What are the differences between introvert and extrovert communication?

Communication Toolkit for Introverts: Inside Chapter 1 

Last week (first preview of chapter 1 #CTIntrovert ) we covered the beginning of chapter 1. As promised, the chapter preview continues here. Skip to the end of the post if you want to get the complete chapter now.

Let’s continue with:

What are the differences between introvert and extrovert communication?

Using the introvert and extrovert model of styles, while not the only model, is the most often referenced work of Carl Jung, whose work dates back to 1921. He is acknowledged as the first person, a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist, whose work typed people into the introvert and extrovert styles. Since this finding, the fascination with the introvert and extrovert spectrum of temperament is being referenced in many studies.

Through research, studies, and observation, we can identify some key differences in the communication styles.

Extrovert and introvert communication preferences are as follows:
The way psychologists and introvert authorities explain the difference between the two styles comes down to this.

As you read this table, you may have a question in mind about whether the introvert preferences either indicate someone is shy or that introvert equates to shy.

Extroverts get energy from everything around them, including activities like talking and interacting with others.

Someone more introverted is not necessarily less socially engaged because of shyness. It’s more a situation that an introvert does not need much outside stimulation to be engaged. But when a shy person is not socially engaged, it is more because of anxiousness over the socializing.


Bernardo Carducci, psychology professor and director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, uses a party scenario to illustrate the difference between an introvert and a shy person.


ctintroverts-notesMake a note

The introvert isn’t afraid to talk to people but might stand in the corner to take a break from the crowd. The shy person stands in the corner because he feels he has no choice. And the shy person can be an introvert or an extrovert.

In my own management training of different theories about people styles, there is one relevant point, which also applies to effective communication. Your greatest power in communicating lies in your awareness of the how and what of differences. Once we are aware of how an extrovert communicates differently to an introvert, then we can either make a conscious choice to modify our style to be more like theirs or accept those differences.

As you consider this communication preference can you understand how the preferences are energy-based and are at the heart of communication differences?

Is ambivert a real word?

Why would this matter?

As far as communication preferences, it means an ambivert naturally balances talking and listening, and has a more flexible communication style.

In the 1998 MBTI Manual the reference of a USA National Representative Sample identifies the introvert (I) and extrovert (E) population breakdowns: (E) 49.3% and (I) 50.7%.

According to Adam Grant, Ph. D., organizational psychologist of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, ambiverts are the new sales ideal. Ambiverts have it over extroverts and introverts.

If his assumption was correct, it would be in regards to one of the key business communication skills, which we will investigate in Chapter 9, Influence, Persuasion, and Selling, where it means ambiverts trump extroverts in this area. Maybe you have heard that extroverts excel in sales? Be prepared to be surprised.

And how is this beneficial for the introvert?

In an interview Grant stated, “My findings suggest that less-extroverted people may be missing out on productive careers,” he said, “and hiring managers may be missing out on star performers.”

Grant’s study confirms that innate introvert skills also found in the ambivert, like listening and being less apt to be overexcited, add more value to a successful sales process.

How can introverts and extroverts misunderstand each other?

What is the real difference between an introvert and an extrovert? It is simply how a person finds their energy. How we get energy is not a reason for communication problems.

Several years ago my husband and I were interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. In that editorial When Innies Love Outies: How Odd Couples Cope, the author, Elizabeth Bernstein, quotes another author and psychologist Laurie Helgoe, “What looks like communication can actually be a problem.” As the quieter introvert seems to be listening, an extrovert can take that as a cue to keep on talking.

This interpretation of listening invites a communication problem of interpreting listening in different ways. Listening for many introverts means “I’m thinking this over, and give me a few moments to reply,” but to the other often more extroverted person it may mean “Great. I must fill the silence with more talking.”

Often when networking with my husband he will introduce me to someone and then go on his way. Since I am quite comfortable with silence, I listen a lot, and more to understand than to respond. When I do respond I ask questions either for clarification or out of curiosity. Frequently some time after such an event my husband tells me that John, Judy, or whoever he introduced me to complimented me. When I ask about what it is almost always, they said you were a wonderful person to talk with.

This is the other side of the interpretation of effective listening.

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

Communication Myths


For introverts who communicate and extroverts who want to understand them.

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  1. The information here makes me think about how much better I was able to get students to interact with each other once I took the time to assess how introverted and extroverted they were. I would do this as part of an effort to teach them about cognition and the way different people learn and also tricks on how to learn better. It would follow that many managers and higher-ups in the business world would be well-served to do more to understand the personality types they are working with, but we’ve a long way to go in that arena. Thankfully strides are being made 🙂
    Jeri recently posted…#AuthorInterview: T. B. MarkinsonMy Profile

  2. This is great! I didn’t realize it until I saw it, but I am more of an extrovert than an introvert. I thought I was more an introvert than an extrovert. Funny, I think my husband and kids are more introverts.
    Sabrina Q. recently posted…July’s Organizing Challenge – Create To Do ListsMy Profile

  3. Keesha Metcalfe

    When I was growing up I always wanted to become a Psychologist because I was so fascinated by the different personality types and the different ways in which people think and act. I would consider myself as an introvert but I have been somewhat reluctant to admit this since some people are of the view that introverts don’t make good communicators or good sales people. However, I realize that this is a misconception and that it does not necessarily follow. I am only now embracing the fact that I am an introvert and there are skills that I have such as listening skills that make my communication very effective. It was nice reading your article. Thanks for sharing.
    Keesha Metcalfe recently posted…Any Online Freelancer Can Turn $5 into a Fortune on FiverrMy Profile

  4. Thank you Patricia for sharing portions of your book with us. I believe I am an introvert. I am so uncomfortable in social situations – I’d rather work behind the scenes any time. I appreciate the advice you are providing here – I know it will help me both personally and professionally:)
    Jeanine Vidal recently posted…LinkedIn for Small Business: The Company Page Part 3My Profile

  5. Hi Patricia,

    What a fantastic article and subject to study! I love studying personalities and understanding both myself and others.

    I tend to fall pretty heavy into the extrovert category and your descriptions really stereotype me very well!

    Over the years I’ve had to learn to stop talking, listen and become comfortable with silence. I’ve actually learned that it’s my friend and creates a much better communicative environment with those who are much less extroverted than I am.

    I’ve also learned to lean on those who are introverted as the balance me, my thoughts, ideas and logic and help me see things from another perceptive. As far as I’ve come it’s still not easy sometimes for me to fight my natural tendencies.

    Great post Patricia!

    Have a great week.

    ~ Don Purdum
    Don Purdum recently posted…How to Personalize Marketing and Attract New Customers for FreeMy Profile

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