Tag Archives: Introvert

2 great reasons why introverted job seekers should walk

Introverts find various ways to carve out the time to reflect. Mine is walking. Yours may be hiking, yoga, going to the gym, taking a ride, etc. Imagine doing what helps you to reflect.

Walking shoes

As often as I can I lace up my sneakers, set my phone to NPR or my music play list, and set out for my 45-minute walk…alone. Always alone. If you’re thinking that only a loner would walk alone, let me assure you that, as an introvert, this time is golden.

I usually walk the same route; although, I might get a little crazy and reverse the route. I joke that if someone wanted to assassinate me, they’d know where to find me based on my routine.

Why do I walk alone? I’ve asked people if they’d like to join me, but there are no other walkers in the neighborhood. I suppose I could reach out to people in other neighborhoods; I’ve seen people drive from other neighborhoods to take advantage of our hills.

I walk alone because being alone is my time. It’s my time to relax after a long day of work. It’s my time to get out of the house and be in nature. It’s my time to reflex. Besides, walking with other people would mean coordinating meeting up, and that’s just too hard.

Despite wearing a headset and listening to “On Point” or Taylor Swift (don’t judge), I am alone, and I do think of whatever comes to mind. At times I’ll formulate ideas for a new workshop. I’ll figure out a way to solve a pressing problem.

Introverts need time to reflect

I tell my job seekers that when I was out of work I extended my walking from 45 minutes a day to 90. That’s right; I doubled my distance. I walked around the city of Lowell strategizing on the job search and clearing my head.

I suggest they do the same and the reactions are mixed; some nod with approval, others give it a thought and then dismiss it. Maybe to some walking is boring. I admit if it weren’t for my NPR and music playlist I wouldn’t enjoy walking as much.

Extraverts, on the other hand, generally require a walking buddy who they can talk with, because they need to be around people. In fact the more the better. Occasionally I’ll see groups of walkers talking with each other a mile a minute.

If I notice someone in the group just listening and seldom contributing, I think that must be the introvert in the group. Introverts welcome conversation but don’t engage in exhaustive group discussion, where the goal is to win the battle of “Conversation Master.”

One of my valued connections, Edythe Richards, asserts that as an ISTP I’m extremely independent, which makes perfect sense given the fact that I love my alone time. I’m surrounded by people during the day, but after work I like to walk alone.

(I suggest you listen to Edythe’s awesome podcast on my type: ISTP. She’s recorded many more, with her goal to create podcasts on all sixteen types.)

Edythe also says ISTPs can appear aloof. I don’t consider myself aloof, but maybe that’s what makes people aloof—they don’t know they’re exhibiting such behaviors. To me, walking alone is natural and often enjoyable.

In place of human interaction, I have my NRP or music playlist. Oh, of course I have my variety of thoughts, some of which are productive (as in a new idea for a workshop) others are regarding kids’ issues, and others just thoughts. Regardless, they’re thoughts.

How introverted job seekers can benefit from walking

If you’re currently without a job, walking can be especially beneficial to your state of mind. Those who haven’t suffered the loss of a job may think that the loss of income is the most devastating part of being unemployed. This is not necessarily true.

With the loss of employment comes the blow to your emotions, which in turn can affect your motivation. A routine of walking early in the morning can replenish the motivation by giving you routine similar to what you had when working.

Getting up at the same time every morning and leaving the same time. It’s a routine and all good. You lose your routine, you lose your mojo. And you don’t want that.

Walking is also a great way to strategize about your job search, devise your day’s activities. There is a networking event coming up. Are you prepared for it? Are your personal business cards in order? Check. What are some of your talking points if you have to make small talk.

Maybe your résumé needs updating. Walking gives you the time to think about some of the accomplishments you achieved in your most recent position. They have to be included on your résumé. You have to enhance your LinkedIn profile, including adding a photo, beefing up the Summary and Experience sections.

I used to walk before an interview. It gave me time to go over my elevator pitch and answer the difficult questions I expected. So when the interview arrived, I was prepared to answer the questions. I must have confused people who saw me talking to myself. Oh well.

The time to reflect eliminates the things in your house that distract you from the job search. I’m always telling job seekers to get out of their house. Walking is a perfect way to do this.

I’m not saying walking is going to be your thing. I’m also not saying that introverts are the only ones who should walk. We’re more like to use it as a time to reflect and feel totally natural doing so. Give it a shot whether you’re out of work or just need some time to reflect.

Photo: Flickr, sabrina amico

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5 steps to networking with important people

Getting Help

I recently read a post Please Don’t Send Me Your Résumé, written by Lida Citroen, which resonated with me. It’s general message was, “Don’t rely on others to do everything for you. Take responsibility for your job search.” I agree completely with her message.

Far be it for me to tell job seekers to never ask for help, because asking for help is necessary in the job search. But it’s how you ask for help that makes the difference between getting it or not.

This post is not about sending your résumé to someone for perusal it’s about five steps to take when requesting contact information for the contacts on your company target list.

First step: making first contact

Making initial contact can happen at a job seekers’ networking group or anywhere you meet people—social and family gatherings, sporting events, in the grocery store, etc. Some of your best opportunities can happen out of the blue.

For argument’s sake, let’s say your first contact is at a networking event. Congratulations, you gathered your energy to attend the event, despite engaging in a heavy day of job hunting.

Your goal at networking events is to gather valuable information and advice, especially who and how you can contact people at the companies for which you’d like to work. You should have a healthy list of 15 or 20 companies on your target company list.

During the needs and leads sessions, don’t be shy about asking for leads at your target companies. You won’t get leads at all 20 companies on your list, but you should get two or three good ones.

If someone shouts out that they know influential people at some of your companies, be sure to catch that person before you leave. Ask for her business card and ask if you can follow up with them in a day or two. Always add that you are willing to be of assistance to that person.

Now that you’ve tastefully asked your new networking connection for assistance, your work has just begun.

Second step: follow up with email

When you took your new networking connections’s personal business card, you were sure to jot down professional, as well as personal, information on the back of the card. This is information you’ll include in your email the very next day (providing it’s a business day).

(Read why introverts prefer to write)

“How did Emily do in her soccer game over the weekend. Did she score another hat trick?” would be a great way to start your email. It’s always nice to be remembered for something other than your previous employment.

But you want to make your intentions clear. Remind your new contact that she said she knew people at your target companies, and you are writing for that information. Be concise and direct. No lengthy email is necessary.

“Susan, I enjoyed speaking with you at the networking event in Acton. I’m following up to obtain the contact information for people at companies, X, Y, and Z. Any help you can provide me would be greatly appreciated.”

At the end of your email, inform your contact that you’ll call her at a specific time within the next few days. Because you sent her a noncommittal email, the phone call will be easier to make. Your networking connection may get back to you before you make the call.

Third step: pick up the phone 

Your new contact will be expecting your call and hopefully be available to speak with you. (She may not be available, so make sure you have a well scripted message to leave her.) At the beginning of the call, ask her if this is a good time to speak. Don’t assume she will be available to talk, as she might have a legitimate commitment.

Assuming she has time to speak, start with some small talk. Tell her enjoyed that you sincerely enjoyed talking with her at the networking event, how you felt about the guest speaker, and ask her again about her daughter’s soccer game. Make the conversation light and personal at first.

When the time is right (there’s a lull in the conversation), tell her the reason for your call. At the networking event she said she knew a few contacts at your target companies. You’re wondering if she has had a chance to dig up the information you’re looking for.

Good luck, she is glad to help you, as she said she would at the networking event. Unfortunately she only could find the contact information for two out of the three people she said she would. That’s great, you tell her.

Don’t ask her to make a warm call for you; that would be asking for a lot, but do ask her if you can mention her name, with the full understanding that she can’t speak to your past performance. You and she simply met at a networking event. “Oh,” she says, “Bruce’s daughter plays soccer on Emily’s team. A decent player.”

Fourth step: contact the people at your target company

Now it’s time to request assistance from your target company contacts. You may feel more comfortable sending an e-approach note; although, jumping right in with a phone call is quicker. This is where introverts need to exercise their extraverted traits.

In the e-approach note, make sure to mention your connection. People are more accepting of a referral than receiving the email cold. Explain how you met your networking connection, who’s making the referral.

But the content of your email should be more about your interest in the contact’s company. You’ve researched the company before sending the email, so you know about the company’s products or services. You are boosting the contact’s ego.

Part of your email should be about your value to employers. How you’ve increased revenue, decreased cost and time, solved problems, etc. Don’t overdue it though; you’re not applying for a job.

And then ask if you can have 15-20 minutes of the contact’s time. Make it convenient for the recipient of your approach email. At the end of your e-approach letter, indicate when you will call for a very brief chat.

(Read 10 ways to make your job-search networking meetings go smoothly.)

Fifth step: call the company contact

Don’t put off making the call to your company contact. You may lose your nerve. Wait no longer than two days. Mondays and Tuesdays are not great days, as they’re generally the busiest ones. Fridays are a crap shoot, as your company contact may be out that day. Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally better.

Note: Many people think that taking someone out for coffee is a nice gesture, but that might not be convenient for your company’s contact. It may be more convenient to talk on the phone. Give this person options. Tell him/her that you’ll be calling in a few days.

What are you asking for? You can say, based on your research, there may be positions available at the company, or you’d like to meet to gather information and get some advice. You’re hoping that either of these are true and would like to know what the appropriate action to take is.

Not all your company contacts will be amenable to speaking with you, so don’t be discouraged. People are busy or simply don’t care to help people who are out of work. You will receive rejection, but like sales people you must think that every rejection gets you closer to a yes.

Be prepared for your informational meeting with your company contact. Prepare a list of 10 questions—five about the position, five about the company—which are intelligent ones. Don’t ask insulting questions about dress code or lunch breaks. Remember, your goals is also to impress your company contact.

Circle back

Follow up with your networking connection by letting her know how your meeting/s went with your company contact. Call her. You are now familiar with other. Most likely you will see her at the next networking event. Be sure to thank her regardless of how you communicate.

Ping her as your search progresses, and encourage her to do the same. It’s important to stay on top of mind. Make every opportunity to help your networking connection. Help others in you networking group, as well. It’s not only about reciprocation; it’s also about paying it forward.

Photo: Flickr, GotCredit

 

 

 

 

10 ways to beat the interview nerves

Nervous candidate

This post appeared on recruiter.com.

Have you been so nervous during an interview that you temporarily forget your name or what your previous title was? It happens. Have you been so nervous that the cup of water you’re holding is shaking beyond control? Sure, it happens. Or have you been so nervous that you can’t shut up? Oh yeah, it happens.

The fact is most people are nervous during an interview; some worse than the aforementioned examples. But how can you keep your nervousness under control?

First you must understand that it’s natural to be nervous before and during an interview; that nervousness can overcome anyone, even the most qualified people for the job. But even if you are qualified, expect some butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, and dry mouth.

As a nervous job candidate, the best you can do is accept your nerves and try to manage them. To do this, it’s important to do the following before and during the interview.

Before the interview

1. Be as prepared as you can. You’ve heard this many times; and if you’re smart you’ve done something about it. You’ve researched the job so you can recite the responsibilities. The same goes for the company. You must go beyond the cursory reading of the job description and company website. Talk with someone at the company, if possible. Also, if you’re on LinkedIn peruse the profiles of the people who will be interviewing you.

2. Practice. Professional athletes don’t go on the baseball field or soccer pitch without practicing in between games. My valued LinkedIn connection and executive coach, Greg Johnson, reminds us that mock interviews or even practicing answering questions in front of the mirror can help reduce the nerves, as it prepares you for the real thing.

3. Request a pep talk. I know, you’re stoic and don’t need others’ help. Everyone can use help for those who are willing to give it. One of my favorite things to do is pump people up before they interview the next day. Simply telling them that the interview is theirs because they’ve prepared for the meeting, they’ve practice, and they’ll be rested for the interview.

4. Get a good night’s sleep. As basic as this seems, being well rested is essential to doing well. Remember the days when you crammed for high school or college exams, trying to mash all that information into one night? Didn’t work too well, did it? Same goes for the interview—do your research over two, three, for days; as it’s easier to remember the information.

5. Take a walk. The day of the interview, I used to take walks. The reasons I did was 1) to relax my mind, clear the negative thoughts, and 2) practice answering the questions I predicted (related to number 2). I gave myself enough time to complete my walk and put on my best duds. It’s important that you feel good and look great before going off to the interview.

During the interview

6. Admit that you’re nervous. That’s correct. Make a brief statement about how you haven’t interviewed in a while and might have some jitters but are very interested in the position. This will explain a slow start until you warm up and get into high gear. This doesn’t give you the right to completely lose your nerves; eventually you’ll settle down.

7. Don’t let the questions that are very difficult get to you. There are bound to be some questions that stump you, but don’t lose your head if no answer comes to mind. Instead ask if you can think about the questions a bit longer by saying, “That’s a very good question and one I’d like to answer. Can I think about this a bit longer?” Don’t take too long, however.

Note: To make matters more difficult, interviewers are wary of answers that sound rehearsed. Take the weakness question: interviewers have heard too often the, “I work too hard” answer. It’s disingenuous and predictable. And never answer, “What is your greatest strength?” with you’re a perfectionist, an answer that carries negative connotations and is, again, predictable.

8. Use your research to your advantage. Whereas some candidates may seem naturally composed and confident, your knowledge of the job and company will be impressive and negate any nervousness you have. Your advanced research will show your interest in the position and the company, something any good interviewer will appreciate.

Note: Start an answer or two with, “Based on my research, I’ve learned that…. Simply hearing the word “research” will go over very well with the interviewers.

9. Remember you’re not the only one who’s nervous. Come on. Do you think you’re the only one in the room who’s nervous? Many interviewers will admit that they’re also nervous during the interview; there’s a lot at stake for them. They have to hire the right person, lest they cost the company someone who’s a bad fit or not capable of doing the job.

10. Lastly, have fun. Come on, Bob, you’re thinking. Seriously, don’t take yourself so seriously. Be yourself. You’ve done all you can to prepare for the interview, the research, the practice, a good night’s sleep, etc. What more can you do? Show the interviewers you are relaxed and calm…and right for the job. Have as much fun as you can.

Anyone who tells you interviews are not nerve-racking think you were born yesterday. I’ve had exactly two people in eight years tell me they enjoy interviews. Those are people who must either be ultra confident or out of their mind. Even job candidates who do well at an interview, experience some jitters and recall times when they could have done better, including keeping their hand from shaking while holding a cup of water.

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Photo by xianrendujia on Flickr

Extravert or Extrovert? Does it matter? My 3 reason for being contrary

jungA woman who comment on an article I wrote called 7 awesome traits of the introvert stated that she “loved” the article, but noted I misspelled “extrovert.”

I understand her confusion because there are two accepted spellings for this dichotomy on the introvert/extrovert spectrum of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The other is “extravert.” I prefer the latter.

I was aware of the two spellings before I began writing about introverts and extraverts. I was also aware that the “extrovert” spelling was the most common of the two. However, I made a conscious decision to run with the less common spelling.

Some would peg me as being a nonconformist or contrary. I began spelling the name of this dichotomy I think because “extra” means “outside” in Latin–as in outside oneself–and, most importantly, it was easier to remember.

However, the second reason is not a valid reason to spell a word a certain way, a way that is uncommon to most. So to justify my unconventional way of spelling this word, I decided to research the spelling of extravert/extrovert.

A fellow blogger, Bill McAneny, wrote on this a blog post on this topic, which appears first when you type in Google “extravert vs extrovert.” He defends his use “extravert” in his writing by quoting Carl Jung:

“Carl Gustav Jung first coined the terms and he was very clear:

Extraversion [sic] is characterized by interest in the external object, responsiveness, and a ready acceptance of external happenings, a desire to influence and be influenced by events, a need to join in…the capacity to endure bustle and noise of every kind, and actually find them enjoyable, constant attention to the surrounding world, the cultivation of friends and acquaintances… The psychic life of this type of person is enacted, as it were, outside himself, in the environment.

CJ Jung, Psychological Types, CW 6, pars. 1-7″

Further research on this subject–which now was becoming an obsession with me–led me to turn to Wikipedia, which uses “extraverstion” to describe the differences between the two dichotomies on the spectrum.

My search continued for a valid reason for the difference of spelling extravert.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary offers the “extrovert” spelling and “extravert” as an option. In other words, “extrovert” is the favorite child. I guess the dictionary has progressed to modern day times.

One blog claimed “extrovert” is bad Latin and recounts a story (hard to verify) where Jung was asked the question of which spelling is correct, to which Jung’s secretary replied on Jung’s behalf that “extrovert” is bad Latin.

The general feeling I get from this little issue is that the Latin spelling is being thrown out the window in favor of modern day jargon…rubbish.

At this point I’m thinking I’ve spent way too much time on this topic, and if you’ve read this far, you probably have better things to do. I have come up with three reasons why I will continue to write “extravert” rather than “extrovert”:

  1. I’ve spelled it this way in every post I’ve written and don’t feel like going through all of them and changing the spelling simply to satisfy people who don’t like it.
  2. It’s easy for me to remember…extra meaning “outside.”
  3. If it’s good enough for Carl Jung, it’s good enough for me.

These are my three reasons for being contrary. Next I’ll explain why I spell “jobseeker” and not “job seeker.” Or not.

5 ways the introvert succeeds in the job search

IntrovertExtravert

Do you know an introvert who is an active listener and can also make small talk with the best of them; is enthusiastic about writing and also enjoys speaking in public; and thinks before he acts, yet takes well-timed risks?

This person combines the best of his introvert and extravert traits. When it comes to the job search, this is exactly what the introvert does in order to succeed.  Adopting traits of both dichotomies may be difficult, awkward, and even exhausting; but he must maintain his focus on the endgame.

Here are five crucial areas of the job search and how the introvert combines both traits to succeed in the job search.

1. Being proactive. The introvert is reflective… focused…when it comes to the job search, but thinking too much about the proper ways to make that call to a desired employer can hinder her efforts. Making personal contact can delay the inevitable if she’s unwilling to get outside her comfort zone.

The extravert can teach the introvert a lesson on taking action. She will do her sleuthing (LinkedIn, Google, or a connection within a company) for a hiring manager’s contact info and  pick up the phone to inquire about openings or secure an informational meeting.

Note: A blend of strategic planning and taking the necessary action isthe solution for success. To act without thinking can blow the deal and may cause damage to the introvert’s reputation.

2. Networking. The introvert listens to a potential connection, asks insightful question, and actually retains the other networker’s answers. But have you ever encountered an awkward moment when you’re standing with someone and he’s not saying a word, just staring into his glass of wine? The silence is so loud that you can hear a pin drop.

This is when the extravert’s ability to engage in small talk must be emulated by the introvert to save the day. The extravert will fire up the conversation with talk of current events (not religion or politics), inquiries about her new friend’s family, occupation, or sports, etc.

Note: The introvert makes networking enjoyable because of her ability to listen and engage in small talk. As well, she can utilize her introvert nature by talking in depth.

3. Marketing material. Because the introvert prefers written communications, writing résumés and cover letters should come easy to him. Research is essential in understanding employers’ needs and then describing how he can satisfy those needs. This is right up the introvert’s alley. How the introvert distributes his written material determines the success in getting it to the person that counts.

The introvert can again benefit from the extravert who will use his outgoing nature to distribute a résumé and cover letter in person, at an informational meeting or persuading the right person to hand them to the hiring manager. He will not spend hours a day blasting his written communications into the dark void known as the job boards.

Note: The introvert must ensure that his résumés and cover letters demonstrate value; effective distribution is not enough. Introverts must take appropriate time to complete his marketing materials, not too long.

4. Following up. The introvert understands the importance of following up after a networking event or meeting someone for coffee, and will send an email or even a thank-you card. The correspondence is in the form of written communications, which is comfortable for the introvert, but not always the most effective way to follow up.

The extravert, on the other hand, will pick up the phone and call her new connection the next day at an appropriate time, taking one more step to securing the relationship. She will suggest another time to meet at a convenient time, perhaps for coffee. Email is too slow, in her mind; it doesn’t get immediate results.

Note: Relying on only on email will not seal the deal, so a combination of email and verbal communications is required for the introvert to succeed.

5. The interview. The introvert prepares well for the interview. He has done his research on the position and company, as well as the industry. The difficult questions will not surprise him because of his preparation. He is reflective and this will come through during the interview. However, he may come across as too reflective, not spontaneous enough.

The extravert, on the other hand is all about spontaneity. He is outgoing, gregarious, and feels comfortable making small talk. The introvert can benefit from his extraverted side by adopting these traits. He must also remember to smile and show enthusiasm.

Note: This is the most important stage of the job search; therefore, it’s important that the introvert calls on her extraverted traits. Most interviewers are drawn to outgoing, confident candidates, which come through easily for the extravert.

The introvert/extravert make a good team. For some introverts, all of this is easier said than done. However, she must call upon her extraverted attributes. On the introvert/extravert spectrum, lying closer to the center makes the transitions easier; lying closer to the extreme makes the transitions more difficult.

Photo: Flickr, Ewa Henry

Dear college students, 7 signs that you’re probably an introvert

college student studyingIt seems at times like you’re living your life looking from the outside in. When you’re asked to describe yourself, words like these come to mind: “quiet,” “contemplative,” “reflective,” “creative,” “thoughtful.”

You’ve never taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, so you’re not sure if you’re included in approximately 50% of of the U.S. population that are introverts. (Estimates range from 35%-51%.)

Are you an introvert? Chances are great if you relate to the following preferences:

1. You’d rather write a paper and communicate via email than communicate verbally. Your forte is writing papers because you have the time to research the topic and write down your thoughts. You have the ability to concentrate on the topic at hand, take time to formulate your sentences and paragraphs.

Group discussions can go either way for you; great because you’re hitting each point, or poorly because you prefer to think before speaking, unlike your counterpart, the extravert. If the class is being dominated by the extraverts, you may have a hard time speaking up. You have the correct answers but hesitate and miss your opportunities.

Note: Times like these will be a good lesson for when you enter the workforce where the extraverts can dominate the meetings, unless you find those small breaks in discussion to express your thoughts. No, don’t bother raising your hand.

2. You’d prefer to work alone or with one other classmate. While many people–mainly extraverts–think teamwork and brainstorming are the key to creativity, other wiser people know creativity can come from individual work. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, asserts that creativity has little to do with group collaboration:

“There’s a lot of nonsense floating around these days about how creativity is fundamentally social act. Ignore this. Yes, creativity is social in the sense that we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us….But for many people, the creative thinking process is a solo act,” she writes in a blog post.

Note: In the workplace a great deal of emphasis is placed on working as a team. You’ll have to contribute to your team’s efforts, ignore the useless prattle that may ensue. Take time alone to decompress from the many meetings and brainstorming.

3. Parties aren’t your thing. Alone you enter a crowded room blaring with loud music, scan the scene for a familiar face or two; and not recognizing a soul, simply leave unbeknownst to the host. Or you’ve been at a party for two hours and feel it’s time to leave, even though your classmates are just warming up. You’re tired and weary of making small talk that feels shallow to you.

Here’s a different scenario that is more palatable: some close friends ask you if you’d like to spend Friday night going to a movie or sporting event and then going back to the dorm room to engage in deep, meaningful conversation. Even though it’s 12:00 am, you’re thoroughly enjoying yourself.

Note: Your job out of college might include attending networking events, where you’ll have to engage in small talk. Always make sure you’re ready with talking points about current events, industry news, even sports.

4. You have fewer but deeper friendships. You marvel at your extraverted classmates who seem to know someone wherever they go. But when you look closer at their relationships, many of them are superficial and merely acquaintances. Your friends, on the other hand, know each others’ idiosyncrasies, secrets…in other words, know the whole self.

The drawback to having fewer but deeper friendships is that when the urge strikes you to go out for a party or a movie, your close friends may be too busy to hang out. This leaves you alone to go out for a quiet meal or a cup of coffee.

Note: You may be expected to interact with your future colleagues, lest you come across as aloof. Short conversations will be your preference with your acquaintances, so learn the art of breaking away smoothly.

5. You’re called a great listener. Your acquaintances marvel at your ability to listen to their problems and provide solutions. Justin’s girlfriend is showing signs of indifference, perhaps breaking off the relationship. You suggest not jumping to conclusions because the girlfriend is deep into her Engineering finals. You’ve become Justin’s, an extravert, new best friend, as he and his girlfriends are making amends.

Note: Similar to Justin’s story you don’t want to be cornered listening to your colleagues’ problems or simple chatter. Politely tell them you have work to do.

6. Tell her I’ll call back. It’s Mom calling, but you don’t have time to get into a long conversation about your sister’s wedding plans. You love Mom. But you hate the phone. At least if feels that way at the moment. Introverts have an aversion to the phone, because there are no boundaries when you talk with someone over the phone, not like e-mail.

Note: In the workplace customer relations often develop through telephone conversation, followed by face-to-face interactions. You’ll have to push yourself to pick up the phone at times to make or answer a call, even if it’s Mom.

7. There are times you’d rather…read. “Come on,” your dorm mate says excitedly. A bunch of your classmates are going out to do whatever. They’ve all agreed that they’ll let the wind take them where it may. It’s not like you’re not adventurous; you’ve shown the wild side of you in the past. It’s just that you’ve had a long day and would like to read a great book and maybe start another. This is your alone time and how you recharge your batteries.

Note: To fit in the organization, you may have to suck it up and go out to socialize with your colleagues, even the night before a workday. Do this sporadically to keep in good stead with your colleagues.


These are seven signs you might be an introvert. Your preference for introversion is not something to dread; rather it’s something to embrace, it’s you. I suggest you read Susan Cain’s book. It’s the best one I know of that explains the benefits of introversion in layman’s terms.

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The struggle between introverts and extraverts

ActorI’m an introvert with a strong preference for thinking, which, in short, means I’m a fan of action and not a great deal of talking.

This sometimes irritates people in my life who desire unceasing conversation and can’t understand my need for silence and reflecting.

My attention span for people who talk incessantly is as short as a gnat’s life; unless I’m enthralled in the conversation.

I recently read an article called The Extroverted Introvert (note I’ll spell it “extravert”) in which the author talks about the introvert’s need to adapt to our society’s preference for extraverts. In other words we become actors to satisfy people who prefer conversation over action.

“Many of us don’t like social mingling.  It’s a labor to us, a chore, and frequently a curse.  We look at it with dread and we feel drained already by the looming prospect.  But in order to do what we want and get places in life, we must form connections with others.  This is where the extroverted introvert contradiction comes into play,” the author writes.

For introverts enduring incessant talking or being “forced” into conversing, this can be a demand on their patience. Someone like me in this situation will try to find the exit (figuratively and literally) as quickly as possible. There’s no disputing that introverts are different than extraverts when it comes to communicating.

Solitude is golden to an introvert

Introverts value their solitude and will go out of their way to get it. I think of the times I leave work to get a coffee and traverse the sidewalk that leads to my favorite coffee house, blinders on and walking at a cheetah’s pace. Eddie, my favorite server, is always ready to engage in conversation; I’m not. My answers are short. I don’t stand around to talk. I’m alone in my privates space, even though I’m among other consumers. There are times when I feel like talking, but usually I’ve determined that before I enter the building.

Whereas extraverts prefer to communicate through talking, introverts would rather communicate through writing. Writing allows introverts the freedom to gather their thoughts before sharing them with the world. I often tell my MBTI workshop attendees that I think I’m a better writer than speaker because of the aforementioned reason.

The ideal conversation for introverts

Introverts totally dig discussions with people with whom they want to talk. Doesn’t everyone, you might think? Yes, even extraverts prefer to talk with people of interest, but they tend to be more inclined to talk to more people than introverts would. They like talking and enjoy being with people. When introverts are presented with a situation where talking for the sake of talking is in order, it’s annoying and they’re looking for that exit.

Introverts sometimes feel trapped

I suppose everyone feels trapped at times, but introverts feel this sensation more often, especially when they have work to do and are being intruded upon by someone who won’t stop talking. If there’s a diplomatic way to say, “Leave my space immediately,” introverts would use it quite often. I haven’t mastered the exit phrases that don’t offend intrusive people, which might be due to my fear of seeming rude.

One of my extraverted colleagues often stands in the entrance of my cube when I am working intently on assignments. He shows no intentions of leaving my space as he talks about topics that are interesting only to him. He doesn’t take the hints I clearly give, such as turning my attention to my computer screen, or responding with “um,” “right,” “sure”–he continued to talk.

Introverts sometimes come across as aloof

What’s mistaken for aloofness is introverts taking advantage of their alone time or, what’s known as recharging their batteries. Introverts’ method of recharging their battery might confuse, or even offend, extraverts who recharge their battery by being with people.  My colleague, Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, wrote an article, The Introvert’s Guide to Networking and Relationships, in which she aptly puts the importance of introvert’s relating to extraverts this way:

“Even though you may get impatient with conversations that don’t seem to have a purpose, you need to understand that for others, talking out loud is part of the process of thinking, validating and relating. You do this mostly internally. You need to develop patience and consider participating, because to the extrovert this is relating and developing relationships.” 

Introverts often feel like they’re on stage

Unfortunately, the extraverted world is not yet willing to value introverted differences; rather extraverts expect introverts to fall in line and communicate like them. Introverts just don’t know how to make the extraverts see communication the way they prefer it. People who are proficient at listening and intuition, introverts and extraverts alike, are those who feel no need to make others conform to their way of dialog.

It seems unfair that introverts are made to feel different, if not odd. But this goes to show us how powerful the spoken word is. When I was in college, my roommate asked me what I thought was more important for success, written or verbal communication. I quickly answered the former, and he argued the latter. I should have taken this as a warning that I was in for a lifetime of being on stage.