By The Watercooler
Every office has them: The chatty girl from accounting who is happy to engage in conversations all day long; and the fella in finance that fuels his day with coffee, eats lunch alone at his desk and puts on headphones to look busy and pretend he can’t hear you if you pop in to ask a question. Chances are she’s an extrovert and her energy is fueled by interactions with people around her. Conversely, he’s an introvert who’d rather be deep in his thoughts than tempted by energy-exhausting small talk, unless it’s a topic of interest. When those come up, you’d never imagine he was the silent type.
Let’s Get Social?
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive to an event? Do you survey the room and mentally create a list of people you must greet? Or do you look for the nearest exit in case you have to make a quick escape? Chances are you’ll find introverts looking in and quietly observing from the periphery, near an exit, carefully assessing the scene and picking up on subtleties like body language and facial expressions. Extroverts, on the other hand, may find comfort at the center of the room where all the action is taking place. From that vantage point, they can maximize their see-and-be-seen potential and charm event-goers with their openness and bubbly personalities.
At Your Nearest Grocer
With list in hand, the introvert power-walks through the supermarket with great intention. The mission is to grab all the items on the list — and only those on the list — as quickly as possible to return to their comfort zone at home where they can unwind peacefully. They don’t stop to ask any questions; They’ve researched it all beforehand to make sure the right buying decision will be made, and they can navigate the isles with their eyes closed. The extrovert slowly winds their way through the supermarket aisles scanning each shelf for something that catches their eye. A quick trip to the grocery store can easily take over an hour because they make small talk with the butcher, share baby photos with the lady at the bakery counter and try to exchange recipes with the woman in line at the check-out counter. If they’re lucky, they might even run into someone they know. Those surprise interactions make doing any chore that much more tolerable!
Mi Casa Es…
Introverts can spend days on end alone in their thoughts and entertained by solo activities like listening to music, watching movies or going on long walks. Being alone is when they are able to recoup their energy, which is quickly expended during routine interactions. At home, extroverts may tend to keep busy and do things around the house in order to feel productive because down time feels like wasted time for them. Inviting some friends over for a drink or bite helps, too.
Down To Business
Most introverts shine in the boardroom due to their strong intuition and ability to pick up signals that other people — pay attention, extroverts — can miss. They come prepared with a deep analysis of the issue and topics to be discussed and will sit back quietly while they listen to the discussion and stick to their original conclusion because they’ve often devised a plan in their mind and they now know all they need to make a decision. They let the Chatty Cathy’s and Charlie’s do the talking. Conversely, extroverts have more of a group-think approach and want to hear from different members of a party before arriving at a conclusion. Both personality types add value to the boardroom and in life. Knowing where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum can help you play to your strengths and help you shine, no matter the situation.