Before You Speak: An Introvert’s Thinking Process

If you’re an introvert, writing might be a huge hobby of yours. Of all the writers (published and unpublished) that I follow on different social media platforms, it seems most of them consider themselves to be introverts. Personally, I find communication through writing much easier than spoken words. I believe this is something a lot of introverts can agree on. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it gives you time to think your words through at your own pace before sharing them.

In written words, we can use the writing process. Yes, that one. The one we learn in school and use for essays and then continue to use later on in life, subconsciously or not. The writing process can vary, but normally consists of 5 steps: Pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. It gives you the chance to properly prepare, think things through, change some of it, and then present it in the best possible way. I use this all the time and I’m sure you do too if you’re into writing.

Doesn’t this also sound like the perfect thing to use in your everyday life when interacting with people? The thing is: I think we do as introverts. It’s just a speedier, automatic process our brain goes through before we speak. And if we realize we don’t have time to go through the full process, we may not say what we initially wanted. We need it all checked off before we speak and often also be able to predict the continuation of the conversation. This would explain why we take longer to answer certain questions, and why we don’t always join in on a conversation. I’m sure you feel like you’ve played out more conversations in your own head than actually engaging in them in reality.

I choose to not say some things if I haven’t been able to run it through my mental computer first. Especially speaking in a second language every day; if possible, I do also like to get a grammar check in before I open my mouth and share my words. An introvert’s mind works hard through a labyrinth before they say something, and sometimes it can cause them to come off as very shy or hard to socialize with. So what would a thinking process look like before you speak? Perhaps something like this:

The first thought

What pops up? What is the idea or opinion you want to get across? How do you want to express it?

Say it in your mind

Test it out. Try to keep it to the point so they don’t misunderstand you, but express your opinion. No filtering, you’re only thinking this in your head. Don’t hold yourself back.

Think it through

Okay, now reign yourself in because you probably can’t say all of that. Change it up a little. How does it sound? Will you be able to get the words out in the correct tone of voice? How will it be conveyed? What could the reaction be? Be ready with comebacks, don’t forget your reasoning.


Should you really say this at all? They might come to the end of that conversation topic soon, and you’re not completely ready yet. Maybe just stay quiet. No! No, just say it. You have something to say about this. Just share it. Keep it organized, remember the tone of voice (and double check the grammar if needed). Make sure you speak up so that you get their attention, maybe clear your throat now to be sure. Remember the different possible outcomes and how to handle them.


Yes, this is where you open your mouth and speak your words out loud. You’ve stepped up to the podium (or at least that is how it can feel when you decide to say something), and now people are looking at you. Some of them are looking at you as if it’s the first time they see you. That’s fine. Go ahead. Speak.

Do you go through a similar process before you speak? Share below!






Edited by Viveca Shearin



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  1. This is definitely my thought process when I’m speaking to people! I usually only go through the full process when I’m thinking of joining in on a conversation, or striking one up with someone, but it’s the checklist I’m always going through in my head! You’ve done an excellent job putting it into words, and I’ve never thought of it like the writing process, though its a perfect analogy!
    One of my biggest problems is failing to join a conversation, though. I run through this process before, but it’s much more deliberate because I’m unsure about speaking up. And then, I’ve taken too long and the conversation has moved on! Do you have any tips for introverts who take too long with this thought process?


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