Just because someone’s quiet, doesn’t mean they’re powerless. Actually, there’s a great deal of energy in the art of restraint.
This is my message to the Gaston County Teacher’s Conference in North Carolina today. Very different from my speaking session for the New Mexico Medical Association last week, where I taught Ten Effective Ways to Gather Delicate Information. One of the reasons my speaking topics are so diverse, is because of the differences between environments, circumstances, client needs, and people personalities. This brings me back to our introverts.
Since the nineteen eighties, teamwork, groupthink, and the benefits of extroversion have dominated most teaching models. Though I believe in the effectiveness of listening and learning from each each other, I’m afraid our enthusiasm has dampened the celebration of those who are made to create in less exuberant ways. Let’s face it, fifty percent of human personalities are introverts.
So how do we draw on their gifts in our noisy, hurried society? Knowing who they are at their core helps.
- They think before speaking versus thinking out loud.
- Become mentally paralyzed when asked a question without a chance to prepare in advance.
- Take an average of seven seconds to process a question — Whereas an extrovert typically expects an answer to start within three seconds.
- Are often mistunderstood as being less intelligent than their outgoing counterparts — They are simply cautious about who, how, and when they share what they know.
- Where an extrovert will use passionate descriptors like awesome, amazing, and absolutely fabulous, an introvert will express their pleasure with adjectives such as fine, okay, and it’s good. Don’t mistake a lack of visible excitement for absence of enthusiasm. On a scale of 1-10, an extrovert would rate “fine” as a 2, while an introvert might rate it an 8.
- Will wear less demonstrative facial expressions and body language. It’s harder to read what’s going on inside their heads.
Taking the time to listen, watch, and care about what’s going on inside the mind of introvert is the start of tapping into their powerful talents. Next week, I’ll detail other ways you can help draw communication, creativity, and compliance from the personality group I call the Silent Rebels. It’s foolish to mistake their quiet demeanor as making them pushovers. They can display very stubborn traits.
Start with acknowledgement and appreciation for the introverts in your life. Too often they are overlooked and treated as if they are invisible, or what they say isn’t as important as someone who speaks more loudly. But this isn’t true.
Even though I’m a strong natural extrovert, I’m learning from introverts. Their power lies in wise use of solitude and silence — something I’m not necessarily comfortable with, but definitely need more of. After all, if God says something’s good, who am I to argue?
Ecclesiastes 9:17, “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.”
What do you think about our promotion of extroverts in today’s society?
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, national speaker. She’s the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Christianbook.com, plus many fine stores, Christian and otherwise.
ristianbook.com.She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, a client of WordServe Literary Group, and the Simply Sue Speaks booking agency. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
Anita likes to lounge by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with with her husband of thirty years, Ricky.