someone saying "you're such an introvert" and it was said with a sarcastic tone. Others have referred to me as "being quiet as a mouse", little did they know my mind was running 100 m.p.h. and I was absorbing everything.Therefore, based on my own experiences, being an introvert certainly wasn't viewed as the cool thing to be. I must admit that there have been times I have wished I was an extrovert, where I could be all cheery and the life of the party.

In my experience, we introverts are often misunderstood and mislabeled. Sometimes even viewed as dumb and certainly not as leaders. Personally I believe we possess numerous strengths that are of great value to organizations. Therefore, through my posts, one of my desires is to bring attention to the positive side of introversion, so others come to better understand us and see us for what we truly are and what we have to offer.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about introversion and/or have your own stories about being introverted and what it's like for you, I would love to hear from you. So please do write. Thank you.


Joelsef said...

Hi Vinay,

I just found your series of blog posts about introverts and I think they are wonderful. Thank you for writing about this topic!


Vanessa Joan Bell said...

Hi Vinay,

I really appreciate that you have written so much on introverts in sales. I'm a young professional looking to challenge myself and get experience in business, so I'm planning on moving into a business development role. I'm nervous, and I think the common mentality is that you have to be an extrovert to be in sales, but I can see how I can use my inherent nature as an introvert to my advantage. Your blog posts inspire me, and I'm sure I'll refer to them often as I start my Business Development role.

Thank you!!