Wouldn’t it be really easy if everybody wore a sign telling you how to communicate with them? Maybe if we were all telepathic that would happen, unfortunately I think there would be other issues instead! Spotting an introvert isn’t always as easy as some people think, so here’s some ideas about spotting an introvert.
Introverts, hiding in plain sight
Of course you can sometimes see introverts and extroverts, but it’s not always that easy.
The western model of success is, in many ways, an extrovert driven one so it should be no surprise that some people will try to behave in extrovert ways. Sometimes introverts hide in plain sight because it’s easier, but that doesn’t help them be as productive as they might.
Floundering around underwater
One of my favourite fish to see is the flounder, sometimes I think of them as the introvert of the undersea world. It’s easy to swim across a sandy seabed and not notice them lying there. Is it only me who thinks they’re lovely, or do you think they’ve got no sole (sorry, that was bad). As a general statement the more we are aware of something and relax, the better we get at spotting it.
Spotting an introvert hiding in plain sight
The following points are not an exclusive list, nor is it right to say that somebody is an introvert simply because they’re doing one of these behaviours. However, the more somebody does, the more they are likely to be introverted.
- Introspective: Introverts tend to be more introspective, or reflective than extroverts. This can be good, but can also be limiting.
- More self aware: Many extroverts are also self aware, but generally I see greater self awareness among introverts.
- Think before acting:
- Listen more: Introverts tend to be very good listeners, that can make them great at facilitating meetings
- Enjoys one on one conversation: If somebody seems to prefer 121conversations over group conversations, it could be a sign.
- More sociable with people they know: Some people are always sociable, others not. If they’re more comfortable with people they know, it could be another sign.
- Slow conversation? Introverts are not slow and don’t take longer to manage. However introverts tend to think to talk (internal processing), where extroverts talk to think. This can make for some gaps in the conversation with, which introverts tend to be less worried about than extroverts.
- Silence in small talk: Introverts tend to dislike small talk. If you add the internal processing to this, it could mean silence in small talk.
- Hang around the edges of the room: Introverts are not shy, but if they are running low of “people energy” and dislike small talk they might tend to hang around the edges of networking events and the like.
- Inconsistent socialisers: Sometimes they’re happy to socialise at the drop of a hat, other times not? Maybe it’s about needing to be alone as they’re de-energised?
- Dislike spontaneous phone call: Many introverts don’t like being interrupted while concentrating and certainly don’t like unexpected calls, or people dropping in on their desk to ask a question. Of course, this could apply to anybody sometimes, but does your team member have a greater preference for working through stuff alone?
- Prefer email to phone: For some people emails allow greater self expression that phone calls. Phone calls, like zoom calls, can be harder because of the missing non verbal clues.
If you understand the communication and activity preferences for your team in more detail, you can help them (and yourself) be more productive by working slightly differently with them.