I have often been intrigued by people who think that loud people are the successful ones. Day in, day out I come across different sorts of people, and all of them believe in talking methods to influence others. They talk like experts in the field… as if they are gurus of life who know everything, can speak on any given subject and have gained life’s wisdom with their experiential knowledge. They believe in the power of their words and tend to think that their words influence their hearers. Most of them that I have met are extroverts of this kind. Extroverts are talkers, and I do agree 100 percent that they do have the power of verbal communication. If their hearers tend, to be introverts like me, they get to mistake my silence or my listening for lack of knowledge or as a person with poor insight. I have often noticed that they are not good listeners and don’t give the introvert an opportunity to talk.
So, in reality, are introverts poor in communication skills or are they not people who can influence others? Absolutely not! Introverts have great strengths of their own. Susan Cain, the international best seller of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking lists on the strengths of introverts.
Ten strengths of being an introvert are:
1. Quiet Temperament
Cain says that introverts have a quiet temperament which is their hidden superpower. I agree with Cain. Just because introverts are not great socializers, it doesn’t make them less powerful publicly. People with quiet temperaments have been great achievers and leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln (Cain, Mone and Moroz, 2016).
As introverts spend a great deal of time in solitude, ideas spring in their minds during such a time. Right from the CEO of Apple Tim Cook, to the creators of “Cat in the Hat” (Dr. Seuss) and “Harry Potter” (J.K. Rowling) – all forms of creativity have sprung from the minds of the introverts! (Cain, Mone, and Moroz, 2016).
Introverts are great thinkers, and most of their monologue occur in their minds. They take the time to think, think and think just the way others take the time to watch TV or listen to some music. Their quiet time, when they think a lot, it is also space for them to dream, plan, deal with their disappointments or frustrations; handle their fears or battle with their problems (Kahnweiler, 2013). Their constant thinking helps them to become better problem solvers and to rationalize and make decisions. They think through every single aspect that crosses their mind.
Introverts are good in preparation whether it comes to doing work, handling a task, or even communication, they “really” prepare. Preparation enables introverts to be ready for any kind of situation (Kahnweiler, 2013). At work, preparation helps them to do their jobs efficiently. When it comes to communication, preparation enables them to say the right things at the right time. Instead of talking a lot of things, they tend to say what is required by using the right words.
Listening is one of the best qualities and strengths of the introverts. Since they tend to talk less, they listen more. They give a lot of importance to others’ non-verbal communications or body language (facial expressions, gestures, postures) and to the tone of communication. Their listening capacity helps them to be sensitive to others. They believe in engaged listening giving the space and opportunity for others to talk.
Introverts are good in prioritizing work, their daily schedules and the people in their lives. Since they take time to prioritize, they tend not to mismanage any of their tasks. As realists, introverts do not believe in handling too many things at the same time. They are realistic about what they can handle and what they can’t (including people). Hence they tend to prioritize their work, schedules, communication with people and social interactions ensuring that it produces satisfactory results.
When it comes to focusing, introverts do the best. Kahnweiler (2013) rightly puts it “introverts seek depth over breadth.” This quality in them helps them to focus keenly by diving deep, whether it is work or relationships or knowing people. Because of their ability to focus deep, their ability to think critically, organize and make plans and implementation of the plan is done by getting into details.
8. Role Model
Introverts are quiet role models. Leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi who were introverts lead their nations by being quiet influencers. They have stood as role models for others to follow without putting themselves at the center. What has attracted people to these quiet influencers is their modesty, quietness, gentleness, and warmth towards people. Introverts stand out as quiet influencers because they don’t use any approach to win people or adopt strategies to make others do their bidding (Kahnweiler, 2013).
Though introverts are always labeled as closed type personality with little room for socialization or getting out of their comfort zone, they do stretch at times and can come into the spotlight (Cain, Mone, and Moroz, 2016). They are like the rubber bands who pop out when required only to go back to their real self. Their ability to stretch and not be rigid is one of their strengths.
Writing is the most natural and best strength of an introvert. Writing causes them to be free in their mind and being. It’s like a booster to them to write all they think freely and bring out their thoughts uninterrupted and honestly. Writing helps them to think through, refine their plans, generate breakthrough ideas and solutions which otherwise could have been difficult (Kahnweiler, 2013). As Kanhnweiler (2013) emphasizes that writing “pushes the brain to think longer, harder, deeper and more unconventionally than it normally would” which fits the introverts’ personality.
Cain, S., Mone, G. and Moroz, E. (2016). Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. New York: Penguin Books.
Kahnweiler, J.B. (2013). Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference. California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers