There is a myth that extrovert people are better in business and that they are better sales people.
Is it true though? Let us take a quick look at this.
For a very long time, I had the perception that being an introvert was a weakness, and that if you were to make it in business, be a good sales person, a good leader and a good speaker, you had to be an extrovert. Because of this, I would always tell myself (and others, in various personality tests, interviews, etc) that I was an extrovert. It is only in recent years, that I have come to learn that I am really not an extrovert. At best, I might be an Ambivert – which is what you are when you are in the middle of the two.
A common assumption is that introverts are shy people who don’t like the limelight, while extroverts are people that like to talk to anybody and everybody, and don’t mind being the center of attention. This is NOT quite how it is. A person can be shy or outgoing, sure. But it really doesn’t need to have anything to do with them being introvert or extrovert. Being an introvert or an extrovert has to do with how we recharge our brains, and where we get our energy from.
Let´s start with what an introvert really is. Chances are you haven’t heard the whole story. The most basic definition of an introvert is a person who gains energy from being alone and loses energy in stimulating environments, such as social events, and particularly large crowds. Of course there is much more to it than that. There is a really good blog about Introverts, by Michaela Chung, and you can read it here.
An extrovert, on the other hand, gains energy from other people. Extroverts recharge by being social and actually loose energy when they spend too much time alone.
And then there is ambivert, which is when you are in the very middle of extrovert/introvert. Actually (surprisingly) people don’t usually mention this third option. You usually have to choose between one or the other, which is quite weird, because a lot of us are so-called ambiverts. Usually people are not 100 % one or the other, but somewhere in-between. If they are described as either an extrovert or an introvert, its because they have large tendencies towards one of them. Some might say that ambiverts actually have a superpower, because they can call on different aspects of their personality when needed. They can match the people they are with, creating good connections.
I guess you can argue either way, about what is the best in business. While an extrovert can spend his/her time being at every work party and networking event and actually gain energy as well as getting some serious networking done, an introvert can stay in, spending less time partying and more time on mastering their craft. If you look at studies of top olympic athletes you will discover that more are introverts. But what about the original myth?: That extrovert people are better in business and are better sales people.
The truth is that extroverts are necessarily not the best sales people, nor the best speakers, nor the best leaders. In the end it all depends on your personality at large, how hard you work for what you want, and how you relate to other people.
It is funny, because I love talking in front of people. The more, the merrier. I am not afraid to offer my perspective in front of others or to ask questions. I have no problem meeting new people and talking to them. However, I get seriously drained of energy when I am around a lot of people for a long time. Also, I love to shop, but don’t even get me started about going into a busy shopping centre… I have luckily recognized that I am not crazy, or overly shy. There is nothing wrong with me, this is just how I function. I am a sensitive person. I don’t need much input before it gets to be too much. I no longer look at this as a negative, though. As long as I get my time alone to recharge, I will always bring my A-game.
Not everyone has to be an extrovert. Be real with yourself. Figure our what gives you energy and what drains your energy, and do the necessary steps to align with that.
To top it off; Since introverts and extroverts have different needs, here are a few tips on how to care for both of them:
10 tips on how to care for introverts:
- Respect their need for privacy
- Never embarrass them in public
- Let them observe first in new situations
- Give them time to think. Don’t demand instant answers
- Dont interrupt them
- Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives
- Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing
- Teach them new skills privately
- Don’t push them to make lots of friends
- Respect their introversion. Don’t try to make them into extroverts.
10 tips on how to care for extroverts:
- Respect their independence
- Compliment them in the company of others
- Accept and encourage their enthusiasm
- Allow them to explore and talk things out
- Thoughtfully surprise them
- Understand when they are busy
- Let them dive right in
- Offer them options
- Make physical and verbal gestures of affection
- Let them shine
Now, what about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?