Five Negatives That Are Actually Positives for Introverts

    Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.




    Five Negatives That Are Actually Positives for Introverts

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    In her latest book, Jennifer Kahnweiler explains how introverts can influence organizations and people using strengths that they may not even have realized they have. One of the reasons introverts don't realize their strengths is because the pro-extrovert environment in which we operate which fails to see the shortcomings of certain extrovert behaviors.


    Here are five qualities that introverts lack, which at first may seen like shortcomings, but as these points show, are ultimately strengths that give introverts a distinct advantage over their extroverted counterparts:


    1. Introverts often lack the sort of confidence that others have to walk into a meeting or presentation knowing that they will be able to win over the others.

    Why is this good? The problem with having supreme confidence is that you're less aware of potential blind spots -- spots that others will raise and question. Because introverts don't have that ease of confidence, they prepare very carefully for all presentations and debates, which makes them far more likely to be able to anticipate and counter objections.


    2. Introverts prefer writing to communicate (which seems more passive) over speaking (which is a more active form of communication).

    Why is this good? Being able to speak is a wonderful gift, but it is also one that occurs very much in the present. When we're talking, we can express ideas and concepts but we are still doing it on the fly and so our debates and exchanges are limited to what we can think up at the present time. Introverts tend to favor writing, which may seem ineffective in comparison, but in fact it better than speaking. When we write, we are able to focus our ideas, form cogent arguments, and address all relevant points carefully. We're also able to edit ourselves to minimize misunderstanding (think of how often you've said the wrong thing as compared to how often you wrote the wrong thing).


    3. Introverts don't talk much, which can lead to awkward silences and lulls in conversation.

    Why is this good?
    Just because they're not talking, it doesn't mean they're ignoring you. In fact, what introverts do best is listen. Introverts prefer listening, which makes them better at understanding others and not seeing everything from their own point of view (which can be a terrific blind spot). You'll notice that all of those people who are often called "good listeners" are often introverts.


    4. Introverts are not skilled at small talk and seem ill at ease around it.

    Why is this good? Small talk serves a purpose, but often it can get in the way of a substantive conversation or topic. Because of their single-minded focus, introverts are less likely to be distracted and more likely to stay on topic and on purpose, which is how things get done and people get convinced.


    5. Introverts are wary of social media and are cautious about sharing a lot via social media outlets.

    Why is this good?
    This is an obvious one if you have ever had to deal with those people who want everyone to know what they had for breakfast or want the whole world to know they are experiencing indigestion. Social media has devolved into self-obsession for many people but thankfully not for introverts. Because introverts are not fans of over-sharing, they use social media sparingly and more thoughtfully. This also means that when they do use social media, people notice.
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