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Why introverts deserve to be heard as much as extroverts

Picture: THINKSTOCK

Picture: THINKSTOCK

eternalcreative

If you’re out of someone’s sight, you’re out of their mind – or so the famous saying goes.

Picture: THINKSTOCKPicture: THINKSTOCK

Sadly, that does not bode well for those introverts among us who tend to, through no fault of their own, not be heard as much as others.

Having taken the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test, I come out – if only just – as an introvert, although given many people in journalism are off-the-scale extroverts it may not seem that way to my colleagues.

Yet in my time covering various industries, I have seen huge misunderstandings in what extroverts and introverts bring to the table.

Like it or not, in today’s society introverted characteristics often seem to be perceived – wrongly, in my view – more negatively than extroverted ones.

Picture: THINKSTOCKPicture: THINKSTOCK

On occasions, someone’s talkativeness seems to define whether they are seen as the life and soul of the party.

But how many times have we come across someone at a social occasion who talks too much and who maybe overshares information?

Being extroverted in today’s society seems to equate to confidence, yet talking too much could be seen as a nervous trait.

Equally, one could argue it maybe takes a bit of guts to carefully stand back and listen, rather than rush to talk – even if you risk being labelled shy or reticent.

Of course both have their strengths and weaknesses. The strength of the introvert thinking things through carefully might also be seen as taking more time to decide.

Similarly there are huge advantages to the extrovert saying what they think – even if you disagree – for it is at least out in the open.

Yet should talking come at the price of action?

In journalism, you certainly need to be confident talking to people. But you also need introverted qualities – the power to think through a story and how to handle it.

It’s often said the introvert should be more like the extrovert, and vice versa. Of course a degree of adaptability is necessary in life, but I’m a great believer in playing to your strengths.

So does that mean I need to be more introverted or extroverted? Well, read into this what you will, but I think I’ll take a little time to think about it.


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