Don’t apologise for your introvert powers

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You know those conversations? The ones where you hear something you’ve heard before, so it just goes straight through your mental filters and into your head. Except later you realise it was wrong. Don’t apologise for being an introvert, it’s a good thing.

The conversation

The great thing about the office coffee machine is that you can hear conversations without trying. I was just getting my tea while I overheard:

You don’t say very much do you

I always add to a conversation when something needs saying, which hasn’t already been added”

“I think you should speak up more”

“I’m sorry that I’m quieter sometimes, but I promise I do speak when it needs saying”

“I think you should speak up more”

I resisted the urge to add to their conversation, maybe I shouldn’t have done. What would you have thought?

Don’t apologise for somebody else’s expectations. You talking a lot is somebody else’s expectation!

Your introvert strengths

Introverts have strengths, because of the way they think and communicate (extraverts have strengths too, just different ones). It’s a problem when somebody else’s expectations make us feel bad.

Don’t apologise for your introvert powers, use them!

  • By not feeling the permanent urge to add to a discussion, you can listen more, you can summarise, add value and facilitate the group to find the answer they seek – rather than them talking for talking’s sake.
  • By being able to see detail you can add value to a high-level discussion, when needed.
  • By listening you can see where others feel uncomfortable and help them to participate.

A noisy apology?

Let’s flip it round for a moment. Many introverts find it harder to perform well in open plan offices. Yet such environments are normal, something we’ve come to expect, despite them leaving people exhausted and not performing as well. When did you last get an apology for having to work in somebody else’s expectation of a good working environment (an open plan office)?

Don’t apologise for somebody else’s expectations; add your value, so they can understand it.

Please help.

I would really appreciate three minutes of your time to understand your views of extroversion, introversion and how (if?) they affect performance in business. 

What are your views? Take the 3 minute survey.

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