Tag Archives: extraverts

Why extraverts struggle with networking

After leading a webinar on Introverts’ successes and struggles in the job search, I received an email from one of the attendees. He is a self-professed Extravert, which made his message more interesting.

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One of the topics I address in the webinar is networking, which Introverts find challenging; maybe more challenging then Extraverts. This gentleman stated that he finds networking challenging, but for a different reason. His email follows.


“Thanks Bob, but I am an Extrovert. Why are there no webinars for Extroverts? Are we by nature considered better, complete networkers, or are Introverts so needy that they are the only ones who need help?

Frankly, networking is difficult for everyone and even Extroverts (Extraverts) could use advice regarding restraint, listening and coming across as more gentle and not overwhelming people. I have had to learn that, but a webinar on it would be cool and different. Just an idea as there are lots of classes for introverts.”


To help my attendee answer his question, I elicited the advice from my colleague, Edythe Richards who is an MBTI Master Practitioner.

Your client is partially right. “Networking [may be] difficult for everyone.” There is an assumption that because a person prefers Extraversion, they are outgoing, love talking to new people, and love interacting in the world.

There is also an assumption that Introverted types are shy or socially awkward and therefore don’t want to network. Either, or both of these may or may not be true for reasons that have nothing to do with what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator measures.

Let’s be clear about what Extraversion and Introversion really mean. Extraversion means being energized by the external world, receiving energy from interacting with people and taking action, speaking freely and vocally, and getting restless without involvement with people or activities.

Introversion means being energized inwardly, participating in selected activities, enjoying private spaces, proceeding cautiously, and getting agitated without enough time alone or undisturbed.

All of us use both in our daily lives. And there’s one that comes much more easily and readily to us than the other.

There are many cases where people use their non-preferences effectively, and I venture to say networking and communicating with agility is a skill everyone must develop in order to be professionally successful.

Some networking areas where Extraverted types can benefit from Introverted types:

Active listening. Extraverted types may favor a “speak-think-speak” approach, whereas Introverted types may favor a “think-speak-think” approach. As a result, Extraverts (Es) may unknowingly end up talking over the Introverts (Is).

Es need to tune in to what the other person is saying, and resist the urge to relate the Is experience to their own. Practice being with them in the moment.

Deep connections. Es may favor quantity over quality. Is are selective about the people they allow into their circle of trust. At networking events, one quality connection often ends up being more beneficial than 20 superficial ones. Is who practice quality over quantity report increased trust and loyalty in relationships.

Gauge the pulse of the room. Because Is are often reflective and contained, they may be able to pick up on nonverbal cues Es miss. While the Es are chatting, Is are thinking or planning the things they’ll say at just the right time. Es who are able to slow down and analyze the situation before acting, won’t say something they’ll later regret, and the Is they’re talking with will feel respected.

A couple reminders for Extraverts about Introverts:

  • Just because Is aren’t talking doesn’t mean they aren’t having fun. Is preference is to think before speaking. When they want to speak, they will.
  • Is need their alone time, and this has nothing to do with Es. As much as Is may like going out (in small doses), they need quiet time to recharge in order to feel like themselves.
  • Be patient. There’s no need to pressure an I to speak. Take a few pauses, dial back the enthusiasm factor, and they will naturally open up and feel good about doing so.

I hope this helps!

-Edythe


It is self-evident that Extraverts can find networking challenging. It’s also true that Extraverts and Introverts have their own style of networking.

My webinar attendee makes a great point, however; why aren’t there more webinars–and for that matter, books, articles, workshops, etc.–addressing the struggles Extraverts have with networking?

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5 phases of the extravert’s journey to an interview

We rarely see articles on how extraverts* can succeed at getting to interviews, but we often see articles directed toward introverts on this matter. In fact, I can’t recall self-help articles, let alone books, for extraverts (Es).

100 Strangers

100 Strangers

This said, Es need to focus on their strengths and challenges that get them to interviews.

It all begins with research

Es prefer to gather information through oral communications. Which is great if there are other job seekers or people currently employed to help them through this process, i.e., people with whom to network.

Extensively researching the job description and networking with people in the company can aid Es in writing their résumés, as they should be tailored to each job. Understanding the required skills and responsibilities is essential.

Research will continue in the job-search phase, as Es need to be prepared to talk about their knowledge of the company and quite possibly the industry and the interviewers themselves.

A strength of Es is the willingness to reach out to people in the companies for which they’d like to work. They are more apt to pick up the phone than their counterpart. They are also more inclined to ask for networking meeting, which are very valuable in terms of networking.

A challenge for Es is taking the time to research. It’s said that the Es tend to act before thinking; perhaps by not putting the effort into their written communications and thinking they can just wing it in an interview. They could take a lesson of their counterpart who do extensive research throughout their journey to the interview.

Writing compelling job-search marketing literature

This is a phase of getting to the interview where Es need to focus. While they are quick to act, they need to write résumés and LinkedIn profiles that show greater detail and effort. More to the point, their job-search marketing literature must demonstrate accomplishments that are quantified.

Many people have told me all they need to do is get to the interview and then they’ll be able to sell themselves. My response to this is, first you need to get to the interview, so your résumés needs to be the bait to get you there.

Es are professionals when it comes to disseminating their job-search marketing literature, though. They are not shy when it comes to handing their literature to hiring managers or having a neighbor or friend do it.

This brings us back to research. Es will have to dedicate extensive time to reviewing the job description and write accomplishment-laden résumés that speaks to employers’ needs and pain points. The same applies to their LinkedIn profiles and cover letters.

Read: 10 reasons why recruiters and hiring managers dread reading your resume.

Now it’s time to network

Networking can be intimidating for anyone. The word connotes gathering in a large group of people you don’t know and being forced to converse with them. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Networking should be looked at as “connecting with others.”

Keep in mind that one’s preference for introversion or extraversion is about energy level. It’s not about one’s ability to speak. Es generally have more energy than Is.

Is are considered to be great listeners, while Es feel comfortable making small talk; a strength Is envy. Here are things Es have to consider when talking with people:

  • Networking is a two-way street. Don’t go to an event expecting only to receive. Go to give as well.
  • Approach people with the appearance of confidence but don’t come across as arrogant.
  • Ask questions. People like to be asked questions about themselves.
  • Always bring personal business cards. This very popular article explains why they’re needed and what to include on them:
  • Finally, don’t assume networking can only occur in a formal setting. Other great ways of connecting with others is reaching out to the community and inner circle.

Es have a tendency to take control of conversations, which can be annoying to Is who are prone to go into listening mode. There gets to a point where the Is withdraw from the conversation and need to escape.

The ever-important interview

This is where researching goes beyond the job description. It now includes the company; industry/competition; and interviewers themselves, if Es are good. Real-time labor market research, e.g., networking, is sometimes the best way to gather important information.

Building rapport with the interviewers

This comes natural for Es. They come across as confident and outgoing. Interviewers gravitate to this. However, some interviewers might be put off by Es who come across as schmoozing. Their small talk and lengthy answers can be a detriment.

Be ready to answer tough interview questions

This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say.

Having researched the position, company, and the competition, Es should be prepared to answer tough interview question, such as behavioral-based ones. They should have their stories ready structured in the STAR format. For those unfamiliar:

S is the situation

T is the task in the situation

A is the action taken to solve the situation

R is the result of their actions.

Read this article to get a better idea of behavioral-based questions.

Thinking quickly on their feet

This is a strength of Es. They can process information and deliver answers quicker than Is. Marti Olsen Laney, The Introvert Advantage, explains: Is “have a longer neural pathway for processing stimuli. Information runs through a pathway that is associated with long term memory and planning,”

This doesn’t mean Es answers are more accurate; but their quick answers might give a sense of more confidence.

As with networking, Es need to be cognizant of over-talking. Many recruiters and hiring managers have told me that they’ve ended interviews early because candidates were not delivering concise answers.

Finally, follow-up

Here’s where Es could take a lesson from their counterpart, who feel more comfortable communicating through writing. There are well-stated rules for writing follow-up notes:

  • The thank you note/s must arrive 12-24 hours after the interview.
  • Every thank you note needs to be tailored to each interviewer. No formatted notes allowed.
  • Do more than thank everyone for their time; put more effort into it, such as bringing up a point of interest that was mentioned during the interview.
  • Also send a thank you note to the recruiter. They greatly appreciate them, and it keeps the recruiters in your network.

Failing to send a thank you note is failing to conclude the interview. I’ve been told by recruiters, HR, and hiring managers that they appreciate thank you notes. They really do. A few of them have said that not sending one can disqualify job candidates.


*Over the years I have received many rants about how I spell extravert. People tell me it should be extrovert. Both are acceptable spellings. I spell this dichotomy this way because Jung did. It’s just a matter of preference.

Photo: Flickr, Arnab Ghosal

The truth: introverts and extraverts are wired differently

Guest author Edythe Richards

Two of the most common misunderstandings of the Extravert-Introvert dichotomy is that 1.) Introverted types are more introspective than Extroverted types, and 2.) Introverted types enjoy solitary activities more than Extraverted types.

Extravert Steve Balmer

The MBTI® relies on a dichotomous scoring procedure, and the instrument depends on this perspective of personality. The MBTI® assumes a person falls into 1 of 2 “sides” on each of 4 dichotomies, which results in one of 16 “Types.”

It is therefore a “forced choice” assessment (a person only has the option of “A” or “B”). We use both preferences on every dimension at different times, but we’re predisposed toward one over the other.

Unfortunately, some people who use the instrument do not fully explain the concepts of preferences to ensure an understanding of the dichotomies. The proper verbiage is not “You’re an Introvert” but “You have a preference for Introversion” or “You’re an Introverted type.”

The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest in the field of psychology, and I believe it can also apply to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator:

Introverts and Extraverts’ brains are simply wired differently. One major difference is the way they each respond to the neurotransmitters dopamine (which provides motivation to seek external “rewards” such as money, happy faces, food, exploration of the environment, social status and affiliation), and acetylcholine (which powers the ability to think deeply, reflect, and focus intently on one thing for a long period of time).

Dopamine:  while both Introverts and Extraverts have the same amount of dopamine, it is more active in the brains of Extraverts. This means that Extraverts are triggered by the expectation of these “rewards.”

In short, Extraverts have a low sensitivity to dopamine and therefore require large amounts of it, and they need adrenaline to increase the dopamine in their brains. Therefore, the more active they are, the more dopamine they have.

Introverts’ brains, on the other hand, are not as activated by these external rewards from the environment, so it may appear that they are less enthusiastic about these rewards. They are just less energized by external stimulation.

Acetylcholine: this neurotransmitter also rewards us, but on a more subtle level. It is more active in the brains of Introverts. When it is engaged, the body conserves energy, muscles relax, pupils constrict, blood pressure is lowered, and we relax as we withdraw from the external world. In short, the body is getting ready for “hibernation and contemplation”: two of the things Introverts like the most.

Introvert Reading

Additionally, Introverts and Extraverts process stimuli differently. The “dopamine pathway” Extraverts use is shorter than the Acetylcholine pathway Introverts use. This could explain why many Extraverts are able to respond faster to an onslaught of stimuli.

This explains why Extraverts may appear to like face-to-face networking more than online networking: they prefer the effects of dopamine, which are aligned with the interactions, new experiences and expressions of people that in-person networking events reinforce.

Too much dopamine overloads the brains of Introverts and they may be prone to over-stimulation at such events, thus preferring online networking where they can be more relaxed in their own homes in familiar territory.

It’s important to note, however, that correlation does not imply causation. Though science says we’re pre-disposed to Extraversion or Introversion, our own individual experiences, families of origin, and culture all play a part too.


To use myself as an example: my mother was my primary caregiver, and she is a very clear Introvert. As a child, my behaviors and activities that were rewarded were Introverted ones; solitary activities such as reading, piano (solo – not with groups), and individual sports like horseback riding. I was taught to think before I speak, be mindful of other people; don’t interrupt, etc. We also lived on a farm, isolated from other people. I used to beg my mom to move us to a neighborhood so I could play with other kids. As a teenager, I craved group activities, and in college, I actively sought out group affiliates. As I became more aware of Type Theory, a light-bulb clicked: I am naturally an Extravert, but due to my upbringing, I became very comfortable in the world of Introverts – so much so, that even today, I’m often mistaken as an Introvert.

To be clear, there’s no right or wrong: we are who we are. All of us fall somewhere on the spectrum between Extraversion and Introversion – and all of us use both in our day-to-day lives. Neither is better or worse; we can all learn from each other.


Edythe Richards, founder of A Top Career (www.atopcareer.com) is a Career Counselor and Corporate Trainer in the Washington, DC Metro. She was one of the first 50 people worldwide to receive the Myers-Briggs Master Practitioner designation for her work with Type Theory in career development.

Photo: Flickr, Norbert Stuhrmann

Photo: Flickr, Brianthesnugglebunny

3 vital areas where extraverts can improve their job search

With the plethora of job-search advice for introverts (Is) and approximately zero for extraverts (Es), it must make the Es feel…unloved. I’d like to give some love to the Es, because that’s the kind of nice guy I am. In this post I’ll advise the Es on mistakes they can avoid.

woman-at-computer

There are three components of a job seeker’s marketing campaign, written documents, networking, and interviews, where Es can use some help.

1. Written communications. For most, the job search begins with submitting a résumé and posting a LinkedIn profile. The act of writing their marketing documents can sometimes be problematic for the Es, who prefer speaking over writing.

Is, on the other hand, prefer writing than conversing and, as a rule, excel in this area. The Is are more reflective and take their time to write their marketing materials. They prepare by researching the position and company—almost to a fault.

Es must resist the urge to hastily write a résumé and LinkedIn profile that fails to accomplish: addressing the job requirements in order of priority, highlighting relevant accomplishments, and promoting branding.

One excuse I hear from my extraverted customers for faltering in this area is that they’ll nail the interview. At this point I tell them they “ain’t” getting to the interview without a powerful résumé.

Where the Es can shine in this area of the job search is the distribution of their written material. They are natural networkers who understand the importance of getting the résumé into the hands of decision makers and, as such, should resist simply posting their résumé to every job board out there.

This is where the Is can take a lesson from their counterpart, the ability to network with ease.

2. Speaking of networking; Es are generally more comfortable than Is when it comes to attending formal networking events. But not all Es are master networkers.

The main faux pas of poor networkers is loquaciousness, which is a fancy word for talking too much. While Is are often accused of not talking enough, Es have to know when to shut the motor—a tall order for some Es.

Networking isn’t about who can say the most in a three-hour time period. Proper networking requires a give and take mentality. Take a lesson from the Is who listen to what others have to say, as well as ask probing questions. People appreciate being listened to.

Many of my extraverted customers tell me they talk too much, and some have admitted they annoy people. These folks feel the need to explain every little detail or their search or their past work. Others might just like the sound of their voice.

I would be remiss in not stating that I know plenty Es who are great listeners and are truly interested in what others have to say.

3. Es are known to be very confident at interviews, which is a good thing. But they can also be over confident which leads them to ignore the tenets of good interviewing. That’s a bad thing.

At interviews the Es must keep in mind that it’s not a time to control the conversation. The interviewer/s have a certain number of questions they need to ask the candidates, so it’s best to answer them succinctly while also supplying the proper amount of information.

Lou Adler writes in an article about answers that are too long:

The best answers are 1-2 minutes long….Interviewees who talk too much are considered self-absorbed, boring and imprecise. Worse, after two minutes the interviewer tunes you out and doesn’t hear a thing you’ve said.

One more area the Es must work on is conducting the proper research before an interview. They are confident oral communicators and may see no need to research the job, company, and competition; thus going in unprepared. Winging it is not going to win the job; the person with the right answers will.

The Is, on the hand, could take a lesson from the Es’ playbook in terms of confidence during the interview. They need to speak more freely and quicker; rather then reflecting and appearing to reflect too much. This is where the Is preparation comes in handy.

There has to be a middle ground, referred to by folks like Daniel Pink as ambiverts, when it comes to reaching the right amount of talking and listening at networking events and interviews. Accordingly, the Es who “score” slight in clarity on the continuum (11-13) are more likely to be better listeners, as well as comfortable with small talk. This is likely true for Is who also score in the slight range.

When it comes to written and oral communications in the job search, Es have to be cognizant of taking their time constructing their résumés and knowing when it’s time to listen as opposed to talking too much. Without understanding the importance of effective written and verbal communications, the job search for the Es can be a long haul.

Photo, Flickr, Source One Network Solutions

8 awesome traits of the introvert

I wrote this post more than a year ago but have since added another strong trait of the introvert. 

When I ask my Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) workshop attendees if they think I’m an introvert or extravert, they usually guess wrong. “But you’re so lively and loud,” they say.

What do they expect from me, Dawn of the Living Dead?

Many people don’t see the eight awesome traits introverts demonstrate. Here they are:

1. The ability to speak in public is the first of eight awesome traits the introverts demonstrate. Those of my attendees who guess wrong about my preference believe that to be an effective speaker, one must be an extravert.

They see my outward personality as an extraverted trait. I don’t blame them for guessing wrong, because society has been under the impression that showmanship belongs exclusively to the extraverts.

2. You want a sincere conversation? You’ll get it with introverts. Our thing is not more is better, as in the number of people with whom we speak. No, we prefer talking with fewer people and engaging in deeper conversation. You’ll know we’ll give you our undivided attention. It’s helpful if we’re interested in the topic.

3. We think before we speak. Dominating a meeting is not our style; we favor something akin to Parliamentary Procedure. That doesn’t mean we don’t have intelligent things to say; we just don’t like to compete with the extraverts who learn by talking.

The problem with our method of communicating is we might not get the opportunity to get our brilliant thoughts out in the open.

4. We rule when it comes to research. We learn best by researching topics on our own and, as such, prefer the computer over dialog. Extraverts learn best by throwing around ideas among their colleagues and friends. We find staff meetings unproductive unless there’s an agenda and some sense of order. Brainstorming is usually a waste of time to us.

5. We hear you the first time. We’re considered great listeners. But we don’t appreciate being talked at. We’re perceptive so you don’t need to stress your point with 10 minutes of nonstop talking. You don’t like caviar, you say. And you had a bad experience eating it when you were a child. Got it.

6. We love to write. Writing is our preferred mode of communication, but this doesn’t mean we’re incapable of talking. We just don’t have the capacity to talk from sunrise to sunset. Writing allows us to formulate our thoughts and express them eloquently. There’s no denying, however, that our workplace favors those who talk; so there are times when we put down the pen and let our voice be heard.

7. We’re just as creative as the next person. Our creative juices flow from solitude, not open spaces where people throw Nerf footballs, eat cookies, and attend wrap sessions until 10:00 pm. If you see us working intently in our offices or cubicles, we’re usually enjoying “moments,” so don’t break our concentration. Nothing personal; we’ll join you at the pool table when our work is completed.

8. We can stand being alone. We don’t need constant attention from others; rather we enjoy the time to think and reflect on life in general. Some might consider this as standoffish, but those are people who require a great deal of stimuli and don’t understand the beauty of Quiet (watch Susan Cain’s YouTube video). We develop long-lasting friendships with fewer people, as deeper is better than broader. Don’t pity us if you have 20 friends and we have only five. We’re good with that.


My MBTI workshop attendees are not far off the mark when they guess I’m an extravert; I do have the ability to put on the Robin Williams act, or revert to a serious Bill Belichick persona. I put 100% into teaching the finer points of the job search, and as a result my exit from the room is quick and toward the stairway to where I can retreat to my computer.

A night of solitude; bliss for an introvert

solitudeOne of my valued connections, Pat Weber, wrote a great article on how to be your true introverted self. It got me thinking about how I was true to myself last week. Friends were throwing a get together and when my wife said she told them we’d be there, I told her, “not me.”

The news of the get together came after a long week of work and a day of soccer and yard work. My wife and I argued a bit about how lame it would appear if only she and the kids went, but in the end she threw up her hands in frustration. It’s not that I dislike our friends; quite the opposite, I enjoy their company…in appropriate doses.

This is what Pat means in her article: introverts are in their stride when they don’t force themselves (or others) to be more extraverted. When they do what comes natural. She gives spending time with her pets, reading, and spending time with a few friends as activities more to introverts’ liking.

I decided that night that what I wanted to do was stay home to be alone. If one of the kids wanted to stay home that would be fine. But if my wife and they wanted to go to the get together, that was fine as well. None of them wanted to stay home with me, so I was on my own…and in total bliss.

You may wonder what I did that night. First I ordered a pizza, which I ate in our living room, without guilt. Then I searched On Demand for a movie I wanted to watch. The one I chose was about a man in search of his sister who was seriously injured in Brazil. He was a Kung Fu super hero who killed many people without being scratched. The movie sucked, but I watched the entire flick.

After the movie I ate my favorite evening snack, cereal. Then I did what makes being alone so enjoyable for me; I read one of my Joe Nesbo novels. A times I wondered what my family and friends were doing, but I was grateful for the solitude.

I imagined what I would be thinking at the get together when 10:00 p.m. rolled around. Probably I would want to leave after having a great time catching up, while my wife would want to stay until 12:00 or longer. I also imagined the resentment I would feel and wishing that we had taken different cars. Further I thought how ridiculous it would look if I left the gathering alone.

There he goes, they would think. What’s wrong? Does he dislike us? Maybe one or more of our introverted friends would think how nice it would be if he could also leave, their time being extraverted expended like mine.

Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, writes about how she’s not a huge fan of parties because her energy wanes, just like mine. I enjoyed reading this part of her book, related to it completely.

This is the lot us introverts are dealt when our energy level wanes and it’s time to bolt the scene. We’re perceived as aloof, when in fact we enjoy being with people as much as anyone. Just not for an extended amount of time. Unlike extraverts, who feed on being with people, introverts enjoy the occasional bouts of solitude that allows us to recharge our battery.

When my wife woke up in the morning, I sheepishly asked her what explanation she gave our friends for my absence. She said with a smirk, “I told them you’re an adult.” This gave me a great sense of pleasure, and I vowed I’d make the next get together. I’m already bracing myself for that night.

4 lessons extraverts could learn from introverts

loud colleague

A colleague recently said to me that she’s tired of reading “self-help” articles for introverts and wonders why none are written for extraverts. After all, she said, extraverts aren’t perfect. Good point I told her. But I also added there’s no market for articles or books on extraverts.

In fact, when you search for books on Amazon about extraverts or look on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, you’ll find nada. They’re just not worth writing about, it seems.

Society has been writing and talking about the shortcomings of introverts for so long that it’s as though, for lack of better words, “Introverts need help.” Some books even talk about how introverts can be more like their counterpart, how you can program your brain to be more extraverted. Continue reading