Communication myths about introverts

Catch up with the preview of Communication Toolkit for Introverts, Chapter 1 with the previous post of, What are the differences between introvert and extrovert communication?

As promised in releasing chapter one preview, it continues here in blog post form with the next part. Skip to the end of the post if you want to get the complete chapter now.

Let’s continue with:

Communication myths about introverts

Misunderstandings contribute to communication mismatch. A communication mismatch between an introvert and extrovert may mean a lack of understanding of the preferences to think before speaking which many introverts do, versus speaking being thinking out loud, which many extroverts do.

If left unchecked misunderstandings can become a myth. We want to free ourself of any myth that may have an incorrect hold on us. If as an introvert we are going to find our voice in any business situation, then believing a myth will keep us stuck. Be certain to know a myth from the truth. Here are some common myths:

Introverts don’t like to talk: Being quieter does not mean as introverts that we are shy or unknowledgeable. It is more usual that we are thinking before we speak. More often than not, we listen to understand and then speak to be understood.

Some people may be prompted to believe this myth upon first meeting someone more introverted because small talk is not something comfortable for many introverts. It is fast moving but not necessarily fulfilling. Most introverts seek the more meaningful conversation and often feel the bridge to get there; small talk, is not worthwhile.

Introverts have difficulty knowing what to say: This might mean being mistaken for a shy person.

To someone who does not understand the introvert preference, what seems like a quiet demeanor, is usually more of taking time to think something through for its usefulness in the conversation.

Introverts are anti-social: Can we agree that both introverts and extroverts can listen, converse, remember someone’s name, and give feedback, all of which show they are being attentive? We develop our personal social side by developing interpersonal skills and techniques in many situations in life.

If your co-worker is declining an invitation to happy hour fun after hours, it is more likely that they need to charge up their personal energy than it is they are anti-social.

Introverts can fix their problems by becoming more like an extrovert: Introvert, extrovert, and ambivert are natural, brain-wired temperaments. Each style has its own strengths. It’s more a situation of fixing the communication problems, not the people.

What works best for most people is not to become more like someone else or something else but instead to be the best version of themselves in any situation.

Let’s work together better

Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, argues “forcing everyone to act like extroverts harms the quality of our work and our lives.”

There are strategies we can use in communicating with extroverts, and there are strategies extroverts can consider using when communicating with us. When we put actions in place, there is a stronger foundation as we more effectively use essential business communication skills for success. Here are the foundational beginning points:

Step one is to be aware: We are all aware of differences between men and women, or being left-handed or right-handed. With this awareness we might behave or set up the environment differently. Be aware of the introvert and extrovert differences as were described in the extrovert and introvert communication preferences table just before this section.

Move awareness to clarity: Myths, misunderstandings, or wrong assumptions can lead to job dissatisfaction and take a toll on employee retention. Observable differences are easiest to recognize in the two prevalent personal types. Moving beyond that to understand the how and why of the differences leads to correct information.

Respect our differences: In a step forward to accept ourselves as who we are, we can begin by respecting our differences.

Comparing in this sense does little to resolve a divide. Even in our differences, we can put ourselves in a position to be able to more easily recognize our own excellence.

Understand there is no all or one: We all move along the continuum of introvert and extrovert behaviors and preferences all day long. Regardless of what our work is, we may find ourselves immersed in research, which we love, or giving a presentation to a board of directors, which some of us love. We each will find we are more energized more often on one side or another of the introvert and extrovert continuum. And some of us are more in the middle, and those people are ambiverts.



Coming up next for you, including an easy to follow chart and tips list:

Reasons why an introvert may not want to act like an extrovert


For introverts who want to navigate the workplace and for extroverts working with them.

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  1. The whole time I’m reading your post I’m nodding my head – those myths about Introverts are pervasive. I certainly agree with your approach and advice Patricia and to me the most important take away is to respect each others differences – something many people struggle to do on many levels. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Overcome Energy Sucking Petty AnnoyancesMy Profile

  2. This was very enlightening post, Patricia. Now if everyone who is not an introvert would just read it. Because you are right, so so many of those assumptions about introverts are out there. And people think introverts just need to “fix” themselves, come out of their shell, be more like everyone else, etc. the world would be boring if we were all the same, besides if everyone was an extrovert, nobody would get a word in edgewise. 🙂
    Susan cooper recently posted…Cream Pies In A Jar: #RecipeMy Profile

  3. I completely agree with this post, how can an introvert be antisocial? I’ve lived this before and that was not the feeling.
    Lily Lau recently posted…World’s Most Expensive And Coolest KnivesMy Profile

  4. Agree with what you write in this article, Paticia. Am mainly extrovert and sometimes think out load. On top of it my brain works much faster than my voice so it can sometimes be misunderstood.

    We extroverts have a lot to learn from introverts and knowing if a person is intro- or extrovert also tells us what we can expect from her/him
    Catarina recently posted…Would you read an article about yourself?My Profile

  5. One other common misconception that I often get from people when it comes to introverts is that they are very insecure, which I personally believe that is further from the truth. Just because we don’t like talking much and approach every single person in the room means that we introverts are already insecure. It’s just that we choose carefully the people that we mingle with, and I don’t think that they should take that against us. Thanks so much for writing this awesome post, Patricia! Hopefully, those that have misconceptions about us introverts will somehow be enlightened by your words.
    Adele Yuboco recently posted…5 Prospecting Tips for Busy PeopleMy Profile

  6. Jeannette Paladino

    We extroverts need to understand and appreciate the different communication styles of introverts. We need to listen better and not jump in to fill every pause in the conversation. I’ve learned a lot from your posts, Patricia, and hope I’m getting better at understanding the communication styles of introverts.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Career Advice for a Budding PR ProfessionalMy Profile

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