An extroverted society
What does author J.K. Rowling, Facebook founding president Mark Zuckerberg, businessman Warren Buffett, and actress Emma Watson have in common? Believe it or not, they’re all introverts! In fact, did you know that introverts represent 30 to 50% of the population? That’s a lot of people! According to many experts, society promotes extroverts people at several levels. That means introverts are struggling to find their place. They feel that something is wrong with them.
The psychiatrist Antoine Pelissolo says it without hesitation: « Our society, especially the world of work, is organized by and for extroverts. In school, teamwork is valued, you have to speak in public, working with others, impress. In workplaces, open spaces are preferred and meetings are the points of order of the organization of everyone’s work. Extroverts are delighted and they are showing all their relational skills. » But what can we do to understand introverts better and facilitate their integration.
Are you an introvert?
First, you must know that shy and introvert aren’t synonymous. Introverts are rather more discreet people who need solitude, preferring thinking before speaking and who find it easier to express themselves in writing.
Here also 5 characteristics of introverts that would make them, according to Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, better leaders:
- They think first and then speak
- They focus far and wide
- They inspire calm
- They prefer writing rather than talking
- They like loneliness
In short, introverts simply work differently than extroverts. There’s no one way of working that is better than the other. It’s just that the way introverts work isn’t favoured in today’s society.
Introverts at work & in meetings
In the workplace, extroverts are often favoured. Just think about the recruitment process. Visit some job search websites and it will hit you. People are asked to stand out in every possible way. Not always easy for introverts.
Also, think of meetings. Introverts sometimes struggle to take their place. Extroverts enjoy sharing ideas while introverts often take more time to think before speaking. They are less spontaneous, so the ideas of extroverts are more likely to be retained.
For author Susan Cain, it’s clear that «the most extroverted personalities quickly tend to impose their views and ideas and the group easily adopt them by ripple effect, even if there is no correlation between charisma and intelligence. »
That’s why she suggests banishing brainstorming sessions. In her opinion, nothing beats a well-prepared meeting. « Before inviting anyone to a meeting, invite them to think about new ideas. That way, they will arrive well prepared. »
Don’t be too scared, there’s still hope for introverts! You will still have a good life even if you are more discreet. However, you must make efforts to work with extroverts. After all, despite marked differences, you have complementary personalities and you can learn from the other. Susan Cain suggests that introverts could be a little more sociable and that extroverts could let more chances to introverts to speak.
The best advice, however, is to remain true to yourself. Don’t try to do what everyone expects you to. Do what you want. This is how you will stand out even more!
Change the world, one meeting at a time®