A few months ago I attended the most beautiful conference in 20 years of my life.
A conference full of the most passionate and energetic youth from all over the country, and some foreigners too. We danced, we shouted, we played and we worked. We were sleepless for 6 days straight, yet we were full of energy.
However, there is one thing that I heard there that really bothered me, and I wanted to talk about it ever since. “I was an introvert before I joined the organization, and now I am an extrovert. I love how I am able to communicate with people now.”
The responses came flooding in with appreciations. I sat myself down, thinking that it might put somebody’s energy and confidence down. But inside, I kept asking myself: “Why? What’s wrong with being an introvert?”.
Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Marissa Mayer are all remarkable leaders – and introverts. Being an introvert is not a bad thing.
Although we tend to think of leaders as loud, extroverted and confident, the opposite might be true.
What is introversion?
An introvert is someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments. These people like spending time alone and they get drained by enough socializing.
The opposite of an Introvert is an Extrovert.
An extrovert is a person concerned more with the socializing and physical environment than with inner thoughts and feelings. These people love making new friends and parties.
Yet, there is so much more to introversion than this.
So, let’s break some misconceptions about introversion 🙂
1. Being an introvert is not the same as being shy
People say that “shyness” is the trait that helps us recognize whether a person is an introvert.
No, there’s a difference.
Shyness means getting nervous and self-conscious in social situations. Even extroverts can have this trait. It’s not like extroverts just run around chatting with strangers all the time.
Introversion is when socializing wears you out. You might not be nervous or shy at all. In fact, many introverts like meaningful socializing, but it just tires them out. That’s why they avoid extra socializing.
You can be an introvert and shy, or you can be an extrovert and shy. One thing is not directly connected to the other 😉
If we compare socializing to running, then extroverts are marathon runners, and introverts are sprinters. Does it mean they don’t like running? No! It just makes them really tired after a while, and they need to conserve their energy.
2. Introverts don’t dislike people
They hate spending all their time around people, they don’t hate people. They just need a good amount of time to recharge themselves after some socialization.
Everyone is born with an innate temperament — a way that you gain energy and prefer to interact with the world. Introversion and extroversion are temperaments.
Introverts just need alone time to gain their energy and go back to interaction.
3. Introverts are not poor public speakers
Introverts generally spend more time preparing for their presentations and speeches, rather than just flying by the seat of their pants.
Many introverts are naturally gifted speakers. They have excellent communication because of their amazing listening abilities. But anyone can work on communication skills, either being an introvert or an extrovert.
4. Introverts don’t need to “get better” just for being an introvert
Yes, if an introvert is completely out of social energy, they start getting a little crabby or simply zoned out. It doesn’t mean that they’re trying to be rude.
In fact, they’re a lot more friendly if you give them some time to recharge themselves.
Being an introvert is part of who they are, and it can be a source of excellence. We are at our best when we embrace our nature and use it as a source of strength.
5. Introverts can’t become an extrovert
There are plenty of introverts out there who wish they could be more outgoing, but this isn’t the same thing as becoming an extrovert.
First, there are no drawbacks to being an introvert.
Introverts, like everyone, can improve their social skills like communication and become more capable in social situations. But it won’t change the fact that those interactions, after some time, will start to drain them.
Many people falsely believe that introverts can (or want to) “unlearn” their quiet and silent tendencies.
Introversion is an inborn personality type, it cannot be altered. Therefore, an introvert can’t become an extrovert.
In fact, when it comes to leadership, introverts are confident leaders who are particularly effective at managing a lot of extroverts because of their listening abilities 😉
Being an Introvert is a gift. Today the world is in need of people who go deeper, think before they act, and look at things in new ways.
The world wants people who value meaningful relationships over meaningless small talks. And the world is welcoming thoughtful and contemplative people, who bring calm and wisdom to a room.
If you think you are an introvert, here are two easy methods that can help you with better socializing 🙂
Stretch the limits of your comfort zone:
It is always said that great things come out from your comfort zone. So, gather guts and talk to people.
Start with introducing yourself to everyone. Most important is, to start with the low key. Talk about things you’ve already experienced. Don’t hesitate to say yes to the outing plans.
It doesn’t happen in one day, but working on it helps you a lot.
My personally experienced method is volunteering. When I volunteered, I met a lot of like-minded people. We all were there to work for the same cause and improve our own selves by stepping out of our comfort zones.
Which made it easy for all of us to communicate with each other.
Learn to get involved in a conversation
By being involved I don’t only mean is to listen. your skills should be balanced in both the ways.
Sometimes, mere listening creates an awkward silence. It can be interrupted only by your talking. Thus, it is very important to develop conversation skills.
Being able to talk gives you confidence in various social situations. With practicing, you can definitely overcome your fears. You may also check 4 ways to improve your communication skills 🙂
Let us know how you feel about it. We’d love to know your views and what skills would you like to develop in yourself 🙂
We at AIESEC have many projects around the world which helps you to overcome your fears and gain confidence, apart from contributing towards world issues.
Check them out at www.aiesec.in/students
Anisha Bhawanani is graduated in Marketing and Finance and loves writing. She is a happy go lucky girl with a head full of dreams, very passionate about traveling and exploring different cultures. One day she wants to win a man booker prize.